Swim Call (Elizabeth, Maeve,
Isabelle, Ashley, Adam, and Holly L to R)
Thank you to all that are following along with our trip, both those that I know and those that I do not. It is such a privilege to be on this ship with so many wonderful people and teachers. I have already learned a lot about the boat and about life at sea.
A few things about my time on the ship: Of the three watches that rotate I am on B watch. I live in a bottom bunk outside of the galley, and one of my favorite jobs is waking up the people on the watch after mine. No alarms are allowed on the ship so personal wakeups are the name of the game and something I could get used to. I am slowly improving my wake-up technique.
Maggie trying oysters.
I am going to do my best to fill you in on a few memorable events here on the Corwith Cramer over the past week. I will try to do so briefly, although, as all of those who know me are aware, writing concisely is not necessarily my strong suit.
I am writing this on Saturday April 16, and we have been underway for one week now. That time has passed both slowly and quickly in different ways. It feels as if I have been on board for quite a while, but at the same time each day seems to have gone by quickly once it has passed.
Firstly, the first night on the ship when we were still docked, the third mate brought fresh oysters and taught us how to properly husk them and how to properly slurp them.
Secondly, today was what is referred to as field day. This occurs every Saturday and it is a time where we deep clean the ship for two hours. One of the jobs that I was assigned was polishing the brass surrounding the compass at the helm. The Captain and my shipmate and friend Maeve worked on it as well. I think we got that brass quite shiny if I do say so myself. After we cleaned, the captain announced that we were to have swim call, which, as I you may have surmised, is when we are allowed to swim off the boat. The water we swam in was over six thousand meters deep and we are roughly 300 miles off shore in international waters. It was a blast.
When we are on watch, we are responsible for steering the ship. Over the past week, I have had several chances to man the helm (basically driving the boat). The first time I did it, it nearly ended in an accidental gybe which means that I nearly turned the boat so far off course that the wind would be coming from the other side. But luckily, crisis was averted and I am slowly improving.
Tomorrow the line chase is happening which is a relay race where the watches compete to show that they have learned the names of the lines (ropes on a sail boat). We have all been practicing pretty hard so I am ready for some staunch competition tomorrow.
Another thing we are responsible for when on deck is science. In the lab we are doing everything from scraping sargassum (a type of holopelagic seaweed) to molecular work including DNA extraction, PCRs, and running gels, to one hundred counts, to deployments of nets to catch what is in the water column below the boat. We did a one hundred count in lab the other day which is when you get a blob of the zooplankton that was collected in the net and pick out and identify one hundred intact creatures (with a microscope). I saw a lot of very cool critters that live in the ocean that look as if they could live in a science fiction novel.
As for sea sickness, some of us were feeling it. The first few days got me and I tossed my cookies overboard a few times. But I am keeping hydrated and there are plenty of saltines, ginger ale, and ginger candies to keep those of us feeling a little funny upbeat and happy.
I am doing my best to get enough sleep and am having a great time. On Friday, we celebrated Passover and tomorrow we will celebrate Easter as well as Audrey's (one of the stewards) birthdays with a party that is referred to as a swizzle aboard the ship. I will be signing off now because I have to be up at 1:00am for Dawn Watch and I want to squeeze in as much shut eye as I can. Bye for now.
P.S. Hi Mom, Dad, Ian and friends and family. Thanks for reading and I hope you are all well. It is nice to know that you are following along. Say hi to Tim for me.
Maggie, B-watch, Colby-Sawyer College
Contact: Douglas Karlson, Director of Communications, 508-444-1918 | email@example.com