SEA Currents: sailing
We have once again lost sight of land and are somewhere sailing in the South Pacific ocean. The only thing that we can see are the clouds passing by with an occasional whale tail flopping out of the water during the day, and countless shooting stars at night. We are underway, heading south to our second destination in Tonga, Nuku’alofa where we will dock for a few days.
The Robert C. Seamans is officially underway!
It was a very exciting morning aboard the Seamans. In order to be a fully functioning ship, every member of the crew (including all twenty-one students) participates in a rotating six-hour watch schedule. This means a group of people is always awake to be on lookout, do boat checks, stand at the helm, and make sure everything is working smoothly. Today was the first day of our regular watch schedule, and there was certainly a lot to see.
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.
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.
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.
Hold ‘Em & Fold ‘Em
A very wise friend once gave me this advice (I think we were talking about chairs): “You’ve got to know when to hold them, know when to fold them. Know when to walk away, and know when to run.” He was trying to wax philosophically about how chairs were like life in general. Now it’s my turn.
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.
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.