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July 22, 2014

Anchored off The Island of the Sun

Michael S. Heard-Snow, C-Watch, Northeastern University


Today marks our third and last day amongst the I-Kiribati of the Phoenix Islands. The morning marked a last and intensive run of shore, snorkeling and science missions upon the island as well as in its beautiful lagoon. After a morning of snorkeling amongst the reef sharks that patrol and police the fish throughout the wreck of the President Taylor steam ship and Manta Rays that silently guard the lagoon entrance between the dredged channel of Spam Island and quiet remains of a long forgotten hotel on the opposing shore; the crew of the Seamans was given a most fond farewell not likely to be forgotten.

July 21, 2014

The Island of Kanton

Andrew Futerman, B-Watch, Oregon State University


The Robert C. Seamans has now spent two full days at anchor in this beautiful lagoon. The students and crew seem to be adjusting to island life really well. And how could they not? This island is simply magical. Everywhere you look this island is teeming with wildlife. Crabs scurry about like squirrels in North America. As you walk down the path and hear ascampering, it is likely a crab or one of the few pigs the local villagers own.

July 20, 2014

Gorgeous Ruins

David H. Livingstone, B Watch, University of Chicago


Kanton is gorgeous.  Today was characterized by the buzzing flurry of small boats continually buzzing to and from our ship, taxiing people to shore and taking scientists out on sea missions.  Everyone was roused good and early so that we could all make the most the day.  A and B watch left in the morning to explore the island.

Kanton itself is an astounding convergence of beautiful plants, birds, waters and invertebrates all cast against a shroud of haunting, gorgeous ruins.

July 19, 2014

Jumping In

Sneha Vissa, C-Watch Denison University


I woke up this morning and thought I felt the boat rock just enough to think that once again, we had failed to maintain the anchor and she had drifted. Thankfully, that was just a byproduct of my early morning grogginess and we were (and still are) anchored right outside Kanton island!

We have spent 3 weeks together aboard this ship and have been waiting for today to finally go ashore at Kanton and meet the thirty or so residents of the island.

July 18, 2014

Kanton: Population 35

Bredd Pratt, A Watch, San Francisco State University


Hello there land dwellers! Us seadogs have set eyes on the beautiful island of Kanton (or Canton) today, the only human inhabited island of all the Phoenix Islands. Population:35 Elevation: just a couple meters. We left our previous spot near Enderbury yesterday and sailed throughout the night to approach our new destination. We took our sweet time sailing so that we could deploy the Hydrocast, MOCNESS and do a neuston tow near an uncharted seamount.

July 16, 2014


Matt Hirsch, Third Assistant Scientist


It has been a long couple of weeks, but we finally heard the cry of “Land Ho!” as we approached the Island of Enderbury. There are about 10 palm trees on the island, some other vegetation, and a plethora of birds. While I was asleep this morning, the crew on watch dropped the anchor but it did not hold. On our second attempt to anchor in the afternoon we found a shallower location and paid out the anchor slowly rather than just letting it go.

July 15, 2014

Anticipating PIPA

Jan Witting, Chief Scientist


We crossed the equator on Sunday morning, the day we entered into PIPA. There is always a celebration of the event, crossing the line is a big thing for a sailor, for the first time in particular.  Of course around the ship nothing changes, the same trade winds push us along, the same waves stretch into the horizon.  Drawing lines into the high seas can seem like a funny business!

July 14, 2014

We made it to PIPA!

Rachel Greenough, B Watch, Second Mate, brand new shellback


We made it to PIPA!  After more than 1500 nautical miles, we motor-sailed into the Phoenix Islands Protected Area right on time at 2000 last night.  As we hove to in preparation for our first PIPA superstation, we were greeted by the passage of a squall and a truly spectacular moonrise. Since our first squall, B Watch has greeted weather phenomena with a round of the song game, in which we brainstorm and sing lyrics that feature a particularly relevant word (rain, sun, clouds…).

July 13, 2014

A Cookie Cutter Shark

Mary Engels, 2nd Assistant Scientist


Wow, what a day…  Late last night and during the wee hours of this morning the science lab kicked into gear and deployed our standard hydrocast to collect water sample from the deep.  After 1000m of wire out, the carousel came back aboard full of water and surprises.  While the hydrocast is normally a device for collecting water samples and CTD data, this particular morning, we collected another very special sample.

July 12, 2014

MOCHNESS + Pilot Whales

Mackenzie Haberman, A Watch, Chief Mate, Cheez-It-enthusiast


I’m not going to lie, today has been BUSY! Saturdays really are full of fun, learning and aquatic treats. Today started out for A Watch with a fast paced morning watch, sailing under all fore and aft sails up until our science station at 0900.  The much anticipated MOCNESS made its first foray into the depths for this trip with a 400 meter tow, cumulatively taking about two hours of towing time. Molly and Erik did some spot on steering, with over a mile of wire over the side.

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