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
18° 35.9’S x 174° 12.3’W
In Sight of Tonga
Ship’s Heading & Speed
235°, 1 knot
Force 5 ExSE winds, 1 ft ExSE waves, 4/8 coverage of cumulus clouds, 28°C
This morning I woke up around 0600, hearing mention of this thing called “land” from the quarter deck. I went up on deck to check it out, and, sure enough, there was the faint outline of Tonga in the distance! (Sierra claims the title of being the first person ever to see Tonga.)
By the time I began watch at 1300, Tonga was clearly in view, and it grew bigger and bigger as I stood at the bow on lookout. It looked like the island was made entirely of rock cliffs with caves and palm trees. From what we could see, it looked like there wasn’t a single person on the island. We didn’t see many animals around either. We saw a few birds, a small yellow figure that may or may not have been a fish, and a SHARK!, which Sarah spotted swimming alongside the boat.
We spent most of the day sailing along the coast of Tonga and practicing our gybing, which allowed us to collect water samples for science. We’re all excited to reach land tomorrow morning and explore Tonga, but nervously anticipating the land sickness that will likely hit many of us when we get off the boat. I have finally gotten used to the rocking of the ship and the fact that the gimbled tables in the saloon move with it, and now we’re going to have to adjust again.
This afternoon instead of class we had our “line chase.” The ship has about 90 different lines, and we were expected to learn all of them by today. For the past few days we have spent most of our free time, after sleeping of course, studying our lines. We’ve been walking laps after laps around the ship with our pin rail diagrams in hand, trying to memorize the many lines and coming up with mnemonic devices to help us remember them. After much studying, today we were separated into watch groups and lined up on the quarter deck. One at a time, each member of the watch group was given a card with the name of a line and had to go find it. The rest of the group could help them by shouting “hot” or “cold” or a temperature in between, and if they said anything else they had to crab-walk around the deck. C watch was the first to finish and celebrated with a conga line around the ship.
Yo ho yo ho!