SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans
4° 30.4’S x 172° 13.2’W
Ship’s Heading & Speed
Anchored alongside Orona Island
All sails furled
Sunny and hot with little to no clouds
I don't think there is an adequate way to write a blog that encompasses all of the events and emotions that have happened over the past few weeks. The SSV Robert C. Seamans doesn't take her company through the middle of the Pacific Ocean without some testy moments and times of utter confusion. Coming from someone who has only sailed a small Sunfish boat and almost crashed it into a jet ski (hehe love you, Hannah), I never thought that in only two weeks I would be able to understand and sail a 134.5 foot brigantine vessel which is comprised of 86 lines; all the while living with 38 shipmates whom I've mostly just met. It is amazing, though, the people who choose to participate in this program. Their sense of wonderment and need to discover in order to learn more and understand any and every type of question is absolutely astonishing. I feel myself being a part of conversations that I would never have thought of back at home. It's a feeling that is so contagious that it makes me want to take every moment of this trip in before our final two weeks come to an end.
Today, we have just anchored off the island of Orona, a small island of Kiribati, which has a rich coastline and is comprised of a variety of coconut trees and thick brush. This island is significantly different from the two previous islands we have visited, Enderbury and Kanton. It has been an eventful journey from the island of Kanton to the uninhabited island of Orona. However, the focus of my current thoughts has been centered on the past twenty-four hours. Yesterday, at around 2pm (1400 for all those shippies out there), we scrubbed the boat from head to toe and from the galley to the heads of all the mung that accumulates from being on the ocean for a week. After profusely sweating in 30°C temperatures, we got the chance to go for a swim. This swim, however, was one that has been on my bucket list for a while. We were jumping into the ocean whose seafloor was about 5000 meters beneath our feet, and it was absolutely insane. Just think of all the activity going on under us!
Following our midday swim, we completed some homework, ate dinner, and fell into our nightly watch routine. My watch, A Watch, had the pleasure of supervising the ship during the early morning hours of 1am - 7am and I was assigned to lab. While in lab, my shipmates and I performed some chemical analyses and gathered samples from two of the zooplankton net tows that were taken at around 10pm the previous day. While processing the contents of the nets, one of the coolest things happened: the biomass that we biovolumed and placed in a sample container began to glow from all the phosphorescent reactions! As I geeked out about the biomass glowing, I had to go up and show it to the members of my watch who were manning the deck under low moonlight. The best way I can think of describing the moment is that I felt like I was holding a little universe of stars in my hand...the marine science version of catching fireflies in a jar. The experience was unreal; I've never seen anything quite like it.
Throughout dawn watch, we were also graced with the appearance of a waxing moon along with the planets of Mercury and Jupiter followed by Venus a little later in the morning. To say the least, the past twenty-four hours have been filled with numerous amounts of bucket list accomplishments and memorable moments. The coolest part of all is that we still have two more weeks of undiscovered bucket list items that are just waiting to be revealed.
Really quickly, I would love to give a shout out to my family, friends, and Cape crew back at home! I've had my fair share of ups and downs over the past few weeks, but there is absolutely nowhere else I'd rather be. I think of you guys constantly and miss you all so much. I can't wait to see you soon and share everything I've seen. I love you all so much! Dad, Mom, and Nathan, big hugs, and give the pups a pat for me!