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Sea Education Association | SEA Currents

SEA Currents: Protecting the Phoenix Islands



Kate Benson, A-Watch, Stetson University
Protecting the Phoenix Islands

I do not get homesick.

I was raised to be independent. My younger brother and I were given every opportunity to flex our self-reliance. From very early ages, we were encouraged to follow our passions and seek out new experiences-no matter how far from home they took us. We didn’t have to worry or fret; we were secure in the knowledge that our parents were at home, patiently waiting for us to return to them.

Jared Rose, B Watch, Skidmore College
Protecting the Phoenix Islands

Today marks our second day docked at Kanton, and it has been an eventful one. The morning started off for my watch, B Watch, tending to the Robert C. Seamans as we were tasked with helping reposition the fenders, which protect our ship from crashing into the dock. After completing this task, we then helped to prepare the gift our crew was to give the people of Kanton during tonight’s potluck dinner.

Buster Coe, A watch, Oberlin College
Protecting the Phoenix Islands

Today was our first day ashore in Kanton. We spent the day snorkeling, doing chores around the boat, doing school work, and exploring the island. My watch, A watch, got to go snorkeling an do work/chores today, we’ll get to explore the island tomorrow.

The day started with a brief all hands meeting on the quarter deck with a briefing of the day’s festivities

SEA Semester

SEA Semester in the News
URI students sail to remote Pacific islands to study effect of climate change on coral reefs
URI Today

Two University of Rhode Island students are sailing to remote islands in the Pacific Ocean to study any damage to coral reefs from climate change.

Hailey Simpson, of Rochester, N.Y., who has her B.S. in Ocean Engineering and is earning her master’s degree in Oceanography, and Kyle Alvanas, of Portsmouth, who will graduate next year with a degree in marine affairs, are among 24 students from American colleges conducting research in this largely under-studied region.

Simpson and Alvanas are making the voyage with Sea Education Association, or SEA Semester, an internationally recognized program that combines classroom learning on shore at Woods Hole, Mass., with study aboard a research vessel.

Read the full story.

Candela Guo, C Watch, Barnard College
Protecting the Phoenix Islands

Today was a special day for the SSV Robert C. Seamans and everyone on board, as we finally made it through our nine-day sail from Pago Pago, American Samoa to Kanton Island, Republic of Kiribati. Each day the temperature gets higher and higher as we approach the equator, but our spirits remain high, especially after we passed by Enderbury Island yesterday. I had never seen a coral atoll island before, and it reminded me of many fiction stories I’ve read about surviving on a deserted island, which was a little weird since Enderbury Island looked so calm and pretty.

Devin Kuhn, C Watch, American University
Protecting the Phoenix Islands

It has officially been a week since we set sail from American Samoa! C watch was the first standing watch to sail the SSV Robert C. Seamans. The first night was rough as most of my watch got sea sick (I still haven’t gotten sea sick), so there was a lot to do for a small amount of people. Fast forward to a few days ago, my watch was back on their feet and feeling great! All of us have experienced the wonders of the lab and how to use all the equipment, which process the samples we take out of the water.



Kate Suchanec, C Watch, Pennsylvania State University
Protecting the Phoenix Islands

Hello from PIPA!!! (Mom, I’m alive) This is the official first blog post from the SSV Robert C. Seamans in PIPA waters, which was basically the whole goal of this voyage, so it’s a pretty big deal that we FINALLY made it.

Anyway, the theme of this blog is FIRSTS! As we officially wrapped up our first week at sea, today at approximately 1400, I have a few firsts I want to look back on.

Maddi Boettner, B-Watch, Boston College
Protecting the Phoenix Islands

Hello from the lifeboat! Obviously kidding, there are no computers on a life boat. In all seriousness, we are still aboard the SSV Robert C. Seamans, and we are all safe. On the starboard side (right) there is the ocean and, I bet you can guess, on the port side (left) is also the ocean. We are still sailing north in the EEZ of Kiribati, and we have set the two square sails rendering us a more refined version of The Black Pearl. In two days we will hopefully be in the presence of land.

William Moreno, A Watch, University of Richmond
Protecting the Phoenix Islands

According to Captain Nolan, every sea-story should begin with “There I was….”

There I was…standing on the starboard edge of the quarterdeck, I was overtaken by a surging feeling of immense smallness looking out at the ocean at night, surrounded on all sides by the huge expanse of the central Pacific with a magnificent tapestry of stars.

Mark “Snark” Waddington, B-watch, Second Mate
Protecting the Phoenix Islands

A very wise friend once gave me this advice (I think we were talking about chairs):  “You’ve got to know when to hold them, know when to fold them. Know when to walk away, and know when to run.” He was trying to wax philosophically about how chairs were like life in general. Now it’s my turn.

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