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Current position of the SSV Corwith Cramer. Click on the vessel to view position history. Use the tools, top right, to change the map style or view data layers. Dates and times use GMT (Greenwich Mean Time).

SEA Currents: SSV Corwith Cramer

July 04, 2014

4th of July at Sea

Andrew Futerman, B Watch, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences, Oregon State University

The first fish caught of the voyage! Here Andrew stands proud with the Wahoo he hauled in. For those fish lovers out there: not to worry, not an ounce of this wahoo, caught using a hand line, will go to waste! The head, brains and guts will be taken to the science lab for analysis while a tissue sample will be freeze-dried and analyzed back on shore. The meat will be made in delicious fish tacos by our wonderful steward, Nina, and the tail will be hung proud from the bow to wish us luck in future catches.

Ship's Log

16° 35.7' N  x 159° 45.0' W

Course Ordered
208° True

Course Steered
208° True

5.2 Knots

Force 4 from the SxE

Both Staysails and the Topsail. Recently struck the Mainsail and the Fishermen's

6-8 ft., swelling up to 10 ft.


Today is July 4th, the day the United States of America celebrates her independence from Britain. Similarly, the Robert C. Seamans is celebrating an independence today, and her crew are glad to help with some festivities (string-poppers and apple pie, yum!) For today, the Seamans and her crew are finally independent from the shadow of Hawai'i and into the mighty Pacific Ocean. We have left the wind shadow felt from the Islands behind and are feeling the true force of the Pacific at long last. As such, sails have been tight and full all day long. Ship's speed has increased, the main engines have been turned off and the students are feeling the renewed vigor of seasickness. For with this mighty Pacific also come the mighty swells of the Pacific. Not to worry though, we are all handling it fine. Moral on board is excellent as we embrace the journey we have all recently embarked upon and look forward to what the future may bring.

The future is a funny term, for the future is simultaneously 30 seconds from now, 30 days from now and 30 years from now. What will the future bring, for us, for the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA), for the entire planet? We are currently traveling to an extremely remote and barely inhabited group of Islands to determine what they can really mean for us. Are the Phoenix Islands an example of a “pristine ocean” as Dr. Greg Stone believes? Are the Phoenix Islands going to support ocean services, fish abundance and the overall health of the world's oceans? The future is completely up in the air right now, for both us and this remarkable area. Ecotourism is being considered as one of the management strategies for PIPA. Managers feel that bring tourist to this area, as long as it is done so in an appropriate manner, will help to increase awareness and funding potential for the PIPA trust. Essentially, they are hoping that by increasing public access to a place where none of the public has been before, they will also increase the tax revenue, licenses fees and other dollars brought into PIPA. In order to help develop PIPA into an ecotourism destination, the Kiribati government has developed the Kiribati National Tourism Action Plan.

So, what could ecotourism mean for PIPA? Well for starters, what would draw a crowd into this extremely remote area, which could cost a lot of time and money to even consider getting to? PIPA is host to some world class diving and numerous pristine coral reef areas. PIPA as a destination dive site is top notch. PIPA is also home to many different species of pelagic and reef fishes. With ecotourism, may also come recreational fishing. This is what I plan to investigate while I am in PIPA. Can this area support a recreational fishery and how can it be managed to remain sustainable and low impact? It seems sort of different; setting up a recreational fishery in a protected area which just banned commercial fishing. However, it is important to look at this as a potential source of income for the Kiribati government and PIPA managers. Could this be one tool on the path to the success of PIPA? I certainly intend to find out.

With that, it is time to hit my rack and get some much needed sleep before my next watch. Stay tuned, enjoy our blogs, ask questions, find answers and love PIPA as much as we do and as much as the world should. From the middle of the Pacific Ocean, cheers and goodnight!

- Andrew

Categories: Robert C. Seamans,Protecting the Phoenix Islands, • Topics: s254 • (0) Comments


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