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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

November 02, 2014

Crafting + Science

Lauren Speare, B-Watch, UNC Chapel Hill


Above: This is Julia, the lovely and talented assistant of B-Watch (aka Best Watch), doing lab things. As you can see, she is just pleased as punch to be doing science! (She says "Hi Dad! Miss you!") Below: A haul of Velella velellas and Physalia physalias from the Neuston tow (Photo credit: Lauren Korth)

Ship's Log

Current Position
29° 46.5’S x 174° 07.6’E

Course and Speed
180° at 3.1kts

Sail Plan
Sailing downwind under full stack, mainstays’l and jib

Beautiful, cloudless skies. Light breeze and long gentle swells.

Crafting has taken over the Robert C. Seamans! In every gathering area students and staff can be seen sewing sail cloth, weaving turk’s heads, and scrambling to get the last palm (acts like a thimble for sail needles). Sleep has been sacrificed, one student (me) making the decision to have a 21 hour day instead of taking a crucial pre-watch nap. Some are quite creative and skilled, creating beautiful coin purses in no time at all, while others are less artistic and seek the advice and guidance of the Crafting Queen (Kristen). As we near New Zealand, sail cloth is running low and the crafting epidemic will come to an end.

In other news, science has yielded some incredible creatures in the past few deployments. In a recent Neuston tow, 25 Velella velellas (By the Wind Sailors) were caught and brought into the wet lab for further inspection. Feeding on the Velellas, which are siphonophore colonies, were little blue nudibranchs (sea slugs). In a meter net tow, which tows about 500m under the ocean’s surface, bright red shrimp, giant salps, and even a snipe eel were fetched from the deep. And of course we also found many small hatchet fish with bioluminescent bellies that luminesce in the dark! But the lab hasn’t been all fun and games; today the scientists presented a lab practical which tested our knowledge and skill in the lab. The questions ranged from how to properly set up our deployment equipment, to being able to identify different species of zooplankton under a microscope, to what such instruments such as CTD and ADCP stand for and do. Many students were pleasantly surprised with how much they actually know about all of this sophisticated scientific equipment and now feel prepared to dive into some analysis of our collected data and translate that into our oceanography projects.
We students have all gotten pretty comfortable on our big white sailing machine as of late and many of us are not quite ready to depart. However, the anticipation to reach Auckland, which has been building since many of us applied to this program, is intense. Personally, I would love to continue to sailing indefinitely. As I return to my bunk in the evening, I can’t help but think of how odd it will be to return to “normal” life in which alarm clocks exist and gimbaled tables don’t.

- Lauren

P.S. Sending so much love to my mom, dad, Scott, Kelly, and Parker. I miss you guys and I’m thinkin’ about you! Also, a special shout out to Parker and Kelly for signing me up for my spring semester classes; THIS IS YOUR
REMINDER! You guys are the best and please don’t give me any 8am’s!

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