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Sea Education Association | SEA Currents

SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans


Oct

20

Numbers

Mike Rigney, Assistant Engineer
SPICE

Evening aboard the SSV Robert C. Seamans

Current Position
Alongside in Suva, Fiji

Ship’s Heading & Speed
Moored

Weather
2/8 Cumulus, Winds SExE Force 3

Souls on Board

SEA Stories Podcast

As the assistant engineer aboard the good ship Robert C. Seamans, you may not be surprised that I often frame the world around me in numbers. I tend to like things that are quantifiable and measurable. The ship around me is full of these numbers, and it's our job in the engine department to track them, record them, make sense of them. We use these numbers to know when it's time to perform critical maintenance - the starboard generator has run 168.9 hours since its last oil change, and will be due for another in 31.1.

The numbers let us know the rate we consume our most precious commodities - so far we've used 6832 gallons of fresh water, averaging 311 gallons per day, for the use of drinking, cooking, bathing, and cleaning. We balance that with another number, 80 - the number of gallons per hour that each of our two reverse-osmosis water makers can replenish that supply by converting sea water into fresh. But not all numbers have engineering implications. There are other numbers that frame the life aboard our ship -- we've sailed 1135.4 miles since departing Pago Pago in American Samoa. Josh has done 1453 pushups in our ship-wide pushup contest, Amy has done 1000, and  I have done, well, less than that. Our stewards, Sabrina and Christian, have fed the ship's company 144 times in the form of three hot meals and three mid-meal snacks per day. My stomach has been happy 144 times.

While all these numbers mean a great deal aboard the ship, there are many more aspects that are, in fact, much harder to quantify - The unreasonable colors of a sunrise over the quarterdeck, featuring a shade of orange I
didn't even know existed. Watching the clouds cascade over the Fijian mountainside as the rains cleared upon our arrival into Suva. The electric feel of excitement as our crew observes a pod of short-finned pilot whales leap and feed around our ship. The awe inspiring harmony of Tongan hymns as a group of visiting school children sing their blessings to our home. To name just a few.

Meanwhile, here in the engine department, we'll keep counting those engine hours, gallons of fuel, and kilowatts of electricity - and leave those other moments as they should be: immeasurably beautiful.  

- Mike

Previous entry: The First Day!    Next entry: Heading to the Gulf Stream

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