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SEA Currents: SSV Robert C. Seamans

November 21, 2015

Bobbin’ N Weavin’ Aboard the Bobby C. Seamans

Faye Hubregsen, A-Watch, Boston College

The Global Ocean: New Zealand

Charismatic Megafauna

Ship's Log

35° 41.7’S x 176° 30.4’E

The South Pacific Ocean

Partly Cloudy

Souls on Board

To all Family, Friends, SEA Alumni, Prospective SEA Students, Land-lovers and Matees Back Home:
Hello from the Southern Hemisphere!  It's day three sailing aboard Mama Seamans and we have quickly learned that foul weather makes for a tight ship.  Plus, our fearless Captain Burke reminds us that learning on the job in these adverse weather conditions will help us develop non-shortcutting habits early on.  We passed through the Hauraki Gulf yesterday and after a night hove-to, we are now 46.5 nautical miles Northeast by East of the Great Barrier Islands bound for the Bay of Islands where we arrive right in time for Thanksgiving!  With no contact to the world beyond the Robert C. Seamans, I've had to rack my brain for what tidbits might interest all of you thousands of miles away.  Life on deck can only be described as the most unique large-scale bob n' weave operation we have ever witnessed as the 33 of us aboard the Seamans settle into our habitat. 

Full foul weather gear on both day and night watches have been the name of the game due to recurrent rain and an average apparent wind speed and average temperature over the past three days of 22 knots and 55 degrees Fahrenheit respectively.  Today we spotted the illusive charismatic megafauna that we have so eagerly awaited - the common dolphin!  No doubt the whales linger in close proximity, but the many white-capped waves make it difficult for sightings.  We have seen our fair share of phantom whales whether or not it's the 8 foot waves or the seasickness meds talking, we may never know. 

Like all great sailors cruising through a low pressure system (that clears out tomorrow for fairer weather ?), we are regularly feeding the fishies and lucky for them, our steward Beck's BBQ Chicken, Mac N Cheese, Stir-Fry, Steak, and even delicious cupcakes for Kate's birthday have all been on the menu.  I'm yet to know first-hand, but apparently Beck's grub tastes even better the second time around.

Otherwise, we are adjusting quickly to life aboard Mama Seamans and familiarizing ourselves with her many peccadillos.  She is both our baby and our guardian. In a word, Seamans is our ichiban.  When not being lulled to sleep by the combination of her rocking and the seasick meds (that are really effective I might add), S-263 has been hard at work tackling the steep learning curve.  Color us curious as we have the time of our lives charting our location, learning the sails and lines, taking relative bearings, conducting regular engine room checks, and collecting depth, chl-a, and weather data in the lab.  The phosphorescent jelly-fish on last night's watch were merely icing on the cake! 

Already, there are countless moments like crawling out on the bow-sprit to remove the sail covers, when mid-task a voice inside us can't help but cry out, "We've never done anything this cool!"  One particular moment when Sarah and I were hauling on the jib sheet to prepare to tack the ship, waves came crashing over the side of the boat putting to test the waterproof seal of our galoshes.  We quickly clipped in our harnesses to the ship, unsure if the next big wave would bump us over the edge, all the while grinning ear-to-ear thinking to ourselves, "this is as good as it gets!"

Every waking moment is truly an adventure.  From Lucy saving dishware from crashing on the floor while trying to set the gimbaled dinner tables sacrificing her "bum bum" instead (YouTube "Scarlett Takes a Tumble" for a comparable rendition) to playing Tetris with the galley mats to the oh-so invigorating kelp clump sightings, we will continue to save one hand for the ship and one for the back of our shipmate's harness so that loved ones can sleep soundly back home as we continue our voyage.

Also, I must take this opportunity to once again thank the Childs' Family for introducing me to the SEA family.  It cannot be said enough: you guys are the reason I'm here!

Fair Winds,

Categories: Robert C. Seamans,The Global Ocean: New Zealand, • Topics: s263  megafauna  life at sea • (1) Comments
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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 Jocelyn on November 23, 2015

Dear Faye, Julianna, Maya, Travis, Nick, Emma, Andy and all of the crew of S-263,

Your posts are fabulous but I cannot suppress tears as I read them. It has been 36 years since my SEA cruise (W-46) and at the mention of an SEA vessel the emotions still well up. Your descriptions and humor bring it all back. As I read the first 6 posts, I could feel the motion of the ship; I could smell the bananas swinging in the fo’c’s’le; I could see the plates flying after someone accidentally leaned on the gimbaled table; and I could still hear the laughter as we used humor to cope with the mundane tasks of collecting hair balls in the drains on dawn watch. And then,...reality hit as I sat at my computer in a landlocked state. Sigh…

Thank you all for your beautiful posts and thanks for making me laugh and cry. Keep it up…




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