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SEA Currents Blog

SEA Currents: Feb 2018


February 22, 2018

We are on our way!

Hannah Locke, C Watch, Eckerd College

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Today was our first full day at sea for the longest leg of our journey from the Bay of Islands down to Wellington. It was an action-packed day full of SO MUCH SCIENCE. We deployed the first CTD, a Secchi Disk, a hydrocast carousel, conducted a surface station, the one-meter net, and the Neuston net. In order to conduct these activities we had to significantly slow the boat down, we had to heave to.


February 21, 2018

A perfect day for sailing

Eliza Malakoff, A Watch, Carleton College

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After a thorough ship cleaning this morning, we hoisted several sails and, passing beautiful green hills and craggy basalt cliffs, entered the open ocean. The water slowly turned from the estuary’s brown to a stunning clear blue as sheerwater and petrels - seafaring birds often seen far from coast - replaced orange-billed oystercatchers and cormorant-like shags.


February 20, 2018

Update on Tropical Storm Gita

Elliot Rappaport, Captain, Professor of Nautical Science

The Robert C Seamans sailed from Opua, Bay of Islands, NZ this morning in moderate northwesterly winds after a successful stop that included visits to the nearby town of Russell and the historic Waitangi Treaty grounds. Yesterday at the wharf we experienced several hours of rain and gusty wind as the remnants of Tropical Cyclone Gita passed to the south of us, but our stay was otherwise unaffected. Gita is forecast to gradually dissipate as she moves away from the South Island over the next 24 hours, and we are looking forward to the advent of some fair weather as we begin our passage towards Wellington.

As always, we are grateful for our local network of friends and colleagues, who were a great resource in planning ahead for any possible contingencies related to this weather event. New Zealand is at its heart a nation of sailors, always willing to assist in adjusting plans when necessary.


February 20, 2018

Last Day in Opua

Duncan Jackson, C Watch, University of Oregon

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Today brought answers to a silent anticipation much of us have felt since the weekend. Today Tropical Cyclone Gita was expected to (and did) cross New

Zealand’s path at full force. For this reason, we had altered our voyage plan, opting to dock in the small town of Opua as opposed to Russell, in order to retreat further into the Bay of Islands, where we would be better protected from the path of the storm.


February 20, 2018

A Sea Story

Kevin Murray, Second Mate, B Watch

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Hi, I’m Kevin, the second mate on board. Today we were sharing exciting sea stories. We came up with this one to describe our afternoon watch. I hope you enjoy it!

(Read in a dramatic voice) So there we were in the southern Sargasso Sea! It was afternoon watch and B watch had the deck!


February 19, 2018

Successful First Sailing Leg to the Bay of Islands

Jessica Duong, B Watch, Trinity College

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Over this past weekend we completed our first sailing leg of the trip, navigating northwest of Auckland towards the Bay of Islands. Working in a six hours on watch and 12 hours off watch schedule, we gained introductory experience in various watch duties (boat checks, lookout, steering at the helm). While we motored for the first portion of our voyage, we eventually turned off the engine and set the four lower sails (jib, fore stays’l, main stays’l, mains’l) to truly sail the Seamans.


February 19, 2018

Sailing North for Science!

Craig Marin, Maritime Studies Faculty

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We have moved on from our port stop in Francis Bay, St. John, to the Atlantic Ocean as we venture north to see if we can hunt down some of the southern Sargasso Sea waters. Student crew and professional crew alike are all fully engaged in the daily routine now—morning watch classes, scientific deployments, afternoon class for all hands and, of course, plenty of sail handling.


February 19, 2018

Kiwi weather guru visits Seamans

SEA Semester

SEA Semester in the News
MetBob Weathergram
A blog post by noted New Zealand weather guru, Bob McDavitt

My good wishes to the University students who are crewing on Training Tall Ship SSV ROBERT C SEAMANS. The vessel visited Auckland last week and sailed to Opua late in the week. Captain, and Professor in Nautical Science, Elliot Rappaport invited me on deck. I especially like that the students manage a full-time marine lab and also are one of the VOS (Voluntary Observing Ships) that send in regular weather reports using properly calibrated instruments. These observations, around the planet, are part of what helps the global weather models in touch with the real world.

Read the full blog post


February 17, 2018

First Snorkel Survey!

Jordan Churchwell, B Watch, Colorado College

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Hello friends and family! I think I speak for all of us when I say we wish you could be here with us to see this beauty. My day actually started at 0100 (1am) where I had a quick 1hr deck watch. Since we are at anchor in Francis Bay (surrounded by US and British Virgin Islands), we needed less people on watch, meaning 1hr instead of 4hrs of a night watch. Woo more time to sleep!

The real fun began around 1000 when we took a small motor boat over to St. John for about a 2 mile hike inland to Waterlemon Cay.


February 16, 2018

What a day, we’re underway!

Katie Armstrong, A Watch, Mount Holyoke College

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Hello there landlubbers!

Today is a very special day for S-277, as this is the first time we are not at dock or anchor while aboard the Bobby C! We left anchor outside of the Auckland marina at about 1500 and have our sights set for Russell, in Aotearoa New Zealand’s Bay of Islands.


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