SEA Currents: port stops
When our story left off we were anchored in Orona, one of the numerous (relatively) untouched island atoll oases comprising the Phoenix Islands. Today we are back underway, sailing under the four lowers towards our next terrestrial target, Winslow Reef. While I’m feeling slightly woozy from seasickness induced from being back underway, I will attempt do justice in recalling the beauty and wonder of snorkeling with the giant clams in Orona’s lagoon…
Holding my Breath
I’m holding my breath, because I have been asked to find the green orb and place it on the horizon. I’m holding my breath, because I’m navigating through an endless-blue-nowhere by the light of the star that is mine, because I picked it; I know its name, and it’s the only one I can see out of the black waves stretching a thousand miles in every direction and the black sky stretching millions of miles in front of me.
I don’t think there is an adequate way to write a blog that encompasses all of the events and emotions that have happened over the past few weeks. The SSV Robert C. Seamans doesn’t take her company through the middle of the Pacific Ocean without some testy moments and times of utter confusion. Coming from someone who has only sailed a small Sunfish boat and almost crashed it into a jet ski (hehe love you, Hannah), I never thought that in only two weeks I would be able to understand and sail a 134.5 foot brigantine vessel which is comprised of 86 lines; all the while living with 38 shipmates whom I’ve mostly just met.
Nothing about SEA Semester is easy. From memorizing all 54 lines of the ship, dealing with sea sickness while still expected to complete your responsibilities, to doing daily clean ups in steaming hot weather after 6 hours of dawn watch, every task pushes me beyond my limits. There are days I feel incapable, times I’m upset, moments I miss home incredibly, but what encourages me to face new challenges during the start of every morning is what Cassie, our Chief Mate who was our Watch Officer, said to my watch the first day:
I do not get homesick.
I was raised to be independent. My younger brother and I were given every opportunity to flex our self-reliance. From very early ages, we were encouraged to follow our passions and seek out new experiences-no matter how far from home they took us. We didn’t have to worry or fret; we were secure in the knowledge that our parents were at home, patiently waiting for us to return to them.
An Eventful Day
Today marks our second day docked at Kanton, and it has been an eventful one. The morning started off for my watch, B Watch, tending to the Robert C. Seamans as we were tasked with helping reposition the fenders, which protect our ship from crashing into the dock. After completing this task, we then helped to prepare the gift our crew was to give the people of Kanton during tonight’s potluck dinner.
Ashore in Kanton
Today was our first day ashore in Kanton. We spent the day snorkeling, doing chores around the boat, doing school work, and exploring the island. My watch, A watch, got to go snorkeling an do work/chores today, we’ll get to explore the island tomorrow.
The day started with a brief all hands meeting on the quarter deck with a briefing of the day’s festivities
Arrival at Kanton Atoll
Today was a special day for the SSV Robert C. Seamans and everyone on board, as we finally made it through our nine-day sail from Pago Pago, American Samoa to Kanton Island, Republic of Kiribati. Each day the temperature gets higher and higher as we approach the equator, but our spirits remain high, especially after we passed by Enderbury Island yesterday. I had never seen a coral atoll island before, and it reminded me of many fiction stories I’ve read about surviving on a deserted island, which was a little weird since Enderbury Island looked so calm and pretty.
S-274 Gets Underway
It has been an eventful first day here on the SSV Robert C. Seamans. Morning activities for student participants were filled with an enlightening and refreshing walking tour to the Tauese P.F. Sunia Ocean Center in Pago Pago, American Samoa. During our visit, our crew had the unique opportunity to speak personally with Fisheries Observer and Biologist, Michael Marsik, from NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service. Tuna canneries on the island of Tutuila provide many jobs for American Samoans, so it was invaluable that Marsik could provide us with excellent background information on local tuna fishing methods and regulations.
Class S-274 has spent the past couple days learning about their new home, the beautiful ship SSV Robert C. Seamans. During this shore-side orientation in American Samoa, students have learned about aloft safety, science operations, cleaning routines, boat checks, sail handling, line safety, meal routines, and a host of other important things that will set them up for success when we leave the dock tomorrow afternoon.