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
October 02, 2015
Do the Jive
13° 49.6’S, 171° 45.7’W
Alongside in Apia, Samoa. In Port for 4 More Days before heading to Wallis
Clear skies, light breeze from SE, calm surf, 26° C.
We are officially underway in our voyage! We stopped in Samoa today around 1400 after sailing throughout the night. The sail here was full of excitement and activity, so arriving into Apia port came much quicker than expected. We left American Samoa with the winds at our back and sailed with five sails set for most of the journey. I’m amazed at how much I’ve been able to learn in just over 24 hours. “Ready at the mainstaysail halyard” actually means something to me, rather than just shouting what the mate tells me to.
My Watch had the first dawn watch (from 0300 to 0700). I’m not going to sugarcoat it and pretend like waking up in the middle of the night was enjoyable, because it was far from it. Once we got onto deck, however, and felt the cool winds and the bright moonlight, I was plenty awake. I was on lab duty this shift, and we processed some of the surface biomass collected by the previous watch. We also got to do some sail handling and jivin’, AKA when you somewhat gracefully shift the sail from port to starboard or starboard to port.
One of the biggest surprises to me on this trip is the amount of responsibility the students are given. In the middle of the shift, we were asked to set the jib, which is in the very front of the boat. Coleman and I clipped our harnesses onto the safety line that leads out to the bow and cast loose all of the sail ties holding the jib down. This had me in hyper-caution mode, which is saying something coming from a climber. Basically, we had to walk across a net in the pitch black and lean against the sail while trying not to let our feet slip through the holes and untie the sail every few feet, all while the bow of the boat is raising and falling, bringing us near to the rough, white capped waves and then raising us up to safety. It was wild, to say the least.
The waves have been quite impressive thus far. It’s an experience that nothing, including speed boats, roller coasters, or cruise ships could prepare me for. I feel like an old woman walking across the deck, trying to hold on while the boat is whipping me from side to side. It’s actually hilarious to me. Lying in bed after watch, trying to get a few hours of shut-eye, and we hit a massive wave that rocks everything in the boat. Here it comes, I thought. Sure enough, I hear things in other bunks, in the galley, and in the lab all go flying the opposite direction. In the galley, it’s obviously important that our food isn’t violently moving while we’re trying to eat it, so we have these special tables that are designed to stay level, even while the surroundings are moving. It’s like a funhouse watching everyone eat. From my perspective, everyone stays level, while the table is literally rocking into peoples’ laps. I can’t help but laugh to myself about this whole experience. I’m so overwhelmed because it all seems so surreal. To be able to sail this beautiful boat in a part of the world that only a select few have been able to visit, to watch whales breach and sunsets and rainbows, it makes me wish everyone could have this opportunity.
A special shout out to Mom and Dad for trusting, supporting, and giving me as much as you have to make this happen. Most importantly, HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!! (and Mrs. Marty!)