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SSV Robert C. Seamans Blog

Position information is updated on a workday basis only.



S250a Wharton


Saturday, 05 January 2014
Position: 17° 30.9’‘S x 149° 51.1’‘W
Heading:  330° psc
Speed: HT
Weather: Partly Cloudy, NExN Winds, 29°C

Photo caption: ‘Merica… Heck yeah!

It has been incredibly exciting to see how our inexperienced watch team has evolved into a group of full-fledged sailors!  On day one, none of us knew what starboard or port meant, but after 7+ days at sea our team was speakin’’
the lingo, gybin’’ the ship, and settin’’ the Tops’l!  Tonight, we come full circle as we anchor in Moorea, which was our first stop after departing Papeete.

I joined this leadership venture because I wanted to not only learn how to lead in an ambiguous environment, but also meet a group of talented, intelligent individuals with whom I haven’‘t had the pleasure of meeting at Wharton.  Our experience at sea was challenging and tiring, but I can confidently say that this experience has genuinely changed my perspective on leadership and teamwork.

Today’‘s photo was taken after our team set the tops’’l without the direction of the professional crew.  As one cohesive unit, we were able to set the sail, which is one of the most difficult sails to set and one that we haven’’t set before.  We had a blast figuring out how to set the sail and were able to end our watch on a high note!  Importantly, settin’’ the tops’’l taught me a valuable lesson about teamwork:  no matter how difficult or challenging the task, it’s paramount to find a way to make the experience enjoyable.  Finding reprieve, even if brief, in a difficult environment creates a high performing team that can ultimately generate a successful outcome.

Joshua A. Carter, WG’15



S250a Wharton


Saturday, 04 January 2014
Position: 15° 53.3’’S x 148° 09.2’‘W
Heading:  215° psc
Speed: 6 knots
Weather: Sunny, SE Winds, 29°C

Photo caption: Swim call in the Pacific

Land ho! This morning we awoke to the beautiful view of Makatea, a desolate island in the middle of the Pacific. We watched anxiously from the starboard side of the boat as birds left the island at sunrise and fished for their breakfast, dive bombing into the open water to catch their prey. With relatively low wind levels, the day was filled with science activities, more navigation lessons and continued practice striking the sails. Throughout each watch we took turns plotting our current position and determining the optimal route home to Tahiti. After days of practicing how to identify wind patterns and constellations, our new crew successfully navigated the Robert C. Seamans closer to our final destination through all hours of the day. To date we’’ve sailed over 530 nautical miles.

When we weren’’t on watch, we were left to explore the ship. C Watch went aloft, climbing over 40 feet to the top yard to get a better view of the distant horizon and soak in the life as a sailor on the Pacific. In the afternoon, the group enjoyed a leadership lesson on the power of storytelling, followed by our first open ocean swim. All 24 Wharton students jumped into the open water to cool off, many taking the giant leap from the bow of the ship. The water was clearer than any of us could have ever imagined. We later measured visibility at over 100 m deep.

We are on course to arrive in Moorea by sunset tomorrow. And while the journey, which started only a few days ago, is already half way over, I’m excited to find out what’s in store for us next. After all, it’s a sailor’s life for me.

Bob Reish



S250a Wharton


Friday, 03 January 2014
Position: 14° 57.1’’S x 148° 30.0’‘W
Heading:  055° psc
Speed: 8 knots
Weather: Sunny, ExNE Winds, 29°C

Photo caption: Sunset on the Horizon

Tall ship life has brought out our child within. We make wishes upon stars, play games with our friends, sing songs, and are genuinely excited about seeing animals. We’’ve detached from our whirlwind of Wharton recruiting, exams and activities and have become attuned to nature. 

One way we connect with nature is through the scientific research we do on board.  Today was a “super science day”, in which we cast a variety of high-tech scientific equipment into the sea to learn more about the small life that exists in the ocean. We’‘ve each gotten to examine these tiny creatures through microscopes, and each watch group has been tasked with broader research questions to consider.  This has been crucial component in our leadership development since we have been humbled by the world around us. So much more exists outside of our Wharton bubble!

