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SEA Currents: SSV Robert C. Seamans
October 30, 2018
An Introduction to Sea Legs
31° 12.181’S x 174° 25.580’E
Ship’s Heading & Speed
155 psc, Full and Bye, 5.1kn
Wind SWxS Force 5, Clouds 7/8 Cu, 17.5C
First thing's first, I would like to wish Happy Birthday to my dad! Another S.E.A. alum and the only reason I ever thought to do SEA Semester. As I am now back as a deck intern, it has clearly influenced me for the better. Thank you Dad, I love you, Happy Birthday.
Now, onto the news! This morning my watch, C-watch, had dawn watch. One of the less coveted watches, dawn watch is generally dreaded because you have to get out of bed at 0030 and go up and stand watch. Especially these days when most wakeups are accompanied by "It's really cold and windy. Wear lots of layers." Not exactly what you want to hear before you stand a six-hour watch. But I don't always mind dawn watches. It is just you, your watch, and (on a good night) the stars. Plus, you get to see the sunrise! This morning at the end of our watch we spotted some weather on the horizon. Captain Jay took one look at it and goes, "Alright, let's set the tris'l". A new sail! The tris'l is essentially a smaller version of the mains'l that is often set in rougher conditions when you want more sail but don't want to risk having your main up in a squall. The mains'l halyard was repurposed to work as the tris'l halyard and pulley blocks were set up for the sheets of the sail (two lines on the aft corner of the sail to help move it from side to side when set). It was exciting to see a new sail set on our beautiful ship!
Another reason we set the tris'l today instead of the mains'l was because we are experiencing some pretty large swells (and didn't want the main boom to be potentially swinging around with the motion). In light of this I have decided to talk about "sea legs". Specifically the different types of sea legs. In the first couple days or weeks out at sea, most of us generally resembled blindfolded toddlers with full diapers, waddling around the ship, desperately trying not to be flung into or from various surfaces around the ship. These days, most of us have settled into our own styles of moving about the ship. So settle in for your course, "An Introduction to Sea Legs".
1. The Starfish: The Starfish walks around with their arms and legs spread wide apart in order to walk around our ship. While this is not the most graceful method of walking, often resulting in a sort of flat-footed stomping (and not the ninja-like movement we are meant to emulate on the ship), it is one of the more stable forms of transport. With legs splayed apart you have a wider center of gravity, which also sets you up nicely for The Side Squat, which is essentially a side lunge on an uphill slope any time the ship decides to take particularly large roll.
2. The Jungle Gymnast: This person was probably a pro on the childhood jungle gym, or is potentially a full-time rock climber in their other life. The Jungle Gymnast has mastered passing themselves from handhold to handhold throughout the ship. Whether it is a strategically placed handrail, a door frame, or even a slight curvature in the wall, this person can grab it to anchor themselves for every step around our fair vessel, whether it is above-decks or below.
3. The Casual Lean: The Casual Lean is a personal favorite method and is pretty simply achieved: just find a stable surface, and park your hip against it. Whether moving along a companionway sliding your hip across a wall, or attempting to have a conversation with someone without being flung across the room every 20 seconds, The Casual Lean is for you. Nothing hip level? That's okay, The Casual Lean also comes in The Casual Knee, in which you calmly dig your knee into a surface and use it to balance yourself for dear life.
4. The Michael Jackson: The Michael Jackson is not necessarily a method of walking, and yet deserves mentioning, either way. The Michael Jackson is a way of standing still on the deck of the ship, and remaining upright. This may not seem like a feat, but remaining perpendicular often means leaning at an angle to the tilting ship. Thus, The Michael Jackson. The stance is achieved by having your feet flat on the sole, or floor, and maintaining your balance and upright position while the sole and world tilt around you. Many have tried this feat, and many have failed, resulting in a Casual Lean situation, or even "deciding" to sit down on the closest horizontal surface. Remember, it's not sitting, it's more of a "heavy lean."
5. The Weaver: The Weaver is a form of sea legs that many aspire to but few achieve. This person is a pro, a legend, an idol. The Weaver simply walks around the ship, but manages to compensate for the uneven and constantly moving terrain by merely changing the angle at which they are walking. Put them on a flat, stable surface, and they would be zig-zagging all over the place, but on a ship, they seem to be achieving the impossible, walking on a straight course without being flung into the abyss. Generally, this form of walking is only achieved by the professional crew, and is only for us mere mortals to dream of.
So there you have it, folks. While there are many ways to get around the ship, most of us rely on these beloved classics, or a combination of the aforementioned. Although many of us still revert to the Blindfolded Toddler look and The Starfish in true times of need, those of us who are new to sea legs have also started to develop more finessed ways of moving about as we draw closer to the end of our journey. And as we continue in our JWO phase, we may not achieve The Michael Jackson or The Weaver, but we are still sure to learn a heck of a lot in days to come.
- Charlotte Lynch, Deck Intern