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Sea Education Association | SEA Currents

SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans


Sep

29

One Full Day at Sea

Graeme Brown, C Watch, Colby College
SPICE

Joshua and MEB on watch as the tropical sun sets, entering northern Tonga

Current Position
15° 51.5’S x 171° 44.1’W

Location
South of Pago Pago, American Samoa

Ship’s Heading & Speed
Steering 180°

Weather
2/8 coverage of cumulus clouds, light winds from ESE, the seas have settled to 3 foot swells

Souls on Board

SEA Stories Podcast

I am happy to say that S-275 is officially at sea!  We are just wrapping up an eventful first day out on the water.  However, it doesn’t exactly feel like the day is through as we’ve quickly fallen into the routine of rolling 6-hour watches.  Myself and the rest of C-watch, for example, are expecting a wake up at 0040 so we can be out on the deck at 0050 for dawn watch. A-watch will relieve us at 0700, giving us just enough time to rest up, go to class, and get fed before getting back out on the deck for another shift at 1900.  But these busy days are beyond rewarding. 

The sunrise and sunsets have been spectacular, free time has been spent looking at the stars, reading and napping on deck, watching the bow split striking blue water from the net on the bowsprit, and simply enjoying the weather with friends.  Meals are frequent, hearty, and delicious, just like the snacks that come between then.  I’d say, after the wind, Sabrina in the galley is really what fuels the ship.  Despite all of this, life on the boat also comes with certain challenges.  There’s no taking a break from the constant pitch and roll of the Seamans.  Be it eating, walking, trying to sleep, even trying to take a sip of water, it’s always there.  A few of the crew’s been spotted pale-faced, head hung over the rail “donating to Neptune” as our Captain, Jay, likes to say. 

Working at sea has been difficult but awesome.  Though we’ve only had one full day out here, we managed to get a ton of stuff done.  In the morning and afternoon we took data and learned how to conduct a number of scientific tests.  We deployed the carousel, a 500-pound device that measures things like salinity and temperature, and also has 12 tubes that can be programmed to shut at specific depths, allowing us to get discreet data values for zooplankton levels and nutrient levels.  The hydrophone was also deployed. It’s essentially an underwater microphone that we use to record ocean soundscapes.  Because it’s mating season for humpback whales in the South Pacific, this device will become super useful in the waters around Vava’u, Tonga.  A Neuston tow was performed and surface sample collected to get general information about the water, and determine levels of microplastics. All of this data will be collected along the whole cruise track, adding to the great database that SEA already has. 

Between collecting data in the morning and afternoon, we had class.  Today, we continued to get a feel for how the boat operated under sail by doing some practice jibes. A jibe is when the boat turns, so the wind comes across its stern, and ends up with all sails set on the other side on the other tack.  First, we watched the crew perform one, then each watch took their turn doing different jobs for a few more jibes.  It was good to get alittle more familiar with the lines because in a few days we’ll have the “line chase”.  For this, each watch races as a team to identify all the lines on the boat, person by person, one line at a time.

We’re already more than 100 nautical miles away from port in Pago Pago (or should I say just 100 miles into our journey?) and lost sight of land long ago.  It can surely be said that all’s well on the Seamans.  We eagerly await the islands and days at sea that lay ahead. 

Happy birthday, Ma! Love you.

- Graeme
 

Comments

#1. Posted by Sheri Oliva on October 03, 2017

Thank you for the detailed updates! It really brings your experience to life for those of us living our daily lives on stable terrain…hope that those of you ‘donating to Neptune’ are getting more adapted to the pitch of the seas!
Best of luck and keep the posts coming!!


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