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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

April 04, 2014

Community Building

Sam Eley, C Watch, Bowdoin College


C watch shoots a morning sun line (Beau, Jerelle, Kate, Nikesh and Sam).

Ship's Log

Current Position
10° 01.8’ S x 143° 33.4’ W

Course & Speed
NxE at 2.4 kts

Sail Plan
Sailing under the 4 lowers (mains’l, mainstays’l, forestays’l, jib) and the jib topsail

Scattered cumulus and altostratus clouds, mostly sunny. No squalls yet today!

SE, 20 kts. Seas: 4-5 ft, ESE.

Ahoy from the Robert C. Seamans!

It’s been just over 5 days since the last palm tree on Rangiroa faded from sight in an approaching squall and we’ve seen no land since. We’re now dancing over swells nearly 400 nautical miles as the albatross flies from Rangiroa and have over 200 nautical miles to go to Nuku Hiva! With distances measured in hundreds of miles and travel time measured in days, it’s so important for our little community aboard the Seamans to live and work cohesively together all of the time.

Back on land, it is really nice to feel like I’m a part of a happy, functioning community, be it at home or at Bowdoin. At sea, having a happy, functioning community is not only really nice, it’s absolutely crucial for the safe passage of the ship between landfalls that are 8 or 16 days apart. In Woods Hole, I was amazed at how well our group got along and worked together through homework, cooking and cleaning. Since we joined the Seamans in Pape’ete, that community has only become tighter, more cohesive. We incorporated our Watch Officers, Captain, Assistant Scientists, Engineers and Steward into the group, and selflessly helped Lily adjust to life aboard after her arrival in Rangiroa.

I think there are a huge number of factors that have helped glue our community together here since March 22, so I asked the members of S252 what things they think have helped build our world aboard the ship. Here are some of their thoughts:

Living in remarkably close quarters.
Eating meals together.
Class time (usually the only time of day when everyone is awake!).
Waking classmates up for their watch.
Cleaning the ship, i.e. “gettin’ down and dirty on the soles (floors).”
Cleaning the galley mats (which requires dragging the mats up on deck, scrubbing them, and then dragging them back below decks, all in the middle of the night and usually in rolling seas).
Striking and furling sails in the sudden wind and driving rain of a tropical squall.
Checking in on classmates when they’re seasick or homesick or just exhausted.
Braiding hair.
Watching Scorpio slowly chase Orion across the brilliant night sky.
Being awake at any and all hours of the day/night.
Music jam sessions on the foredeck (where you can usually find Nikesh, Ed and Jay shredding their acoustic guitars).

On top of all of these, we feel that our trust in each other and our sense of a common purpose bind S252’s community together in a uniquely powerful way. We go to sleep peacefully each night with our safety and the ship’s safety in the hands of our classmates. Placing that kind of trust on each other has added immensely to the sense of community we began building in early February. And our common interest in studying the ocean, learning the art of seamanship, and exploring a new way of life in a new part of the world has only added more glue and duct tape and other sticky things to this tight little group bobbing around out in the middle of the South Pacific. I can’t wait to see what happens in the next four weeks.

To Mama, Papa, Benny, Nana, Dorrie and Marina, I’m alive and thriving out here! I miss you all tons. I can’t wait to tell you everything about this new adventure in a couple weeks! I wonder if any of the postcards have made it all the way to Maine…

- Sam

Categories: Robert C. Seamans,Oceans & Climate, • Topics: s252  celestial navigation • (0) Comments
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