SEA Currents: life at sea
Science Rules !!
Good morning land dwellers!
The residents of Robert C. Seamans have lots to report as we start to fall into the rhythm of life at sea and are beginning to find our sea legs. It was looking pretty rocky for a while as the leeward side (lower side of the boat) seemed to be constantly crowded with seasick-plagued sailors, the “fish feeding club”. Our Oceans and Global Change professor, Kerry, comforted us by saying we were “feeding the microbial loop”. Ginger themed snacks and constant reminders to stay hydrated are commonly topics these days.
Oops, We Forgot to Write the Blog Yesterday
Hello from the open ocean!
It’s official, there is no land in sight. Just us and blue and gray for miles and miles, plus the occasional NZ Navy helicopter or the fancy cruise ship or 180-meter cargo on our radar. But, if we’re being honest, amidst lots of throwing up and a (literally) bumpy adjustment to life underway, S-276 forgot to write the blog yesterday. So, reader, travel back in time with me to Monday, November 20, 2017 at 1430 South Pacific time.
Boot and Rally!
C Watch was woken up at 0030 and advised to wear their foul weather gear. While crawling out of bed and fumbling to get dressed as quietly as possible, as to not let slip the precious moments of sleep from our bunkmates, we prepared for our third watch while under way. The rain was barely above a drizzle but the wind reminded us that we were on a ship. The only visible landmarks were silhouettes of far islands and a lighthouse flashing far off port side. The excitement of standing at the helm and staring forward past the sails and into the darkness of the early morning is something that I will never get tired of.
Sailing for Science!
Our first full day at sea! Waking up to a gorgeous sunrise at anchor this morning, we set the sails and continued towards Russell. Throughout the day, we’ve been rotating watches focusing on applying all of our newfound skills in navigating, plotting courses, and catnaps. Around 1400, all hands gathered for our first actual class of the voyage. We discussed our current position (roughly 60 nautical miles North of Auckland), sail plan, and weather forecast before diving into sail handling 2.0.
First day of Sailin’ and dolphins
Bon Voyage, land!
We started my day with breakfast then chores. My watch was in charge of scrubbing the deck (I’ve been calling it the poop deck until someone tells me that it is not the poop deck). After chores we were released to do our independent study. Caleb, Will, and my project for Sense of Place, are to observe and document the taskscape of Mount Eden, Auckland’s tallest dormant volcanoes.
So Here We Are
“SO, here we are, running before the wind under the topsail and course…” Jesse, sailing intern and current C watch J-WO says to A watch clustered around him on the quarterdeck. His voice comes from a silhouette plastered against a backdrop of stars. “The wind is from the East, force 4. Course ordered is 300 degrees….” he continues. And so began last night’s evening watch.
A Life Changing Adventure Coming to a Close
“The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon for each day to have a new and different sun.” –Jon Krakauer
Where do I even begin? It’s crazy to think that this is our last week aboard the SSV Corwith Cramer. It is truly bittersweet.
To set the scene of a dawn watch not long ago: Still foggy from my 00:30 wakeup, I rolled out of my bunk, made a mug of tea, and ascended the ladder through the dog house to read night orders, familiarize myself with the deck, and receive turnover information from the off-going watch. Directed to take the lookout position, I walked forward to the bow to relieve Mercer, who was looking out and singing “Lean on Me.” I joined him for a chorus, then as he left I situated myself between the rail and the forestay, and I began to watch.
Out in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, Domino’s pizza delivery does not exist. Thinking of civilization back on land is weird. The concept of green pine trees lurk into my mind and then the reminder that I very well may be greeted with snow when I return stuns me, forgetting that was still a thing. As I stand bow-watch and gaze into the dark twilight of the night, I try to recall my life before this. No routine, no set schedule, no meal times, no daily clean/field days and no wake ups.
I am the Sea and the Sea is Me
I could tell you your life is fine the way it is. I could tell you the niche you’ve found for yourself within society is all you need. The sounds of the city, suburbia, and the chatter you hear at work every day is enough. I could tell you these things but then I would be a liar. It is a fool’s errand to attempt a description worthy of life at sea.