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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

February 21, 2018

A perfect day for sailing

Eliza Malakoff, A Watch, Carleton College


Bastian using some creativity to keep safe from the sun while learning to play some sweet tunes.

Ship's Log

Current Position
35° 02.263’S x 174° 44.280’E

Ship’s Heading & Speed
050, 8.4 knots

Mostly clear and sunny with some cumulus and altocumulus clouds (1/8). Winds out of WNW, force 5. Temperature 25°C.

Souls on board

After a thorough ship cleaning this morning, we hoisted several sails and, passing beautiful green hills and craggy basalt cliffs, entered the open ocean. The water slowly turned from the estuary's brown to a stunning clear blue as sheerwater and petrels - seafaring birds often seen far from coast - replaced orange-billed oystercatchers and cormorant-like shags. Now, the Bay of Islands is only a thin line on the horizon and the ship is bounding over waves and swells towards nearly two weeks of uninterrupted sailing.

We have been given perfect weather for this first day back at sea and enthusiasm is high - perhaps even higher than consternation about seasickness. The sky is blue, filled with light puffy Cumulus clouds, and the sharp New Zealand sun is bright. Guitar and ukulele music has lilted through the ship since we left, providing a fitting soundtrack to the beginning of this adventure. Even the ship herself seems excited, jumping through the ocean, occasionally sending sprays of saltwater to shower some unsuspecting soul on deck.

The rocking and rolling of the ship can be felt everywhere in our small quarters. Although at port it seems impossible that water will ever be close to the deck of the boat, out in the waves it seems quite natural to be buffeted up and down between the peaks and troughs. The rhythm is quite remarkable - somewhere between rocking in a hammock and the butterflies-in-the-stomach feeling of going over a steep hill in a car or dropping in an elevator quickly. Sometimes when the ship rocks, water sloshes into the portholes, swirling like a washing machine before the ship rolls back to the other side. This constant motion means everything that could slide must be fastened down: water bottles have designated bags and baskets, knives are placed beneath cutting boards and containers are lashed into place. Our dinner tables, on the other hand, are gimbaled, meaning that the surface of the table rotates to stay horizontal as the ship moves from side to side around it. While this motion provides quite a challenge to walking even short distances without stumbling, it is also lulling and a lovely way to fall asleep - which, certainly, we will need to be doing a great deal of over the next two weeks. Indeed, I too will soon be climbing into my bunk to catch a few hours of sleep before standing watch through the early morning.

- Eliza Malakoff, A Watch, Carleton College

Categories: Robert C. Seamans,The Global Ocean: New Zealand, • Topics: study abroad  s277 • (4) Comments
Previous entry: Update on Tropical Storm Gita    Next entry: We are on our way!


Leave a public comment for students and crew to read when they reach their next port and have access to the internet!

#1. Posted by Amy on February 21, 2018

I finally caught up on all the blog entries thus far. What a lucky group of people to be sharing this journey together! Glad you are feeling the rocking of the ship as a comfort and a companion. Here’s to music and sleep! Sending love!

#2. Posted by Richard C Byrne on February 22, 2018

Such a great description of first experience at sea. Wishing you all smooth sailing all the way!

#3. Posted by Kelly McKenna on February 23, 2018

Beautifully written, Eliza! For a moment on this dreary day in D.C., I can almost feel the rhythm of the boat…

#4. Posted by Randy Stafford on February 23, 2018

Sunny skies, 77 degrees Fahrenheit, and force 5 winds.  It doesn’t get much better than that for sailing.  Oh wait, yes it does - you’re on a tall ship off New Zealand!  So amazing!  Wish I could be there sailing with you!



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