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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

July 21, 2018

Exploring Kanton

Mackenzie Meier, University of New Hampshire


Above: A boobie soars amongst its companions in search of food.Below: (Uncle) Andy and his new friend Alberto. Photos by Kenzie Meier

Ship's Log

Current Position
2°48.4’S x 171°42.8’W (Kanton Island)

Sail Plan
Currently docked from 7/20-7/22

Warm, breezy and partly cloudy

Souls on board

Mauri friends and family of the 2018 SEA PIPA Expedition,

Our little world shrunk to 34 people when we boarded this ship in Honolulu, but our world began to grow when we started trawling for zooplankton below us and realized we were far from alone. Our little world just grew again today. We've begun to explore Kanton island and the lagoon. We've met the people of Kanton, joined fishes for a swim on their reefs, and sailed through a feeding frenzy of birds who absolutely ignored our insignificant little home in their vast ocean.

The most important part of dock watch besides making sure the boat isn't sinking or on fire would have to be the snorkeling missions. I went on two snorkel missions today; the first was to the pristine reef deemed "Coral Castle" and the other was a reef restoring itself over a sunken WWII vessel.

Coral Castle was a picturesque reef with more live corals than any of us ever imagined we'd see. The wreck had more parrot fish, groupers, bluestreak fusiliers and convict tangs than we could have anticipated (with special appearances by a black tip shark, green sea turtles, and a couple octopuses. Yes. Seeing an octopus in the wild: check! Thanks Cap). Both sites were close in proximity and sometimes appearance, but also strikingly different.The wreck had more diversity of fish but much less coral. Coral Castle was brimming with coral, we even had to be careful not to swim to shallow! This difference struck me as a parallel to our experience on the island of Kanton. Our cultures and languages are very different, but my shipmates and I have already found similarities with the people here and ways to connect.

The world is bigger than I've ever imagined. I wonder how much more my mind can stretch as my world continues to grow. After dinner I sat with a group of 4 young girls; we watched some of the older kids and my shipmates play soccer. We talked about our families, our brothers and sisters, and where we were from. It was hard for them to wrap their head around how far I have come. It's hard for me to wrap my head around too. I can't believe we've found this island in the middle of the vast ocean. After two weeks I almost forgot there was more than just the ocean. I've always known we live on a blue planet, always known the world is over 70% ocean, but somehow I still feel so different about this planet then I did when we first set sail. It's no longer just a poetic saying or scientific fact: but it's my reality. For2 weeks, we saw nothing but ocean with our chirp reading our 5000+ meters below us and today we still can look over this island and see more ocean.It's strange how any land is able to penetrate from the mighty depths of the ocean.

I'm humbled and honored to reside on this beautiful big blue world and so so thankful to the people of Kiribati for sharing their pristine oceans with these little 34 people.

Ma te tangira ao te inga ae baat
(With lots of love and hugs)

- Kenzie, University of New Hampshire

P.S As I proofread this I've realized it neglects to articulate many of my thoughts and feelings so take these photos as 1000 words. They might better convey my message.

Shoutout to all my friends and family back stateside, thanks for always supporting my increasingly elaborate adventures. Mom, I haven't forgotten how to swim. Anya, I have so much to tell you; I hope you also love your boat life this summer. LB, LM, RD, SL, KO, AD, CN, LL, LH, and my BHC crew, haven't seen any whales yet... still scanning the horizon for blows every day. It'll happen eventually. Hope all the whales are doing well and the babies are thriving.

Even though Brian has been monopolizing the blog, he's handed me a paper with a very important shoutout so I've obliged to post it.

"Melanie: Happy 10 months babe! I love you and miss you. I'll see you before you know it!!"

Previous entry: LAND!!    Next entry: Snorkeling in Kanton


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 Shelley Ryan on July 24, 2018

‘Such a beautifully written blog entry! Thanks for so eloquently sharing with us your adventures. It’s so great to hear from you and to know that you are getting so much out of this experience. All is well here. We love and miss you and can’t wait to hear more about your travels when you get home. Stay safe and keep learning. Love, Mom, Dad, and Holden.



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