Sailor/educator Marvin Creamer inducted into prestigious Explorers Club

Sailor/educator Marvin Creamer inducted into prestigious Explorers Club


Between December 1982 and May 1984, Marvin Creamer did what seemed impossible – he sailed around the Earth without navigational instruments, not even a compass or a watch.

Creamer, a Rowan alumnus and founding chair of the Department of Geography (now Geography, Planning & Sustainability), proved his hypothesis that pre-technical people could navigate the oceans using only stars, water currents, winds and other natural elements. The circumnavigation earned him the famed Blue Water Medal, the highest honor in international sailing. 

On June 9, Creamer was inducted as a fellow into the Explorers Club, the international society of adventurers and researchers, during a special meeting of the organization on Rowan’s Glassboro campus. (Watch the video below commemorating his historic trip.)

The meeting, arranged by Dr. Kenneth Lacovara, Explorers Club fellow and founding dean of Rowan’s School of Earth & Environment, honored Creamer’s journey for not only the nature of his quest but for the contribution to science he made aboard the Globe Star, the 36-foot vessel that he piloted for 510 days and some 30,000 nautical miles.

Now 102 and living in North Carolina, Creamer could not attend the induction ceremony but spoke glowingly of the honor in advance with Rowan geography Professor John Hasse and Explorers Club President Richard Wiese.

“I would like to express my sincere thanks to the Explorers Club,” he said. “It is a distinct honor to be welcomed into the Club.”

Creamer noted that he was the oldest explorer ever to be admitted to an organization that claims, as its members, the first recorded individuals to reach the North and South poles, to summit Mount Everest and to walk on the moon.

Born in 1916, he said, “I’ve had a love affair with the water ever since I was a small child in Bridgeton, N.J.”

Lacovara, who in 2005 discovered the giant titanosaur Dreadnoughtus schrani in Patagonia, considered the most massive dinosaur ever to walk to the Earth, was inducted into the Explorers Club in 2003.

The world-renowned paleontologist worked with club leadership to host the meeting at Rowan to honor Creamer.

“Professor Creamer exemplifies the spirit of exploration,” Lacovara said. “His circumnavigation of the planet without instruments redefined the limits of what was thought possible. I stand in awe of his achievements and I’m proud to call him an emeritus professor of the School of Earth & Environment at Rowan.”

Members of the Club presented Lacovara with a plaque commemorating the induction of Creamer (pictured in 2015) and later visited Endeavor, the campus monument to celebrate his trek.

Today, Creamer’s accomplishments continue to be celebrated. In a recap of his journey, National Geographic wrote: “Creamer mostly relied on celestial navigation—knowledge of the relative position of the sun, moon, and stars. However, clouds often obscured these natural waypoints. In these cases, Creamer used currents, wind patterns, the color of the ocean, and even marine animals to help identify his location.”