The Final Countdown

Kayla Bradley, A watch & College of Charleston

Blog Photo 3 5.5.2022 small

Isabelle and I posted up with our dip net buckets of Sargassum.

Ship's Log

Noon Position
40° 13.3’N x 071° 00.4’W

Ship Heading

Ship Speed
6 knots

Taffrail Log
2178.9 nm

Weather / Wind / Sail Plan
Motor sailing under the storm trys’l, mainstays’l, and forestays’l with force 2 NWxW winds. Although it was a brisk 13.2°C it was sunny with cirrus cloud.

Description of location
65 nm SxW of Martha’s Vineyard:

Souls on Board

Land Ho! Parents, family, and friends no need to call the office; we spotted land today at 1923. Fog awaited us to welcome Cramer and the ship’s company to New England. Before I move on to the moments and thoughts I planned for this blog, I want to provide some tranquility and relief to all keeping up with us. We have altered course plans to avoid the low pressure system making an appearance near Cape Hatteras. It is true there are gale warnings for the area; however, we are in great hands with Captain Jason.

Warm New England welcome with fog during A watch’s evening watch.

The plans to go to Hudson Canyon are now a no go. Instead, after C watch holds her steady for the night heading towards Buzzards Tower, during morning watch tomorrow your most trusted JWOs (myself) will be taking the Cramer through the Cape Canal as Elizabeth will continue taking Cramer north to the Gulf of Maine to avoid the storm. Updates will continue through this blog as we hope to see Whales and other mega fauna on our adventures north and back south for docking in Woods Hole, MA on May 12.

I am glad to provide the update of travel; however, I am going to move along with my blog now. There have been a lot of milestones lately that causes time for reflection. It has been one month since we boarded the Cramer.

Today as I do the simplest task such as eat meals, climb in and out of my bunk, use the head, wake ups, or watch, I began thinking how much Cramer has become my home. All of her quirks I began to love such as her resistance to tack and preference to gybe, the swirling water in the mid head, scary corner in the galley, the angry centrifuge in lab, my rattling fan in my bunk, and her bird’s eye view from aloft.

We all boarded this boat exactly a month ago knowing each other for 3 weeks and just meeting the crew. It is now exactly one week until we dock in Woods Hole and yes I am excited to call/see my family and friends, but I will also remember the dawn watch hallucination with assistant scientist Kelly, watching the sunset as a company, card games when I finally get to see the other watches, spending the day singing with the steward, and the funny accents that travel around the boat. As I sit here with Marin, Maeve, Posy, and Elizabeth reflecting on these memories its hard believes we are in the final week.

Knowing just the chapters we could learn on land we jumped on the boat knowing little to nothing. Now as we are in the JWO phase, we are taking charge of our watch and the boat, as well as, taking on projects around our home to make sure she stays in good shape. I was able to hop along with Ashley (shipmate) and Thane (3rd Mate) in repairing the JT sail that was ripped during furling earlier in the trip. I have now successfully completed one JWO and two JLO watches. A couple weeks ago the thought of being JWO scared me but today it excites me. Putting all the knowledge I have learned in the past month to work to lead a watch. The other amazing part is that even if I may not know how to do something, my watch is able to put our heads together and as a team, figure it out.

On the head rig as I help repair a tear in the jib tops’l.

Feliz Cinco de Mayo!!!! I believe the charismatic mega fauna wanted to come out and celebrate. Last night during evening watch as I am on helm we began to see streaks of bioluminescence in the water along the boat. My mate, Thane, told me it was Dolphins. Today at 21 years old, I am just as fascinated with dolphins as I was at 8 years old. Quickly Thane relieved me from the helm so I could go to the bow. A pod of about 6-8 North Atlantic (I think) dolphins were dancing and gliding as they bow rode the Cramer.

I could of sat there all night watching them jump over each other and circle around the boat leaving streaking and outlines in bioluminescence but it was time to get back to my duties. An hour later I relieved the bow lookout, as I stand at the bow and looked down the pod was still there! I was amazed and grateful to have been able to see a sight most people never will. After a long 6 hours, Marin and I had a post evening watch decompression in the galley eating cereal at 0100. In the morning as I barely lay awake in my bunk I hear “WHALE!”, quickly I hopped out of my top bunk and raced to deck.

Come to find out the sight was 10 minutes before. No worries though, later in the day a lot more sights were called. Throughout the day we saw about 10 Mola Molas, two whales, and a basking shark.

I believe I need to sign off soon, not only to get a good night’s rest but to stop thinking about leaving my home in the middle of the ocean. Cramer you are loved by all 31 shipmates.

P.S. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MAMASITA!!!! I hope you have had the absolute best day you deserve. I would not be out here in the ocean for 5 weeks without your constant support and love. I love you bunches talk soon <3.

HIIIIII Caroline and the Micallef Family!! As we sail pass you all I will be waving. Caroline I think we might break the longest facetime record when I get service. I cannot wait to tell you all the juice. Grind out those finals; I know you will succeed as you wrap up junior year. Love you long time sis.

Fair winds and following seas.

- Kayla Bradley, A watch & College of Charleston

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