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SEA Currents Blog

SEA Currents: Dec 2014

December 20, 2014

Aphorisms, Clichés, and Quotes

Jeff Schell, Chief Scientist

Colonization to Conservation in the Caribbean

There is a time and a place for everything – and at 0650 this morning the wisdom of these words is slowly dawning upon me.  Today I am tasked with the daily blog for cruise C256 – and the bar has been set very high these past many weeks.  Dear readers, I do not want to disappoint, but I must admit as I type these words I am a reluctant author.  As we approach the final days of our voyage it is only natural to look back upon all that we have accomplished, to reflect upon what we have learned, and to imagine what we are now capable of achieving with the wealth of accumulated experience and wisdom shared on this voyage.

December 19, 2014

Tattoos and Tall Ships

Matthew Alan Porter, Mystic Seaport Museum of America

Colonization to Conservation in the Caribbean

Most of my maritime training has been geared towards learning about 19th Century sailors’ traditional lives at sea and at home. One of my favorite things to talk to people about is traditions that have continued into modern day tall ship sailing, parallel older traditions, or are just beginning. Tattoos, both nautical or otherwise, are a continually evolving tradition. Some maritime tattoos can simply be talismans for good luck, while other can signify great achievements.

December 18, 2014

What’s cookin’ on the RCS

Ben Ahlvin, Assistant Engineer

The Global Ocean: New Zealand

Hey everyone, Ben the Assistant Engineer here. Checking in and bringing you an update on the current status of the good ship Robert C. Seamans as we make our way north on the last leg of S256. Everything seems to be switching to end-of-trip mode—the students are spending every free moment finishing up homework and projects, and the professional crew are already preparing lists of projects to accomplish during the next port stop and turnaround period.

December 18, 2014

Preparing for Science on the Saba Bank

Clare Morrall, Visiting Scientist

T’was one week before Christmas and we’ve just set sail, departing the island of Saint Martin/Sint Maarten and heading for St. John in the US Virgin Islands!

This is Clare- I’m a visiting scientist who has had the privilege of working with the fantastic C256 faculty and students since the end of September. I’ve taken a sabbatical from my position at St. George’s University in Grenada in the southern Caribbean and I’ve had a great few months with SEA ashore in New England and on board the Cramer.

December 17, 2014

One more day in the harbah!

Chris Marshall, B Watch, SUNY ESF

It’s becoming increasing difficult to write this blog entry as Becky repeats every sentence and KP files through the numerous photos of our journey that have been uploaded to the library computers. However, this reminiscing has made me recall all of the amazing memories that class S256 will share forever. For instance, yesterday (16th of December) we were given a fair amount of free time to traverse the Lyttleton/Christchurch landscape, which was great.

December 16, 2014

A Word (or two) from Engineering

Mickey Cavacas, Engineer

Greetings blog readers! This is Mickey, the ship’s engineer here. Sorry in advance for how much I jump around during today’s blog post.

Back on November 23rd the other engineer aboard, Tanner gave a description of why engineers are needed onboard a sailing vessel, so I’ll just refer you all to that post for a refresher. Instead of rehashing that, I would like to give you a statistical overview of some engineering numbers for our Atlantic crossing.

December 16, 2014

Don’t Make Me Leave

Ali Johnson, A Watch, Stonehill College

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM AND AUNT BETH!!! I love and miss you so much, I wish I could be there today! I can’t wait to see you in just about a week.

Today we saw more sunshine and fun in Lyttelton! It’s amazing what a difference we’ve had between here and Dunedin. Three days of sun and we’re all looking like a crew of lobsters. But we’re not complaining! This morning we had our normal cleaning duties and then went right into a few hours of study hall.

December 15, 2014


Kella Woodard, B Watch, Umass Amherst

The Global Ocean: New Zealand

The surprisingly small town of Lyttleton has welcomed us with gorgeous weather and wonderful people.  After a typical port morning - breakfast and cleaning - we headed out to Christchurch for the day’s activities.  A short drive through beautiful green mountains brought us to the Ngai Tahu Government Office.  Ngai Tahu is the largest Maori iwi (tribe) on the South Island, with over 53,000 registered members who can trace their whakapapa (lineage) back to an 1845 census.

December 15, 2014

An Island and a Gallery

Gabrielle Page, 2nd assistant scientist

Ahoy from the Corwith Cramer! Today marked our arrival to our second port stop of the trip: the island of Sint Maarten/St. Martin. Before settling in the clear blue waters of our anchorage, the “on” watch had a busy morning preparing for our arrival. In lab, a flurry of students and scientists collected some last pieces of data before our time in port. In addition to our loyal Neuston net, we deployed our dip net to collect Sargassum as well as our Tucker Trawl net in search of plastic pieces in the water column.

December 14, 2014

JSWO and Other Adventures

Heather Gaya, A-Watch, Whitman College

“Hey Heather. It’s 02:30 and you have 20 minutes till dawn watch. It’s nice outside and very warm,” the person waking me up quietly murmured through my curtain.  “mrrrrggg,” I replied, groggily reaching for my bunk light, hoping that maybe today would be the day that the light would turn on with my first try. Five minutes later, nursing chafed fingers and cursing the light for once again resisting my efforts, I grabbed my watch and shoes in the dark and stumbled my way towards the coffee pot.

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