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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

February 28, 2019

Every cloud has a silver lining

Nathaniel Gordon, C-Watch, University of Washington


Our helm, Sofia, smiling through the spray while shipmate Caleb assesses the water droplets on the compass.

Ship's Log

Current Position
38° 18.297’ S x 178°46.484’ E

Ship’s Heading & Speed
220° & 4.5 knots

Sailing in the strongest breeze yet (yay) of a consistent 34 knots. Just within a force 8. Waves up to 15 feet, regular spray over the quarter deck.

Souls on board

Today, our clouds looked like they would have a silver lining. C watch took the deck from B watch at 0700 to a beautiful sunrise and calm conditions. It was a picturesque morning. The sun rose over a cloudless horizon, bathing the boat in golden rays for almost an hour. The forecast promised that the wind would steadily increase throughout the day and wow, it most certainly did. At 0700, C watch took the deck in a pleasant force 3. The wind was increasing as forecasted but there still was not enough to only sail; we continued to motor-sail to our next science station just southeast of East Cape. At the science station, the deckhands did a splendid job of getting the Seamans on station without too much hassle. The lab put the carousel over the side, followed by the Neuston net and some phyto nets half an hour later. It felt almost as if the weather was waiting for the final net to come out the water, because as soon as it did, the wind really started to ramp up along with the sea state. at approximately 1100 the wind had surged to gusting 34 knots bringing with it waves up to 15 feet tall.

It was around this time when C watch began to see the silver lining of our cloud unravel. Commands were being shouted from the quarterdeck, lines were being sweated in while others were eased. Sheets were tightened and the stays’l passed more times than anyone wanted in those conditions. Spray was spewing over the bow and the foredeck looked as if it hadn’t been dry in months. Mates of the ship came up one by one to investigate and all took shelter behind the dog house when they were greeted with a wall of spray from mother nature herself.

Eventually, the clouds started to roll back a bit and the sun pierced through again, shining onto C watch and giving a little life back to them and the other crew that had ventured up onto the deck to observe the weather. It was in this moment that we all slowly began to see the silver lining of the clouds that remained in the sky. The power of the sea was immense and the Seamans was ploughing through the waves. The light shined on the white horses and illuminated the beauty of the scenery around us. We occasionally caught sight of storm petrels and a fully grown albatross soaring on the wind. All of this combined creates this beautiful and powerful image of the New Zealand weather and this was the first time we really felt it. Hopefully we get to experience weather like this again; it really showed that there is beauty in the extreme weather and I am just glad that we were able to be in the right place at the right time to experience it.

Overall today was a tiring day, but as the picture shows, all the crew on the Seamans still have smiles on their faces and we are discovering that even the darkest clouds have a hidden silver lining somewhere within them. We are only just beginning to pull them apart and discover what lies beneath. Finally, I have the privilege to report that today we passed milestone 1000 on our voyage down New Zealand’s East Coast.

On a personal line, I’d just like to wish my Father a very belated Happy Birthday and I know that he will have enjoyed it even without me there. Hopefully he, and the rest of the family, reads this in good places!!

Go Dawgs,
Nathaniel Gordon, C-Watch, University of Washington

Categories: Robert C. Seamans,The Global Ocean: New Zealand, • Topics: s284  study abroad • (6) Comments
Previous entry: Fireball    Next entry: Half-Way There


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 Lis Gordon on March 01, 2019

Hi darling Nathaniel!

Lovely to read your blog and it sounds like you had a really exciting day’s sailing and an opportunity to see how the Seamans’ handled and performed in a blow!  I hope you are able to take some pictures to capture these moments for yourself for when you are back home (in Seattle or the UK! wink). Sounds like you are making some special memories and enjoying some amazing experiences. Take care of yourself. We are thinking of you lots. Love Mum x

#2. Posted by Peter Gordon on March 01, 2019

Hi Nat G, thanks for the birthday wishes. Luckily Mum found last years birthday card from you so recycled that. In a boat that size, wind is your friend, so enjoy every storm!

Love you loads

Pete G

#3. Posted by Peaches Newman on March 01, 2019

Lily’s mama here. Wow unbelievable post for an experience that sounded both beautiful and intense.Thank you for sharing!!
Tell Lil I say hi

#4. Posted by Avery Wolf on March 01, 2019

Good to hear you’re keeping up your skippering skills while you’re away! Miss you lots and glad to know you’re having a wonderful time, looking forward to seeing you in not too long!!

#5. Posted by Peter Gordon on March 02, 2019

Oh, by the way, your mother had a birthday as well. Just saying…....



#6. Posted by Mormor & Morfar on March 02, 2019

Hi, Nathaniel,
              It has been fascinating to read the daily blog and to follow your course on the map. You and everyone else on board must be having a great time and storing up some wonderful memories - and photos, too, I hope - for the future. If ever you read Richard Henry Dana’s “ Two Years Before The Mast” you will know perfectly what he is writing about!  Looking forward to reading about the rest of the trip.
      Love from both of us




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