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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 20, 2016

First Sail

Johanna Bailey, C Watch, Whitman College

The Global Ocean: New Zealand

C Watch finishing up watch. From left to right: Mackenzie, Alina, Tim, Johanna, Molly, Sara, Alex, and Eric.

Ship's Log

36° 51.077’S, 174° 55.141’E

0 knots

At anchor

Sunny and warm throughout the day; clear, crisp, starry skies at night.

Souls on Board

After waking up, we hit the deck to practice some safety drills. First we talked about the station bill, a document that gives everyone a specific role in each type of emergency (man over board, fire and other emergencies, and preparing to abandon ship). Roles range from taking charge of a life raft to handling sails to grabbing emergency water (my job) or other supplies. We also learned how to deploy the rescue boat, which would occur in man over board situations. Another part of our training included donning our immersion suits, affectionately called Gumbies. After everyone received their Gumby, we wiggled into them and helped each other zip up and Velcro shut. Some people didn’t put up their long hair so they looked like Wookies when it all squished into their faces. It was pretty entertaining.

After all our preparations, we finally set sail! Auckland Harbour was pretty busy with other boats but still beautiful nonetheless. The excitement was nearly tangible. Everyone was on deck to help cast off and start sailing, making for a very active deck. Our beautiful ship and energetic community brought numerous smaller boats nearer for a peek at the action. We waved to a lot of people today!

Once we were in a good spot, the crew dropped anchor and we came to a stop. C Watch started the 1300-1900 watch but there was still much more in store. We did our usual boat checks, looking at the equipment and machinery to make sure they were all still functioning as expected, but we also learned how to deploy scientific equipment, how to tie more knots such as the constrictor knot, and how to brace the yards. On top of that, we worked on navigation techniques such as triangulating with visual bearings and learning the names and locations of more lines. We had the opportunity to use our new sweating technique, where we pull every last millimeter of slack out of a line by pushing forward to gain momentum, then leaning backward to pull some of the line down, and finally thrusting towards the pin to push that tiny bit of slack through the turns and to make the line taut. Today I probably learned and practiced more than any of the other days I’ve been here, but it was definitely the most fun I’ve had on the ship so far!

The day ended with one last adventure. I put on my harness and joined several classmates (Stacie, Tim, Eliza, Mackenzie, and Alina) tethered to the bowsprit in front of the ship. The net looks fine from the ship, but when you first set foot on it, it seems very likely that your feet and possibly your legs will fall through. Thankfully this did not occur. We quickly figured out a good way to navigate the net using a combination of high surface area and a well-balanced center of gravity (translation: lying down and army crawling). The views were stunning, especially as the sun set. Someone thought they saw a dolphin, but they were not wearing their glasses and it turned out to be a kayak. Maybe tomorrow we’ll see some real ocean life on the next leg of our adventure!

- Johanna

Categories: Robert C. Seamans,The Global Ocean: New Zealand, • Topics: s264  port stops  new zealand • (0) Comments
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