ancestryink fisherman

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Aboard the Corwith Cramer

Here is a follow-up to my last post about the SSV Corwith Cramer, a SEA Education research and study vessel.

A long line formed along the dock next to the ship at 2pm last Sunday afternoon.  Fortunately, my excitement about going aboard for the tour brought me to the dock about 15 minutes early and I was among the first 5 folks to be file on deck.

Our tour guides, alumni of past trips and current crew, seemed to have a bit of a "spirit" session on deck before beginning what would be for them, two hours of lots of questions about living conditions while at sea, destinations, studies,  equipment, communications with outside world, etc.

They all were enthusiastic, (patient!), and obviously a tight-knit family.

Corwith Cramer at Bigelow Dock Woods Hole

 Below decks, the large ship is a catacomb of bunk spaces (up to 31 people on board, during these cross-ocean trips), privacy provided by a single red curtain. Heads, galley, library, lab rooms, laptops and computer stations.  There was a cabinet holding labeled samples in glass vials of different forms of sea life. Science class was never this cool back in high school.

Library with gimbal-ed tables and bunks spaces

I spoke with  David Banks in the wheelhouse, who informed me the ship is occupied 24/7, whether at the dock or at sea.  Like a living breathing thing, it seemed to me.


Towards bow from starboard deck

I was especially interested in a foresail that opened and closed like an accordion, or "shower curtain," as one crew member described.  Folding down to either side of the mast, vertically, one crew member informed me that this allows for easier, faster opening with no need for crew members to climb rigging, thus allowing for increased safety.

I asked another tour guide the longest period of time he was continuously at sea and he said "thirty days."  

  Before sailing, all students take a six-week course in ship safety, and all they need to know about the ship, before any voyage.

The long line of folks eager to see the Corwith was now snaking out to the road and I didn't want to linger, though I had a million questions about navigation, social aspects, maintenance tasks, and more.  I felt incredibly lucky to have received the tour.  I was informed as I departed that the Corwith Cramer was rarely at dock in Woods Hole, and this time - only for one week before setting sail for County Cork, Ireland.  Wish I was going to be aboard.

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