Ready for an adventure with a purpose? Request info »
  • Search SEA Semester, Summer and High School Programs
  • View SEA Semester campus visit calendar

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

April 02, 2017

Birds, Beets, Bioluminescent Dolphins

Sammi Chaves, A Watch, Wheaton College

Ocean Exploration

Birds Galore

Ship's Log

Noon Position
43° 59.2’ S x 178° 21.1’E

Ship Heading
089° True

Ship Speed
4 knots


Weather/ Wind/ Sail Plan
Clouds – Transitioning from altostratus earlier in the day to types of cumulus clouds and cirrus clouds later in the day. Cirrus clouds were recorded most recently in the log. Varying cloud cover throughout the day. Currently 5 on the Beaufort scale. North & Northwest winds.

Stays’ls & Jib.

Souls on Board

Okay, so I don’t think we’ve actually had any beets while on board the ship yet, but I thought this title was pretty clever. Today is not my scheduled time to blog but the Sunday slots are open for anyone to sign up! After this afternoon’s bird extravaganza, it became a perfect opportunity share some photos and write about it! It comes to no surprise that I would talk about seeing birds in my first post!

Today was an exciting day bird-wise because while the ship was stopped to conduct deployments on the lab deck, a large number of birds surrounded the aft port side of the ship. Our first mate, Scott shared some of the species we believe were out there with me! Scott and I have been so busy that we haven’t even had much time to talk about our mutual love for birds yet! Luckily, we are on the same watch so hopefully we can find the time to do so in the coming weeks! Some of the birds we believe were out there were: Northern Royal Albatross, Southern Royal Albatross, Sooty Shearwater, White-Chinned Petrel, Salvin’s Mollymawk, Giant Petrel, and a Storm Petrel species. I was excited to be able to grab my camera while we had a little break during the deployments and photograph some of the birds! It was estimated that there were about 400 birds out there.

Backing up a little bit to reflect on the trip so far… During my first “official” watch on the 31st from 1900-0100, I took the first lookout shift on the bow! One of the highlights of this lookout was seeing a pod of dolphins off the starboard side of the ship. This was a great way to kick off leaving Lyttelton. As the night went on, as mentioned in an earlier blog post, there were dolphins swimming alongside and around the boat! They stirred up the bioluminescence which was a beautiful sight! For any Harry Potter fans, it reminded me of the scene in the room of requirement when everyone in Dumbledore’s Army is practicing their patronus and all the animals are flying up in the air with a trail of light behind them. It looked just like that but if everyone had a dolphin patronus! This sight is something I hope I will never forget.

Adjusting to the watch shifts has made it feel like we have been on this ship for ages. Each watch has been filled with so many different tasks and new things to learn. This has been great but also challenging because of all the details we need to remember. Yesterday, I was assigned to be in the engine room during my afternoon watch shift. During this time I did a few different things including help Nate and Savio change the oil in one of the generators!

Before I sign off, I would like to take a quick moment to wish Sophia’s Oma a happy belated birthday as she isn’t scheduled to blog for a little while longer!

Sending lots of love to my family and friends back home! The food is so good! I have only been sick once so far (knock on wood). The views are even more incredible than I could have ever imagined! I am trying my best to take everything day by day, not stress too much about what I don’t know yet, and enjoy this experience in its entirety!

I’ll be writing another post in a few weeks! Until then, Happy April!

- Sammi

Categories: Robert C. Seamans,Ocean Exploration, • Topics: s272  megafauna  life at sea • (3) Comments
Previous entry: Settling in at Sea    Next entry: The Third Day: A Poem


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 Gretchen Young on April 03, 2017

Greetings from Wheaton Sammi!  Loved reading your post.  I’m recalling my few days out at sea with SEA both fondly and with a bit of a queasy feeling in my stomach!  Glad you’re adjusting well and making the most of the adventure.

Dean Young

#2. Posted by Lanny on April 03, 2017

So thrilled that you are there, absorbing new experience after new experience, and then writing us about it!

#3. Posted by Ernie chaves on April 09, 2017

Very happy to read your post. we hope you are well. Love you. Dad



Add a comment:

Notify me of follow-­up comments?

I would like SEA to keep me informed about news and opportunities.