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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

May 26, 2016

Bound for Rangiroa

Gabrielle Page, 2nd assistant scientist

Pacific Reef Expedition

Above: Tiputa pass and Rangiroa’s lagoon. Below: Maya and Andrew ready to survey the reef

Ship's Log

1900 Position
14° 58.6’ S x 147° 38.3’ W

At anchor inside the lagoon in Rangiroa

Weather / Seas
Winds SE x E, beaufort force 3, overcast skies, warm and humid. Seas SE x E 2ft

Souls on Board

Greetings from the Robert C. Seamans! As I am writing, the ship is sitting at anchor at Rangiroa atoll. After a successful sail from Tahiti which involved handling lines, sampling water and deploying oceanographic gear, we entered Rangiroa’s lagoon shortly after first light this morning through Tiputa pass. Rangiroa is a huge atoll, measuring over 40 nautical miles in length and 20 in width. Its lagoon is so vast one cannot see the end of it; some say we seem to have entered another ocean altogether. There are a few openings in the atoll - breaks that allow water to flow to and from the open ocean as well as ships like ours to enter.

As you can imagine, the tidal currents through these passes are extremely strong, so much so that anything less than 3 knots is denoted as “weak” around here. For that reason, there was a very specific time window we wanted to enter Tiputa pass to take advantage of the weakest currents of the tidal cycle. Thanks to the skillful conning of the ship by our captain and the work of everyone on deck, we pulled it off magnificently.

Once safely inside the lagoon, we used the afternoon to gather as a ship’s company and discuss our game plan for tomorrow’s reef surveys. Using whiteboards and walkthroughs, quadrats and transect tapes, students from the Coral, Fish and Invertebrate teams got their hands on the gear and reviewed the techniques they will be using on the reef tomorrow. After this “dry run” on the ship’s quarterdeck, everyone put on their mask, snorkel and fins and proceeded to the water. There, they got a chance to familiarize themselves with their snorkel gear, safety tips and techniques and the various pieces of equipment they will be handling for the reef surveys. We did not observe any reef fish during this blue water experience but did get to visit with a remora swimming by.

During the evening we heard Kelley Tagarino, our visiting scientist who is a Sea Grant extension agent through the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She is based at the American Samoa Community College where she supports their aquaculture and marine science programs. Kelley told us about her reef work in Samoa and the fascinating results of studies in Pago Pago. Excitement is running high and we cannot wait to start our very first reef surveys of the trip tomorrow. Wishing you all well on land,

- Gabrielle

PS: Hi Pages, hope you’re doing well! Good luck packing all these boxes!

Categories: Robert C. Seamans,Pacific Reef Expedition, • Topics: s267  port stops  polynesia.  research • (0) Comments
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