SEA Currents: life at sea
Thank you to the Staff!
There is a certain bittersweet heartbreak that accompanies departures that are homeward bound after voyages such as ours. The hypnotic draw of the deep blue water is an intoxicating force, and I imagine my shipmates will largely agree that pulling ourselves away from it will be at least a somewhat onerous divorce. You might imagine that gazing into the distance only to be met with the familiar sight of waves and crests upon waves and crests would bore us, but I for one, do not tire of it.
High tide, low tide, changing tide
“Kia ora” and “mauri” (or, “Hello!” in the Maori language of New Zealand and the language of Kiribati) aboard the SSV Robert C. Seamans. A game was once introduced to us by our watch officers where you would choose your high tide, low tide, and changing tide. These correspond to choosing your best moments, down moments, and things that we’re looking forward to.
My SEA Family
Growing up in the small state of Rhode Island I fell in love with the ocean immediately. In the ‘Ocean State’ the closest beach is no more than 30 minutes away. Luckily for me the closest beach is right down the road. With having access to the ocean for the majority of my life I have learned to appreciate it and treat it with the upmost respect just like I would any human. The sad truth is however that our oceans are suffering from so many stressors that it is taking its toll on not only small islands countries such as Kiribati, but also pretty much every coastline throughout the world. I knew my involvement in this program would open my mind up to not only the South Pacific but the diverse biodiversity amongst it and the people who inhabit it.
The countdown has already begun: “Five days,” everyone says. Still, reality has not yet set in that we will go our separate ways. Even with this realization, everyone is still upbeat: I hear the laughter when I wake up, I see the smiles at the lunch table, I feel the love of my watch, and I see everyone hard set on getting work done.
Hitting the Books
Throughout all our previous blog posts, we have introduced you to many different aspects of this ship. One part of the community which deserves further exposition is the reading community that has developed on this ship. I suppose it was predictable, but it never occurred to me given the lack of reading during the shore component. Because of the lack of internet, books have become the predominant form of entertainment on the ship.
Reflections on the Voyage
As I sat there yesterday on the bowsprit, looking out at Nikumaroro Island as we left, my mind began to wander to the events that have taken place in the last month. We arrived on the ship a month ago today in Pago Pago, American Samoa, knowing only the other students. We were thrown into this crazy community that we have all come to love. One of my favorite experiences happened sometime during the first week, just after we had entered PIPA waters.
My day started at 00:30, when I woke up to Veronica whispering my name. Twenty minutes later, I was standing on the deck in the moonlight ready for dawn watch. On the northern horizon, we could barely see the dark stripe that was the island of Nikumaroro. There is a particular spot by the island where we wanted to do our scientific sampling, but we planned to approach it during the day. So we had a pretty unusual watch, in that we were hove to (stopped) all night, drifting slowly with the wind.
Watching my conceptions of space change as I have spent the past three and a half weeks onboard the Robert C. Seamans has been interesting to say the least. In the beginning, I felt that my world would inevitably shrink down to a mere fraction of what it used to be, in many ways. There is the obvious physical constraint of having only 140 feet of space to walk up and down on any given day, but there was also the fact that my spheres of interaction were minimized to the 37 others on board with me and, for a few days, the people of Kanton.
Birthday at Sea
Just now, I went around and asked the staff if they had one sentence to share with the outside world.
Here is what they had to say to you, the dearest outside world:
Lessons from Night Watch
After a particularly damp and dreary night watch, I thought I’d spend a few minutes sharing my newly acquired nuggets of wisdom on…
Life Lessons Learned on Night Watch: Tips and Tricks for Surviving 7pm to 1am
- Memorize the lines before dark – Knowing which ropes to haul or ease is imperative for smooth sailing. If you don’t know which line is which when you can see them, imagine how much harder it is when you can’t. Memorize your lines before the sun goes down.