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SEA Currents Blog

SEA Currents: Pacific Reef Expedition


May 25, 2018

Sunrise to Sunset, a Day in the Life

Casidhe Mahuka, A Watch, American Samoa Community College

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The day started on the Robert C. Seamans before the sun had the chance to wake. She’s alive 24/7 with people manning her to make sure she stays alive, along with the crew members that live in her. Today, I began my first night watch (super exciting!) with my watch member, Riley at 0200.


May 24, 2018

Safety Training and Setting Sail

Dr. Jeffrey M. Schell, Chief Scientist and Associate Professor of Oceanography

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Today we set sail from Papeete, Tahiti; a momentous occasion.  The moment we have all been waiting for, planning for, dreaming of these past many months

full of anticipation and preparation.  We were escorted offshore by several species of seabirds, marking our first oceanographic observations of the cruise; and we all watched admired the shifting ocean colors; from hues of green in the harbor to the deep blues of the tropical Pacific.


May 23, 2018

Pacific Reef Expedition Begins!

Pamela Coughlin, Captain

Spend a Semester at Sea

Welcome to Pacific Reef Expedition (PRX) - cruise S280 onboard the SSV Robert C. Seamans!

Today we welcomed onboard our new shipmates - 21 students from across the United States and from around the world. Everyone’s excitement is palpable as they begin their life aboard the SSV Robert C. Seamans.


May 22, 2018

S-280: Pacific Reef Expedition

Study Abroad Voyage Map

The students of S-280, Pacific Reef Expedition, will join the Robert C. Seamans in Pape’ete, Tahiti by May 23rd. They will end their voyage in Honolulu, Hawaii around June 24th, after port stops in Rangiroa, Caroline Island, Kiribati, and Kiritimati.


June 18, 2016

End of Cruise Sentiments

Jeffrey Schell, Chief Scientist

Pacific Reef Expedition

We have accomplished something special here at sea onboard this ship the Robert C. Seamans.  A group of strangers that worked together as a team to observe, document, and finally to understand the effects of the strongest El Niño on record on central Pacific reefs.

So what have we learned?


June 17, 2016

Engineering Extravaganza

David Evans, Assistant Engineer

Pacific Reef Expedition

Dear Shore & Co.,
As we cruise along these Pacific waters, there are a variety of very important systems on the good ship Robert C. Seamans that makes this voyage considerably more pleasant than it would be otherwise. This is the realm of Engineering, and it is a hot and sweaty place involving diesel engines, a wide variety of pumps, plenty of plumbing, a few dank smells, and more wires than you would ever dream of shaking a stick at. The operating engineer, Mickey, and his assistant, myself, spend our days managing these systems and keeping them running in good order.


June 15, 2016

Smelling the Big Island

Sara Martin, A Watch, Chief Mate

Pacific Reef Expedition

As we approach the Hawaiian Islands, spirits are high in anticipation of our first tall, volcanic islands since Tahiti disappeared astern four weeks ago. Elaborate calculations are being performed in secret, as various members of the ship’s company try to pin down exactly when we might be able to see the heights of Mauna Loa peaking above the northern horizon.  Others are excited about the prospect of experiencing the smell of the islands-Hawaii’s ongoing volcanic activity can be sensed on the breeze as the NE trade winds carry remnants of volcanic ash and gases out to sea.


June 14, 2016

Let’s go sailing!

Philip Swanson, Oberlin College

Pacific Reef Expedition

Imagine this. It’s four in the morning, and you’re standing on the deck of a sailboat hurling north through the Pacific. A series of squalls off the bow drown out the guiding light of stars, and the bow of the ship is repeatedly thrown around by monstrous waves so strong that even the roof hatches are shut to keep the waves out. You’d hope whoever was in charge of the ship that night was an expert sailor, and not a 19-year-old boy with three weeks of sailing experience. Somehow though, last night I was that boy.


June 13, 2016

Galley News

Lauren Heinen, Ship Steward

Pacific Reef Expedition

Hello all.  Lauren the steward here. I left dinner prep in Siobhan’s competent hands to come tell the outside world not to worry, we are all eating more than we should. If by some bad luck or oversleeping accident you miss a meal, never fear, the next one is only 3 hours away.


June 12, 2016

Junior Watch Officer Phase

CJ Brown, Columbia University

Pacific Reef Expedition

Today marks the beginning of our JWO/JLO phase. While some of you might be wondering what Jennifer Lopez has to do with sailing, JWO and JLO stand for Junior Watch Officer and Junior Lab Officer. This final phase of our trip marks our taking on more responsibility and stepping into the roles we have watched our mates and scientists excellently perform. While our expert staff will still be there to correct mistakes before they ultimately occur, they will no longer direct us step by step, and they expect us to come up with a plan and execute it.


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