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SEA Currents Blog

SEA Currents: Nov 2016

November 26, 2016

Sailing for the Kermadecs!

Dylan Whitney, Assistant Engineer

Ocean Exploration

It has been almost one week since we departed our anchorage in Russell and we are approaching the Kermadec Islands. Although the water column is packed with living organisms (biomass) the Pacific Ocean we’ve been sailing through is quite barren above the waterline. We regularly go almost a full day without seeing even a seabird soaring by. The water temperature has been on the rise as we’ve sailed north into the sub-tropical waters; increasing from a chilly 15.7° C to 21.5° C.

Categories: Robert C. Seamans,Ocean Exploration, • Topics: s270  science  research • (2) CommentsPermalink

November 25, 2016

Pearlescent Sea

H. Kent, A Watch, The New School of New York City

Ocean Exploration

Today on our ship we have been graced by the presence of five Glaucus atlanticus nudibranchs! A native of the Tropical and Subtropical Seas, these surface dwelling sea slugs are, to put it bluntly: gorgeous and impressive. While small in size, the molluscs we’ve been able to observe are iridescent blue-white and have four mane-like appendages that they use for flotation. My favorite part of the day was observing them in the lab.

Categories: Robert C. Seamans,Ocean Exploration, • Topics: s270  life at sea  science • (1) CommentsPermalink

November 25, 2016

Shipmate Support

John Irving, C Watch, Stonehill College

Oceans & Climate

Time is a tricky thing in the middle of the ocean and it gets prioritized starting with watch standing, sleeping, schoolwork, and free time. The watch schedule controls your sleep schedule, which over the course of three days is as much as you can get. The next amount of allotted free time is spent working on research projects and individual homework assignments. After those three main items are checked off in the course of the day you have earned yourself some free time! It isn’t much but some of the best memories are made during these times.

Categories: Corwith Cramer,Oceans & Climate, • Topics: c270  life at sea • (2) CommentsPermalink

November 24, 2016

The Swizzle

Sudeshana Karki, A Watch, Nepal

Ocean Exploration

We do everything a little differently on the Brigantine. We box the compass and shoot celestial bodies. We count the swells and name the clouds. We learn to walk on rocking surfaces and eat on swaying tables. Cardinal directions are our best friends and every hour is accounted for. I guess things have to be done differently when we are floating across the Pacific ocean in a 134 ft vessel. Don’t even get me started on the language - we have the bow ahead of us and the stern behind, we go to the port side when we are on left side of the ship and starboard for right, we walk on soles and when nature calls, we use the heads – it’s peculiarly beautiful.

Categories: Robert C. Seamans,Ocean Exploration, • Topics: s270  life at sea • (1) CommentsPermalink

November 24, 2016


Meave Gurche, B Watch, Gap Year

Ocean Exploration

There is a cycle that binds us to her planks and hull. Years ago she was mined from deep earth, her body extracted from its terrestrial footing, to become something of the Sea.

Like all cycles, one day she will return to her beginnings of earth and soil. Iron shavings, chemical reactions.

Categories: Robert C. Seamans,Ocean Exploration, • Topics: s270  life at sea • (1) CommentsPermalink

November 24, 2016

Exam Day

Anna von Brandis, A Watch, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

Oceans & Climate

Can a day end any better than by sitting on the spreaders, watching flying fish and enjoying the endless blue? After two days and nights with squalls and lightning, the sun finally found her way back to us! The wind is blowing constantly but from the wrong direction for us, so we spend another day motor-sailing. Strategies of how to get the wind to be more cooperative are frequently discussed - so far without success. As a sailor from the Baltic Sea, I am used to tacking a lot and frequently getting the wind on the nose…but I wasn’t expecting to have this problem in the tropics!

November 23, 2016

Shooting the moon! And sun! And stars! And even some planets!

David “Rocky” Bonner III, C Watch, 3rd Mate

Ocean Exploration

Today those of us on C watch had the morning watch. It was a comfortable 19°C as we took the deck with beautiful clear skies. For me, and for most of the rest of the watch, the theme of the day has been celestial navigation.

We were fortunate to have a lovely crescent moon high in the clear sky upon taking the watch, not to mention the sun itself. This gave us an excellent opportunity to get a two-body celestial fix. Fairly shortly after getting settled in, Yen and Kate grabbed some sextants and shot the sun and the moon. Hearts players beware, they both shoot the moon like pros.

November 23, 2016

Shadow Phase

Sabrina Hutchinson, B Watch, Sailing Intern, SEA Alumna (S-253 and C-259)

Oceans & Climate

It’s hard to believe that this group of students joined the ship less than two weeks ago. They’ve come such a long way in a short amount of time: They have all successfully learned the lines on Cramer, from the much-used main halyard to less commonly used fisherman peak jigger. They have all driven and/or called a scientific deployment, processed a net tow, and plotted sun lines on our navigational charts using angles shot on a sextant.

Categories: Corwith Cramer,Oceans & Climate, • Topics: c270  life at sea  leadership • (1) CommentsPermalink

November 22, 2016

New Concept of Time

Danny Lucas, B Watch, Warren Wilson College

Oceans & Climate

What an experience. The way the watch cycle works really creates a whole new concept of time! Sleeping at night is no longer a thing, and eating six meals a day is now a habit. This morning, B Watch (Hannah, Rob, Stefani, Gabrielle, Sabrina and I) took control of the ship from 7 am to 1 pm. After a delicious lunch I was able to play guitar on the deck for the first time. We definitely do not have much free time here: If you aren’t on watch, eating or playing with a sextant for a homework assignment, you’re probably sleeping.

Categories: Corwith Cramer,Oceans & Climate, • Topics: c270 • (3) CommentsPermalink

November 21, 2016

Ocean education pioneers Exy and Irving Johnson inducted in National Sailing Hall of Fame

SEA Semester

The late Electa “Exy” and Irving Johnson, former SEA trustees and pioneers in experiential ocean-based education, were inducted into the National Sailing Hall of Fame on Sunday, Oct. 30, 2016. Irving and Exy were married in 1932 after meeting on a transatlantic sailboat passage. As husband and wife, they continued an amazing journey, sailing around the world seven times (!) while teaching crews of young people.

They wrote books and articles and made films about their voyages - Irving’s 1929 adventure as a mate aboard the Peking is captured in a well-known film, “Around Cape Horn”- and inspired generations of ocean explorers. The design of SEA’s first vessel, Westward, was inspired by the Johnsons’ brigantine, Yankee.

Irving served as a founding SEA trustee until his death in 1991,whereupon Exy took his place until her death in 2004. Since 1999, the endowed Exy Johnson Scholarship has supported SEA Semester students from all walks of life. One of Exy and Irving’s sons, Robert, has followed in their wake and served as an SEA Overseer since 2005. For more about this remarkable couple, we refer you to this 2015 article in SEA HISTORY.

Categories: News, • Topics: featured • (0) CommentsPermalink

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