“We got to the ship and right away the learning begins. Pictured here, our professor giving us a rundown of what school will be like on the Corwith Cramer. This lecture marks the beginning of a full night of orientation. It’s hard to wrap my head around the idea that soon we will not only learn how to sail the Cramer, but also continue our academic studies during port stop visits.”
“Today we snorkeled at Cane Bay, St. Croix. This was my first time snorkeling, and I loved it! While out there, I bravely faced down a small barracuda. Academically, it was my job to count hard coral. Sadly, I saw many diseased brain coral and almost no elkhorn or staghorn coral. However, a volunteer team of local divers, organized by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) on St. Croix has been trying to restore staghorn coral on artificial structures, with some success. I wish we had a bit more time to speak with the TNC divers how sailors can help protect coral, but for now I will keep those memories and think of them whenever this topic comes up.”
Raising the Sails
“After a thorough safety orientation to the ship (our new home!) and an amazing tour of historic Christiansted Fort and snorkeling in Cane Bay, we finally make ready to get the ship underway! It has been a while since I’ve sailed a tall ship, and for many of my shipmates this is a new event, but the mates are professional and patient teachers and in no time we are hauling on lines like pros… well, almost!”
Science at Sea
“After a few days at sea, my watch rotation finally put me in the lab! Here, my shipmate Leah and I follow our Science Watch officer Janet’s instruction on how to process water samples to test for bacteria. While also on this watch, we processed a Neuston net tow. Along with buckets of Sargassum of all different species, we found three fish, a crab, and shards of plastic fragments. This made me stop and think: today, I live in a world where it is not uncommon to find damaging human trash alongside living creatures. Seeing the fish lying next to the plastic wholeheartedly saddened me. I don’t want to live in a world where plastic is as common as marine life. I want to live in a world where people are aware of the effects they cause and seek to make them beneficial, rather than destructive!”
In collaboration with Sea Education Association (SEA), Sailors for the Sea is offering an award for a SEA Semester student to become an Onboard Reporter. SEA is an internationally recognized leader in undergraduate ocean education through their study abroad program. As a recipient of the new Sailors for the Sea Onboard Reporter award, Aiden Ford is chronicling ocean health issues observed during her voyage aboard the SSV Corwith Cramer, one of SEA’s tall sailing ship research vessels. Aiden is a College of the Atlantic student currently studying off campus with SEA Semester’s Colonization to Conservation in the Caribbean program in spring term 2016. This program gives undergraduates of all majors the opportunity to investigate and compare sustainability issues across several multifaceted Caribbean islands, including Cuba.