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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

June 08, 2016

Ko rapa, Kiribati!

Jessica Sevilla, University of Hawaii at Manoa

Pacific Reef Expedition

Dana showing the Kiritimati kids how to dance. Dana Norton, Andrew Musgrave, Johann Volrath.

Ship's Log

Noon Position
1° 59.2’ N x 157° 29.1’ W

Description of location
Anchored just off of London, Kiritimati Island.

Taffrail Log
1,505.0 nm

Weather / Wind / Sail Plan (from 1300 Watch Change)
Easterly winds with 1/8ths cloud coverage. Currently anchored with a plan to set sail for Hawaii tomorrow at 0600.

Souls on Board

"It's an interesting biological fact that all of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to sea √ whether it is to set sail or to watch it √ we are going back from whence we came." - JFK

Today was a unique experience aboard the Robert C. Seamans because we had two groups of high school students from Kiritimati Island visit the ship. They did some sail handling and checked out some creatures that we'd caught in the neuston net through the microscopes. We also shared our survey data collected at Rangiroa, Caroline, and Kiritimati with the Wildlife Conservation team and discussed their plans to start a reef monitoring program of their own. Sweet! My favorite part of the day however was after tour. Everyone hung out on the quarterdeck and the Kiribati students sang and danced. One of the girls even taught us a couple of the Kiribati dances, and we all had a great time making fools of ourselves. We returned the favor by singing a few off-tune songs and silly dances, the Macarena and Cupid Shuffle. One thing that always crosses cultural lines: laughing at horribly executed dance moves.

We also got to step foot on good ol' terra firma, if only for a few hours. We took some of the small boats to Kiritimati and wandered around the beaches. Fun fact: the four major towns of Kiritimati are London, Poland, Paris, and Banana (there's another town, Tennessee, which is neglected on most maps.) The sun was brutal but the water was cool and the people were friendly.

Now that we're in our home stretch to Hawaii, a bunch of us have been thinking forward. Our experiences out here have had a profound impact on us. The sharp bright memories of going aloft for the first time or setting the main meshed with the small unexplainable moments of stargazing on a silent ship or chilling on the doghouse.

I had always been so focused on coastal environments. Reefs, waves, and tide pools took up the bulk of my marine thought processes. The open ocean, while theoretically very cool, hadn't inspired the same passion as it's shallow-water cousins. I can see now how Herman Melville called the Pacific Ocean (the tide-beating heart of the world). My time out here in the Pacific has humbled me to how narrow my view of the ocean was and how many more opportunities I have to appreciate it. I'm so grateful to SEA and the crew for showing me a whole new side to something that I've always cared so deeply about. With any luck, this is just the first open ocean voyage for this shellback.

- Jessica

P.S. A shout out to A watch, who have taught me so much. Johann, for always throwing himself 120% into every task and being the slippery salp we all need at 3am. Esme, for the constant giggles and joy. Bon Bon, for reminding me to enjoy every moment from shooting stars to dolphin watch. Sara, who's no-nonsense yet patient leadership style has brought out the best in us. Phillip, who can always be relied on for a little sass and a lot of geology geek out. Farley, who can make even puzzling galley mats fun. Heather, for being a singularly real and hilarious person. We make a weird bunch, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

Categories: Robert C. Seamans,Pacific Reef Expedition, • Topics: s267  port stops  polynesia. • (2) Comments


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 Sarah Sevilla on June 14, 2016

How wonderful to meet and make friends, and share your love of all things oceanic.  Truly an adventure you will never forget.. And knowing it will lead you into more wonderful places.  Thank you, and all of you for posting.  So looking forward to all the stories upon your return.  Love you! Mom

#2. Posted by Pica family on June 14, 2016

Awesome experience with the Kiritimati students.  Looks like you had fun!



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