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
I haven’t written anything in this blog yet. It’s not for lack of content; our trip has been a fantastic opportunity with much to write home about, and some things I don’t think should ever leave the knowledge of the 21 students. I guess I wasn’t really inspired to write anything. Today, after we left Rarotonga last night and I was able to reconnect with the outside world, I think I found something to ponder and put to paper.
Despite its bad reputation among the student crew, dawn watch has provided me with some of my best memories on board. Most of these memories have come after I learned that a cup of coffee makes the 0100-0700 block significantly easier. During my second dawn watch en route to Ile Maria, my mind had some time to wander while I was scanning the horizon at the bow. The ship swaying beneath my feet, I realized, is not unlike horses or fire.
This morning on dawn watch, I left the lab to help set a sail and noticed a glowing light rise gently above the horizon, just off the starboard bow of the ship, in the northwest. I glanced at my watch, which read 04:15. The light was in the wrong direction and a bit early for sunrise, especially as we move into Southern Hemisphere autumn. It was land.
This morning I woke up after a full(er) night of sleep and could feel a slight ache in every muscle in my body. Every action we do on the ship has our bodies working, whether it’s walking across the deck or even sitting to read. After a week though our bodies feel stronger and our balance is better.
Stanford@SEA 2017 is on the move once again. At 2213 Friday evening, after 38 hours at anchor to the lee of Isle Maria, the ship’s company hoisted the Bobby C.‘s anchor and got underway for our next stop - Rarotonga!
The weather is cooperating. We are finally being pushed by the west-blowing trade winds predicted for this voyage, and our estimated time of arrival to Rarotonga is 0900 Monday morning.
Just as we started settling into the swing of things on board - seasickness dissipating, and our circadian clocks finally syncing with the 18-hour watch cycles - today disrupted normalcy once more. Today was the day we reached Ile Maria - our first island stop, and an uninhabited one at that.
I wasn’t quite overjoyed to hear that Watch Group A had been assigned the 0100-0700 shift on our first evening underway. The excitement of our previous night onboard and the beauty of Moorea’s jagged peaks was not lost on me, but I was exhausted. Hours in the hot sun and still air sapped my energy as we rehearsed the ship’s procedures, and none of us could wait to finally lift anchor and depart for Iles Maria that afternoon. But that night, instead of passing out in our bunks, the ten members of my watch group would be taking on the responsibilities of the ship: changing sails, manning the helm, conducting boat checks, staffing the science lab, and so on.
I write this blog post after just consuming a freshly baked, cranberry orange scone made for morning snack by our wonderful chef Charlie. Still warm from the oven, with a light lemon glaze, each mouthful melts in my mouth with the perfect combination of sweet, tart, and soft scone-y perfection. I can’t help but feel that life is good, and all is right in the world.
It’s amazing how important good food is for moral on board.
It’s been a little over a day aboard the ship that will be our home for the next five weeks, the Robert C. Seamans. Our main engine has a Darth Vader hula girl- yes its as weird and awesome as it sounds, kind of like our engineer Dylan’s beard- that dances when the engine is on. It has a Lego cowboy keychain you can see standing at the helm, and our cabins have names like Sleepy Hollow or Sixteenth Street.
All is well on the Robert C. Seamans. We set sail from Papeete 40 hours ago and made a fast transit to Oponohu Bay on Moorea to conduct our ship station drills and familiarization routines. Captain Pamela chose this location for its natural beauty and calm waters. We lay at anchor at Moorea for 20 hours while all aboard trained and made ready for sea. Fire drills, man overboard exercises and abandon ship training must be completed, as we are not a passenger vessel.