Current position of the SSV Robert C. Seamans. Click on the vessel to view position history. Use the tools, top right, to change the map style or view data layers.
SEA Currents: SSV Robert C. Seamans
While the sea may be our home for the moment, there’s always value in a little vacation time. As the hot sun began its slow trek across the sky above us, S-252 was released to explore the beautiful nearby island of Avatoru, a small islet of Rangiroa Atoll. Armed with our notebooks, water bottles, and enough sunscreen to protect the entire population of French Polynesia, we aimed to continue researching our Atlas Entry topics. Helped along by the friendly locals, we completed this task with gusto!
There is no better way to end the 0300-0700 Dawn Watch than by watching the sun rise on the horizon while inhaling the scent of freshly baked cinnamon rolls. This morning, as A Watch prepared to turnover the watch and enjoy the delicious breakfast that awaited us, we got to watch the sun light up Rangiroa, our first port stop. We caught our first glimpse of the atoll last night, and then waited until this morning, when the current was right and everyone was awake, to motor sail through the entrance of the lagoon. We passed between two sandy, palm-tree lined beaches, and were greeted with our first dolphin sighting, which only a few were lucky enough to witness.
Today was a blast! I got to cook in the galley today with our awesome steward Nina! It was a really cool experience because I actually got to plan out the meals; it wasn’t like Nina was dictating what I had to make. She really cared about what food I like to cook and my ideas. And as always, the food was amazing! Like Captain Doug says, “it’s either really good or great!”
Today our class assignment was a “Creature Feature,” which was a continuation of a shore component assignment.
I always heard that time flies by when you’re on the boat, but somehow I still feel like I’m experiencing every minute as it passes. It took some time to get used to the world rocking around me, but fortunately it already feels so much more normal than I ever could have imagined. I am getting used to leaning hard into the sink and bracing my feet out as I brush my teeth and walking around at night without lights on deck, to repeating commands back with minimal snickering at nautical terminology, and to being sweaty 98% of the time.
We are heading toward the equator! We are all getting used to life at sea, including things like gimbaled tables and seeing the sun in the north. This morning A Watch had the dawn watch; after coming on deck in a drizzle, with complete cloud cover, the sky gradually cleared so that before dawn we saw the Southern Cross as well as several other stars that are new to us. We enjoyed a beautiful sunrise while continuing with boat check, bow watch, and steering at the helm as well as continuing our orientation to the science lab.
The long anticipated day finally is here. Sailing day! But; there is still some education and training before we get underway.
The students were ashore for the morning conducting interviews and having conversations with local residents as part of their course work to learn about the customs and culture of Tahitians. One of them interviewed a local fisherman and came away with quite a bit of information regarding the politics and jurisdiction of the Tahitian fishing industry. Tuna fishing is very important to the local economy. They also had a last shopping opportunity at the local market area. Most of them purchased a pair of loose fitting and colorful pants at a local store. They look very comfortable and perfect for this climate.
Ia Ora na friends, family, and internet!
We had an early start to our first morning on the ship with a 0500 wake up for all interested in going to the Sunday morning Farmer’s Market in Pape’ete. It was still moderately cool that early in the morning, and we enjoyed a beautiful walk through the colorful market, weaving our way through the many people buying ingredients for their Sunday feasts. Outside, aisles of stands were selling fresh produce, from cucumbers and lettuce to taro, mango and passion-fruit, and a selection of unidentified spiky fruits. Inside, there were rows of fresh fish of all colors, barbequed meat stands, and piles and piles of croissants!
Our Oceans & Climate students boarded the Robert C. Seamans this afternoon after a few days’ vacation on the island of Moorea. All are happy, in excellent form, and delighted to have joined the vessel. They are now true members of the crew and have begun learning the ways of their ship. Today a series of orientation sessions focused on cleaning the galley after meals, an introduction to the engine room, conducting a Boat Check to ensure all is well and safe onboard, and getting to know their Watch Officers and the watch routine.
S-252 is officially underway! More to follow tomorrow.
The students of S-252, Oceans & Climate, will join the SSV Robert C. Seamans by Saturday March 22, in Tahiti. They will sail across the equator and end their voyage in Hilo, Hawaii around Friday, May 2nd.
I once rode a mechanical bull at a county fair. It took all of about three seconds for me to be thrown to the mat. Today has been a similar experience, only imagine that you are strapped to that bull and cannot get off. And you have to cook and clean while you ride. The goal of today was to clean and have a fun farewell before departing for our shore component tomorrow. That all got turned on its head when we started having 15 foot swells and waves crashing over the sides of the ship.