SEA Currents: life at sea
I’M ALIVE, MOM!
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.
Hello from PIPA!!! (Mom, I’m alive) This is the official first blog post from the SSV Robert C. Seamans in PIPA waters, which was basically the whole goal of this voyage, so it’s a pretty big deal that we FINALLY made it.
Anyway, the theme of this blog is FIRSTS! As we officially wrapped up our first week at sea, today at approximately 1400, I have a few firsts I want to look back on.
George Washington Students take Science to High Seas
SEA Semester in the News
Practicing Science on the High Seas
GW students combined oceanography research on environmental threats with the rigors of seamanship during a 12-week journey aboard a tall ship in the South Pacific.
By John DiConsiglio
Somewhere in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean, about 200 nautical miles east of New Zealand, Lily Anna Segalman got her sea legs.
An environmental studies major at the George Washington University, Ms. Segalman held steady to the rail of the tall ship as 20-foot swells sprayed her head to toe with salt water. For the first time since setting sail 10 days earlier, she stumbled across the wooden deck of the 135-foot Brigantine named the Robert C. Seamans in 25-knot winds without getting seasick.
“I considered that a major victory,” she laughed. “I wouldn’t say I was a sailor yet. But it was a start.”
That winning moment for Ms. Segalman came in the middle of a 12-week journey at sea. Along with 13 other students from 12 different schools, including Turi Abbott, a rising senior at GW, she was participating in the Sea Education Association’s SEA Semester, a study abroad program that combines oceanography research with basic seamanship.
Are You a 10?
Hello from the lifeboat! Obviously kidding, there are no computers on a life boat. In all seriousness, we are still aboard the SSV Robert C. Seamans, and we are all safe. On the starboard side (right) there is the ocean and, I bet you can guess, on the port side (left) is also the ocean. We are still sailing north in the EEZ of Kiribati, and we have set the two square sails rendering us a more refined version of The Black Pearl. In two days we will hopefully be in the presence of land.
According to Captain Nolan, every sea-story should begin with “There I was….”
There I was…standing on the starboard edge of the quarterdeck, I was overtaken by a surging feeling of immense smallness looking out at the ocean at night, surrounded on all sides by the huge expanse of the central Pacific with a magnificent tapestry of stars.
We Are Alone
We have now sailed for more than 24 hours under sail and wind alone, without the engine which, as one of my shipmates rejoiced means no more half-hour engine checks; we were even able to set the tops’l for a time. More sails will have to wait for a change in course or wind, no matter how eagerly we await more sails.
Life at Sea
You’ll have to pardon the quality of the photograph, but I wanted to post it because it says a great deal about our voyage so far and what’s to come. We are now about 350 nm north of American Samoa and sailing to the east of the islands of Tokelau en route to the Phoenix Islands.
That’s Ian Kasaitis at the helm in the photograph. He is a biology major from McDaniel University. I took the photograph at a little after six this morning.
Finding Our Sea Legs
After preparation over the weekend, we have finally set sail from American Samoa on Monday. The past two days were very challenging for me and for everybody. Physically, our bodies were getting used to the constant waving motion and the varying schedule. Psychologically, we need to apply what we have learned on shore and over the weekend to our daily tasks and duties and constantly learn new things while combating with seasickness and tiredness.
Stanford@SEA: Final Blog
The sighting came while the ship was stopped so we could lower scientific instruments into the deep blue—for the last time.. A large white shape appeared just below the surface not 50 feet away from our side. It moved forward to aft and then disappearing behind us, among the whitecaps and glare of the sun. Moments later, it was back. This time the large creature was almost bobbing at the surface; this time presenting a clearly recognizable shape. “Whale ho,” went out a cry from the quarterdeck.
Stanford@SEA: Observations from Ken Weiss
Joining the South Pacific expedition in its final leg, I was surprised at what I found. I knew the students had encountered rough seas that dragged down the hardiest of them into a woozy world of seasickness. Broken into three groups, the students had been standing watch, around the clock in six-hour watches to master nautical science and seamanship skills. They got their hands wet, conducting science experiments, often in the middle of the night.