SEA Currents: megafauna
Moments, Memories, Meaning
Always, always, always I find myself struggling to find the right words to wrap up a voyage. Inherently it is an unsolvable problem, a hopeless effort to address a seemingly simple question - ‘So, how was the trip?’, which in truth is a prelude to an overwhelming sense of confusion.
Where Oh Where are the Whales?
After arriving on deck to begin afternoon watch I learned, from a reliable source, that we were sailing in a whale sanctuary. To some this fact would be described as “cool” or “exciting”, but to me this information was life altering. I love whales. I admit it. Maybe a little too much, but I have dreamed of one day seeing these majestic creatures up close and personal. Yet the sea, at least what was visible on the surface, was absent of whales.
Taking Time to Listen
If I had to come up with a personal slogan it would be “take time to listen.” As a marine mammal scientist and acoustician at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Northeast Fisheries Science Center in Woods Hole, MA, just down the street from SEA Semester, it is my job to take time to listen to the ocean and use listening as a tool to learn about marine animals including marine mammals. But in my time interacting with people of all ages through various outreach and teaching opportunities, I have realized that too often people don’t take time to listen and that this important part of our environment can easily be lost or forgotten.
Whales and Scones
The day began at 1 AM with a misunderstanding. A disembodied voice chimed outside the curtain of my bunk cutting through the half-thoughts dreams make. The voice is telling me that it is time to get up, that it is 1AM, it’s a little chilly outside, and that my watch begins in thirty minutes. Normally I would say okay or yes or thank you or any sort of acknowledgement and the voice would quiet once more and find its way to the next bunk, the next curtain to hover outside. Ruefully, I would find shorts, a shirt, the safety harness, the water bottle, and whatever else I needed to begin (albeit a very early one) the morning. But this was not a normal day.
More Sleep, More Whales and More Waves
After leaving Samana, Dominican Republic yesterday, we got underway and began motor sailing, which quickly became sailing (yay!!), towards Silver Bank. Lots of things are different with this section of our voyage.
Music and Art Aboard the Cramer
Today has been an exciting day aboard the Cramer, with whale sightings, whale calls, music and an art gallery. The day started during my night watch (2300-0300). It was a lovely watch with the usual bioluminescence under the bow and a great deal of shooting stars. After a bit more sleep I went on deck to discover there had been a large number of humpback whales and Heather our resident whale sound expert with the help of Molly and Amina had gotten recordings of their sounds.
The Most Wonderful Chocolate Cake
Waking up I knew it was going to be a good day! How was I so sure? Today is my birthday, I turned 22! The day started with a sleepy chorus of Happy Birthday from my fellow shipmates over a delicious breakfast from Assistant Steward of the day, Maddy Savage and our ever so amazing Steward, Sabrina. After breakfast Eileen and I started an intense game of “Spit” which was quickly interrupted by Cassie, our watch officer, asking for our help.
A Birthday at Sea
As a photographer, I try capturing what I think is beautiful in my pictures. I’ve been lucky enough to photograph amazing places such as the deserts of Arizona to the snowy peaks of Niseko, Japan. At these amazing places, I’ve always been able to capture beautiful moments in some way. A waterfall. A sunrise. The milky way. The possibilities are endless. Coming on the Robert C. Seamans, I thought that I would be able share the beautiful moments on board with photography.
Dolphins at the Port Bow, Scrubbed Decks, and Setting Sails
As we prepared to raise the anchor, C watch (my watch) began the sea watch structure of six hours on, 12 hours off by waking up from an interrupted night of sleep at 0600. Kate P. and Sabrina crushed the first meal, starting off the day with scrambled eggs, potatoes with onions and peppers, and bacon. Watch began at 0700 on deck with Austin, Anna J, 3rd mate Eric, and myself scrubbing the decks with freshwater.
Sampling on Saba Bank
Sunrise at sea. A patchwork of cumulous clouds drape across the sky, infused with early morning color. Off in the distance, land, a new island for us, from the chart I learn it is Saba Island – part of the Dutch Antilles.
Long, deep swells gently roll in from the north reminding us, ever so subtly, that the sea sometimes can be angry and may one day be so for us. For now however, we can be thankful for the comfortable seas.