SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans
I’M ALIVE, MOM!
3°07.68‘S x 171°11.39’W
Ship’s Heading & Speed
050°, 5.2 knots
Back to Enderbury after science deployments - Mains’l, Main Stays’l, Fore Stays’l, and Jib are the current sails that are set
hot, humid, windy (ESE), rain clouds around us (waves ranging between 5-7ft)
It has officially been a week since we set sail from American Samoa! C watch was the first standing watch to sail the SSV Robert C. Seamans. The first night was rough as most of my watch got sea sick (I still haven’t gotten sea sick), so there was a lot to do for a small amount of people. Fast forward to a few days ago, my watch was back on their feet and feeling great! All of us have experienced the wonders of the lab and how to use all the equipment, which process the samples we take out of the water. The other part of watch is deck watch. We generally have around four people who rotate to do boat checks (check the deck, below deck, dry stores, and the engine room to make sure all is well), lookout, weather and navigation, and steering at the helm (all at the top of the hour). My personal favorites are the helm, engine room, and lab.
The past 24 hours have been my favorite so far. At 1430, we started afternoon class where we practiced our gift to the I-Kiribati (people of Kiribati, pronounced Kiribas), which is the gift of a song (“Lean on Me” by Bill Withers). Then, we had our first lab practical exam, which consisted of each student walking to each station to either perform a task or answer a question (one question involved M&Ms - best exam ever!). Once that was over, I finally got to do some laundry and take a shower. After this, I got to hang out with students whom I hadn’t really sat down with since the shore component because of our busy rotations. We watched the stars and saw the Milky Way, summer triangle, Southern Cross, Scorpio, Sagittarius, satellites, and many shooting stars.
C watch had dawn watch (0100-0700), and Adrielle and I were in the lab with Abby. I usually barely make it through this rotation as we don’t get much sleep before it, but last night was incredible! Between the three of us (and some help from the deck hands), we recovered the Neuston net, processed the Tucker Trawl deep and shallow, processed the Neuston net, emptied and rinsed the hydrocast, prepared all sampling bottles for the morning watch, sampled pH and chlorophyll-a, and did two 100 counts of plankton (all done with 30 minutes to spare). We saw very interesting organisms under the microscope and in the processing like some hyperiids, euphausids, comb jellies, lantern fish, copepods, ostracods, pteropods, and crab larvae.
I was still very energized after this, so I stayed up for the rest of the morning and saw something unbelievable - LAND! WE SAW LANDDDDD!!! At about 0800, the seabirds were increasing from three shearwaters to 100 boobies, shearwaters, and terns - super exciting. Then, Captain Chris informed us that we could see Enderbury from the boat. You might think I’m crazy for being excited about seeing all of 7 palm trees, but I remind you that we haven’t seen any type of land since the 10th of July. Therefore, these past 24 hours have been GREAT.
My projects are going pretty well, too. For my Conservation and Management class, I have been researching public health parameters and policy in Kiribati, with a focus on diabetes and tuberculosis. For the Advanced Policy class, I am writing a policy brief on biosecurity in PIPA and Kiribati. I’m excited to see how the people living on Canton Island will respond to my interview questions.
On an end note, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOM!! I hope you are celebrating well with dad and Ginger. Sending you guys best wishes with lots of love and many hugs and kisses. I miss you guys so much; can’t wait to finally see you in a month in Lisbon! I’d also like to give a big shout out to all my friends, family, and teachers (hope you’re reading this Mr. Rocha) for supporting me through this adventure.