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
Hitting the Books
7°20.994’S x 172°25.847’W:
Ship’s Heading & Speed
140° PSC (per ship’s compass), 7.5 knots
Motor-sailing under the four lowers with a single reef in the mains’l
Winds from the southeast, 5-10 knots with occasional squalls
Throughout all our previous blog posts, we have introduced you to many different aspects of this ship. One part of the community which deserves further exposition is the reading community that has developed on this ship. I suppose it was predictable, but it never occurred to me given the lack of reading during the shore component. Because of the lack of internet, books have become the predominant form of entertainment on the ship. An informal library system has developed, and we pass books from person to person in an endless queue. The favorite book I brought, The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, has already been passed to ten different people, even though it almost reaches 1000 pages. Books like this become a key part of the ship’s culture and occupy our time in conversations that build to large discussions among the readers.
The book exchanges started with my friend, Kate B., asking about The Name of the Wind as I was rereading it. I couldn’t explain it, which led me to letting her read the back cover. She began reading it out loud, and people gathered to listen. Then, she commandeered the book to read out loud on the quarterdeck. The reading peaked the crew’s interest and resulted in the first book exchange, which created a precedent. The Glass Castle and The Shadow of the Wind were contributed to the exchange by Aidan, and from that he picked up an additional copy of The Name of the Wind. The ship’s Steward, Nevin, gave me Dune to add in. For the most part, the books we contribute have been fiction (no one has taken up my offer to read The History of Naval Power), and there has been a complete openness to share the books, regardless of how worn they may become. The willingness to share our favorites has led the book trade to flourish, and each book we read in common continues to bind the crew closer together, even as the trip starts to wind down.
On a more technical note, we officially left PIPA (the Phoenix Islands Protected Area) in the early hours of the morning. This is essentially an end to the scientific data we will be collecting as we can’t collect biological samples by deploying nets in the waters of the Tokelau EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone). With little science left, the end of the trip is in sight, and our projects are breathing down our necks. Within the next few days, we will wrap up the JWO (Junior Watch Officer) and JLO (Junior Lab Officer) phase of the trip and move to the ominous sounding “final mission”.
Mom, Allie, Hannah, Emma, Grandma, Grandpa, Nana, Granddad, Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins (maybe?), I can’t wait to see (or Skype) you all when I get back next Saturday. I want to wish you all my love. Yellow blue vase.