SEA Currents: Sustainability in Polynesian Island Cultures & Ecosystems
After a great night at anchor and science poster presentations, B Watch got the Seamans back underway and making way to Auckland. After several watches of no science deployments and minimal sail handling, this watch was jam packed. Hannah, the first JWO, got the stays’ls and jib set and called setting and striking the tops’l several times with all of our different course changes. Sarah, the second JWO, got the mains’l set and worked to ensure that we were making our waypoints
Today was the first day we were able to set eyes on land after 10 days, and it was miraculous. Despite the incredible calculations and the spirit of B-watch, they were not the first to see New Zealand; Rather, it was C-watch, with Graeme giving the loudest “Land-Ho!!” he could as he was the first to see it.
It continued to be an exciting day as we got closer to land.
I welcomed in the month of November from the floor of the lab where we were busy organizing nitrate bottles. Not only were the samples rolling about, but so were we in the red lights of our headlamps. The 12-foot swells made me feel as though I was in a Pilates class trying to keep from uncontrollably slamming into the people, tables, poles and walls around me. By the time we were relieved by A-watch at 0100, I was ready to sleep.
It was a busy, fun-filled day aboard Mama Seamans today, mostly because it’s Halloween! Although most of us here, having not showered for a few days (guilty), could have passed for the stinkiest of ghouls and goblins, we mustered up all the creativity we had and produced some pretty clever costumes to celebrate the occasion. Some of my favorites were Claire and Sarah’s use of their foulies to become a farmer and Zero from Holes, respectively.
It’s been quite an adventurous few days. There’s no shortage of wind or swell, or rain or dampness, and certainly no shortage of laughter and smiles.
Today marks one of my favorite days of the voyage. The students have earned the opportunity to stand as junior watch officers (J-Wo) and junior lab officers (J-Lo) under their mate and scientist. This means the J-Wo and J-Lo are working together to ensure that the routine tasks of the watch, sail handling, ship maneuvers, and science deployments are completed.
We have been deploying a hydrophone each morning during our science station to hopefully pick up on whale song along our cruise track. Humpback whales breed and calve in Tongan waters each year and we’ve seen them blow, breach, and flap around periodically.
One question we’ve faced while listening to the hydrophone is, what noises are generated from the boat and what sounds are actually from the whales?
Today, during our hydrophone, the science team was able to isolate vessel noises thanks to support from Ted and Mike, our engineers on board.
Back in Woods Hole our captain, Jay, had told us that we will make a ton of mistakes which is encouraged, but the key is to not make the same one twice. Today was our 30th day on the ship and I’m still managing to make a million mistakes a day. Each watch holds a new challenge and with it a plethora of ways to screw it up. However today for C watch was a rather successful day. We all rolled out of bed just before noon after a very strange evening watch.
Today marks one month since my shipmates and I boarded the ship in American Samoa. In many ways the time aboard has flown, yet Pago Pago seems like ages ago. The boat has definitely become my home in these short 30 days. It’s tough to imagine taking a shower everyday, sleeping in a perfectly still bed, or being awakened by an alarm. Ship life is my new normal, and I kind of dig it.
Join Ben Harden, Chief Scientist, and Jay Amster, Captain, as they stroll the deck listening to students learning their lines. This is a critical step towards being able to set and strike sails, even in the dark. We end with a tradition onboard: the line chase!
There’s a handful of thoughts the novice sailor finds themselves pondering every day. How much sleep could I get if I fell asleep right now? God, it’s hot/wet/smelly. What’s for snack? I can’t believe I’m doing this right now. It’s that last one that I found myself thinking a lot today.
Today was our weekly field day, which for A Watch meant the beloved galley cleansing.