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.
SEA Currents: SSV Robert C. Seamans
Here Comes The Sun
39°59.7’S x 172°6.4’W (Western South Pacific Subtropical Gyre)
Ship’s Heading & Speed
041° (northeast) at 5.3 knots
Storm trys’l, mainstays’l, tops’l, forestays’l
Clear skies, 13.7° C, 5 ft seas and 11-16 knots of wind both from the SW
The past four days have been spent mostly hove-to, waiting for inclement weather to pass us to our east. Squalls have poured rain down on us, and rolling waves have turned our home into an obstacle course, but the weather we saw last night surpassed what any of my fellow students and I had anticipated.
Earlier in the day yesterday I was assigned to shadow our Chief Steward (Lauren Heinen) in the galley, so by the time the winds revved up, we were preparing to set dinner. Except the tables were in no state to present the food we just cooked; Seamans was heeling over such that even gimbaled tables were no hope for preventing dinner from ending up on the sole (nautical lingo for floor). We opted into buffet-style dining through the galley
(kitchen), challenging the students and crew to climb up-hill to retrieve their meal. Mid-way through dishing up food, the students on-watch filed into the main salon (dining room), indicating that our professional crew had taken over deck operations in the gale-force winds and waves.
The winds were too strong to stay hove-to any longer, so we put them at our back, and said farewell to the waters we spent our last four days floating about. Those below deck passed the time strumming ukuleles and singing melodies, maintaining high spirits in the midst of chaos. The crew courageously ran the show on deck only to discover that the winds were pushing us directly toward Raiatea! Over the course of the night we ended up making over 100 nautical miles of headway exactly in the direction of our destination.
When we emerged from down below this morning, the clouds had cleared and our old friend the sun was beaming down on us. Four days of dreary skies and drifting circles around the same general GPS position was quickly replaced by bellies full of wind in our sails and a collective sigh by all on board. This evening, before an incredible display of the milky-way splattered across the night sky, Captain Jay even broke out his guitar and with the help of Steward Lauren's vocals, serenaded us to the setting sun. While I am relieved that the weather has finally died down, I embrace the way that the challenges we've faced these past few days have brought our community even further together. I look up to the professional crew, all of whom retained smiling faces despite their drenched and exhausted appearances, and I admire my peers who in times of uncertainty resorted to relentless positivity embracing songs and laughs to keep us on track.
Before I go - a birthday wish for the man who introduced me to the ocean and sailing. Happy birthday, dad, I can't wait to tell you about what it's like voyaging across the Pacific! I love you.
- Ella Cedarholm, B Watch, University of New Hampshire