Today was also a great day to see larger marine life. My not-so-secret childlike wish for this trip was to get to see dolphins and whales, two of my favorite creatures.  On Day One, we were thrilled to have dolphins leaping alongside our ship, but were told that it was near impossible for us to see whales. Still, we maintained hope and sure enough, today we saw a whole bunch of whales.  The professional crew was astonished and we were all excitedly yelling to one another.

So for all of those reading this blog, take a second to wish upon a star and feel small compared to the world around us! Your wish just might come true after all.

Have a great weekend,
Anjali Bhatia



S250a Wharton


Thursday, 02 January 2014
Position: 15° 10.4’‘S x 149° 34.0’’W
Heading:  070° psc
Speed: 2.6 knots
Weather: SExE Winds, 28.5°C

Photo caption: Downtime = Riveting games of Mafia

Today was an eventful day for all S250A participants.  We turned to competition as a means to judge how well we had learned our lines over the past few days.  I am happy to report that A Watch smoked the competition and took a victory conga-line around the deck.  Of course, everyone has come a long way since we first boarded and this has been reflected in more ship maneuvers and sail handling during our watches. 

One of the most exhilarating experiences for me thus far was striking the Jib in the dead of night.  Standing on the netting by the bow while folding the sail while the bow pitched what felt like over 15 feet shot adrenaline right through the system.  Hopefully in the next few days, we will also have the opportunity to climb to the top of mast –- scary but exhilarating. 

While some are still feeling sea sick, I’‘m happy to report that overall, people have been improving. We all look forward to having everyone feeling well and getting the most of this experience. 

Want to give a shout out to Lauren and Adrienne for keeping our bellies full.  Meals and snacks are amazing considering we are out at sea with nothing around us but blue ocean.  I am pretty certain I have gained weight in just the 3 days I have been on the ship. 

Goodnight from the Pacific!

Yao Huang WG’14



S250a Wharton


Wednesday, 01 January 2014
Position: 15° 54.8’‘S x 150° 06.6’’W
Heading:  000° True
Speed: 5 knots
Weather: Sunny, ESE Winds, Force 5, 29°C

Photo caption: Enjoying the first sunset of the year!

Happy New Year’s from all of the participants of the S250A, The Wharton Tall Ship Sailing Venture. Hard to believe that we brought in the New Year sailing a 134 ft ship in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean. Spending an hour of the mid watch (2300-0300) on lookout at the bow was a truly spectacular experience – surrounded by water as far as the eye could see; no land anywhere on the horizon. I’’m still undecided on whether the feeling I had was unadulterated joy or fear or a combination of both, but either way it was a unique experience.

Unfortunately, many of our team members have gotten fairly seasick and haven’’t had the best start to their venture experience. Here’’s wishing them better health in the next few days.

Now I’’m going to sign off and go and lay out on the deck and stare at the night sky. For a city kid like me, experiencing my first ever shooting star and being able to gaze at planets, stars, and other celestial bodies while lying on the deck of this beautiful ship has been really special. Can’’t wait to see what tomorrow has to offer!

Akshay K. Khanna WG’15



S250a Wharton

Tuesday, 31 December 2013
Position: 17°29.8’S x 149° 51.4’W
Heading:  325° psc
Speed: 5 knots
Weather: Sunny, NE Winds, Force 4, 28°C

The participants of S250A –- The Wharton/SEA Venture – all arrived in Papeete Monday afternoon and immediately began learning about the Robert C. Seamans, their new home for the next eight days. To prepare the participants for taking on a leadership role, we spent the next 48 hours orienting to all aspects of shipboard operations and safety. They were introduced to boat checks, safe line handling, furling the jib, the research lab, oceanographic deployments, emergency procedures, and much, much more!

After getting off to a great start, we have settled into the watch schedule for the evening and are continuing to learn the routines of watch standing, both on deck and in the lab. The evening skies are lit up with celestial bodies and the few lights of land are but a dim haze in our wake. It is good to be at sea.

Chief Scientist Carla “Secchi Disk” Scocchi