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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 25, 2017

Field Day on the Foredeck

Elsbeth Pendleton-Wheeler, A Watch, Smith College

The Global Ocean

Field Day on the Foredeck

Ship's Log

Current Position
35° 32.954 E x 176° 40.326 S

Ship’s Heading & Speed
113°, 7 knots motor sailing

Sunny, calm and beautiful

Souls on Board

For what felt  like the hundredth time that night I was abruptly awoken by my body catching slight air as the bow of the ship crashed down into yet another swell. The focs’cl cabin where I and seven of my peers live seems to toss us around the most, as we are in the bow of the ship. A few seconds later however Shem’s voice called out softly through my bunks curtains, telling me it was time to wake up; I had watch in 30 minutes. I lay still, once again feeling the relentless motion of our ship, before the business of my day began.

I scrambled into my clothes (same ones as yesterday, that decision is easy on the Seamans), grabbed my harness and waterbottle and made my way to the main saloon for breakfast. We ate our cereal in a sleepy quiet and A-watch headed up the ladder to relieve the exhausted C-watch who had been standing dawn watch for the past six hours. This morning I was in the lab, so after our initial meeting on the quarter deck the three “labbies” headed down to meet Nick and begin our tasks for the morning.

After a few days of heavy swell the sea dawned calm today, allowing our already sea sturdy legs some break from the constant falling. As I came in and out from the lab doing various tasks I was able to see the gold of the sun just over the horizon set against the endless blue of our ocean landscape. In the lab Nick laid out our tasks for the day which included deploying the CTD, the neuston tow and the phytoplankton net. We worked quickly and efficiently on the science deck, learning names of various parts and examining the critters we caught. The deck felt peaceful and productive as we watched our deployments go down. We even saw a lazy pufferfish float by before he darted under the hull.

Lunch came quickly and we were relieved by B-watch. After a quick watch debrief (Cassie, Chief Mate: GOOD WATCH GUYS. WE DID A LOT OF THINGS), we headed below to scarf down sandwiches and prepare for the main event of the day, Field Day! (which is the reason for the menu, easy for Sabrina our steward; cereal, sandwiches and pizza). At 1400 we all gathered on the quarter deck for a quick meeting before the shenanigans, I mean cleaning, began. We were told the boat was to be scrubbed from bow to stern in and out and shown various instruments with which to accomplish this task. We played a quick rock paper scissors pump up game and after being told music was most definetly allowed to be blasted, headed off to our various corners of the ship and began to scrub. All kinds of music drifted from different parts of the ship as walls and floors were scrubbed, nooks and crannies cleaned and even the art hanging in the main saloon received a good dusting. Pots and pans lined the foredeck, sparking after a good rinsing, even we shone, probably due to some hose control issues, but we were clean. The mood was upbeat and soon enough everything was back in its place, albeit much cleaner than a mere two hours earlier.

Tired but happy, we mustered again, closing a good field day and dispersing in different directions; some to sleep, some to homework, some to reading and some back to watch. I was left wondering what our sparkling happy ship must have looked like to a passing boat: pots and pans lining the deck, Beyonce blasting from a tiny speaker and 40 or so people scattered about somewhere between cleaning and dancing as we floated against the perfect blue of the day. No one was there to observe though, besides the constant waves, some shearwater birds, a fish or two and one giant sun fish who made an appearance. We are one bustling ship amidst the teeming quiet of the ocean, full of some life we are beginning to learn to appreciate and explore.

Soon there will be dinner and then bed, for tonight I will stand dawn watch with my watch, keeping the ship safe and on track as dawn breaks once again in the South Pacific.

- Elsbeth

P.S. Hey Mom, Dad and Catherine, thinking of you all and sending love.
P.P.S. Mom, no need to comment on this blog, smile and enjoy! I love you.

Categories: Robert C. Seamans,The Global Ocean: New Zealand, • Topics: s271  life at sea  research • (4) Comments
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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 Anonymous mom on February 28, 2017

Speaking a a completely objective third party with no personal interest in the matter, that was a great blog post!....

#2. Posted by Nancy Roberts on March 01, 2017

Really enjoyed reading that post…well done! It took me back to my years aboard April Maid. Wish I could have had such an efficient crew. Eager to hear your sea stories when you get back home.

#3. Posted by Suzy McD on March 01, 2017

You write well and I bet you work well and hard. These are memories you will have forever. I am soooo impressed with your adventuresome spirit and just plain guts!!

#4. Posted by EB on March 22, 2017

A moment lived and beautifully shared. I loved reading this Elsbeth! Safe travels.—EB



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