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Current position of the SSV Robert C. Seamans. 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 Robert C. Seamans

May 01, 2016

3 Things I’ve Learned Aboard Seamans

Madelyn Cook, A Watch, Kenyon College

Ocean Exploration

Our floating home

Ship's Log

Noon Position
20° 00.5’ S x 149° 38.2’W

Description of location
240 nm from Raiatea!

Ship Heading
345° (psc)

Ship Speed
6 kts.


Weather/Wind/Sail Plan
Sailing on a starboard tack under the stays’ls and the tops’l

Souls on Board

Hello again from the SSV Robert C. Seamans, and happy May Day! Time sure has flown while at sea, and we are all excited to reach the many milestones of our cruise track which the month of May has in store. Knowing that we will soon be able to cast our eyes on the wonders of Raiatea, Moorea, and Tahiti (which I've heard are just lovely) has the ship in good spirits, and the students have been walking  around with a palpable sense of pride and excitement as rotations through the JWO and JLO responsibilities continue, giving everyone a chance to have control of the deck in 6 hour increments, which means giving the necessary commands and always abiding by the ship's standing orders to get ourselves where we need to go safely, happily, and responsibly. The weather has been great lately, with favorable southerly winds and seas, pushing us along on our voyage. The breeze has been warm enough that we can wear shorts on watch in the middle of the night and feel the wind warm on our skin, which is a welcome change from the many nights we stood watch in our long underwear!

I've been thinking a lot lately about how I wanted this blog to go and what sort of little message I wanted to send to the outside world to update everyone on life at sea, and I decided I would share with all of you three things which I have continually observed on this voyage, and now accept to be undeniably true.

Firstly, there is no color of ink, paint, pigment or anything else of the sort which could capture the color of the South Pacific. Though the ocean's color is constantly changing with cloud cover and time of day, I still cannot wrap my head around the deep blue hues of the ocean and how clear it is. I've spent a fair amount of time on the Atlantic Ocean, and let me tell you: the South Pacific is a whole different ball game. Even when the weather is dark and blustery there is an underlying blue tone which is unyielding. Being able to see the distinct dorsal and ventral coloration of a mother Fin whale and her calf far off the bow as the sunlight struck their bodies through the waves was breathtaking, and even watching our science equipment as it is deployed overboard go 40 m down before the sight is obscured is wild.

Secondly, there is no time keeper quite like your own hunger. I never thought I could get so used to an eating schedule in which I ate 3 full meals and 3 sizable snacks daily, but apparently it's not that hard when you're constantly flexing some part of your body to stay upright. Our appetites have all grown, and it's going to be so interesting to get back on land and see how we fare and if we all continue to get hungry at 1am. Additionally, it is amazing how much produce has made it with us thus far on our journey, and how SEA Semester has the perfect system for packing the ship and maximizing ways to keep everything fresh. Some of our mangoes aren't even ripe yet, and we just had fresh salad for lunch. After 31 days aboard Seamans with no means of restocking our produce, I have accepted our remaining fresh fruit and veggies as a feat of nature.

Thirdly, shooting stars is awesome. Having a sextant in hand at civil twilight and roaming the quarter deck with a hunger for the Southern Cross to reveal itself while the horizon is still visible is an exhilarating feeling! Once I've locked eyes on the Southern Cross I can expect to see Rigel Kent and Hadar, and once Orion's belt is visible, I can quickly orient myself to shoot Sirius and Canopus. I am no master of the nautical almanac, but after several hours of computations last night I plotted my position based on sights I got from Jupiter, Rigel K. and Canopus, and all my lines of position intersected in one place, giving me a very precise celestial fix. I went to bed after that feeling too excited to sleep. It's pretty amazing that you can figure out your position anywhere on the globe with just 3 celestial sights. I am so glad that SEA Semester continues to keep celestial navigation as a part of their curriculum.

For now, that's all I've got. It's Sunday and we have no class, so we are coming together for a May Day celebration on the quarter deck. Have a great day everybody!

- Madelyn

A couple of last minute notes to my people:
To all my family reading this, I love and miss you! I can't wait to share my many adventures with you! To Beatrice, happy birthday! I wish I could be with you to celebrate, I hope you had a perfect day! To James, I hope lacrosse and the end of senior year are going well! Keep it up, you're almost there! To Sean, good luck with graduation this week, how crazy! I miss you and will be thinking about you!

Categories: Robert C. Seamans,Ocean Exploration, • Topics: s265  sailing  celestial navigation  megafauna • (0) Comments
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