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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 19, 2017

A Birthday at Sea

Austin Sun, C Watch, Colgate University

The Global Ocean

Sunrise at Dawn Watch

Ship's Log

Current Position
35° 41.042’ E x 174° 49.100’ S

Ship’s Heading & Speed
5.4°, 2.7 knots

Calm seas and a bright sunny day

Souls on Board

As a photographer, I try capturing what I think is beautiful in my pictures. I’ve been lucky enough to photograph amazing places such as the deserts of Arizona to the snowy peaks of Niseko, Japan. At these amazing places, I’ve always been able to capture beautiful moments in some way. A waterfall. A sunrise. The milky way. The possibilities are endless. Coming on the Robert C. Seamans, I thought that I would be able share the beautiful moments on board with photography. As I learned this morning at dawn watch, some moments you can’t capture with a camera…

This morning, C watch had the infamous dawn watch. Dawn watch starts at 0100 and ends at 0700. That is, when everybody else on the boat is sleeping. Kristina came around and woke C watch up at 0030. She whispered the temperature and weather conditions. As I climbed my way out of my bunk, I threw on my harness and got ready for watch. I climbed through the doghouse and onto the quarterdeck where the moonlight lit up the boat deck. Through the clouds I could see the milky way hiding from us. Madeline whispered “happy birthday!” to me as we all mustered for our watch. Even though I was still half asleep, I was excited to spend my birthday morning on dawn watch.

It was a surreal expeience sailing through the night under the stars and moon. My favorite part of this dawn watch came while I was at bow lookout. As I gazed off to the horizon and at the stars, I heard a splash below me. I peeked my head over the boat and saw the faint glowing outline of five or so dolphins swimming below me. The blue green bioluminescent glow of microscopic organisms lit up the dolphins playing alongside the Robert C. Seamans. As the dolphins moved, they flashed with trailing specks of green. The dolphins sparked in the moonlight, their trails glowing bright then fading out. Occasionally as they jumped their splash triggered even more colors in the night. I knew that even if I had my camera, I wouldn’t be able to capture this moment. It was too dark, the ship was moving, the dolphins were moving, etc. So instead of worrying about capturing the moment, I lived in it and watched the dolphins play and glow during my bow watch.

We finished up watch as the sun rose out of the sky. Just the night before, I saw the sunset into the horizon. While the sun rises and sets everyday, life on land gets busy and we tend to miss beautiful moments like these.

While many people may have hazy memories of their 21st birthday, I will always remember sitting on the bow watching the faint sparkingly glow of the dolphins swim beneath me. I will also always remember the pink rice krispy treats  Sabrina made for my birthday (thanks again!). I have the rest of my life to spend birthdays on land. Spending time at sea with friends aboard the Seamans has been the perfect birthday so far.

- Austin

P.S. To all my friends and family back home, I miss you all.

Categories: Robert C. Seamans,The Global Ocean: New Zealand, • Topics: s271  megafauna  life at sea • (0) Comments


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