Ready for an adventure with a purpose? Request info »
  • Search SEA Semester, Summer and High School Programs

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

November 18, 2021

Let’s Talk about Sextants: Celestial Navigation

Audrey Cardwell & Sophia Lacambra , Brevard College & Barnard College


Above: Captain Sean demonstrating how to use the sextant on the quarterdeck. Below: Stevie making her first attempt at shooting the sun.

Ship's Log

Noon Position
Lat 30˚ 14.1’ N x Lon 123˚ 48.6’ W

Weather / Sail Plan
Sailing under the Jib, Fore & Main Staysails, and Mainsail Winds Force 3 from the W

Taffrail Log
332.0 nm

Souls on board

At promptly 1430, the ship’s company met on the quarterdeck in the afternoon sun for our daily class. Some shipmates shared reports on engineering (Audrey), navigation (Oscar), science (Cassie, Hannah, & Alice), and a field weather report (Carson & Sophia). Some things to note from these reports…

* Our first science deployment was a success! The science team deployed a carousel and a neuston tow net after a few days of technical difficulties that prevented us from doing so. Thanks to our Chief Scientist, Jan, for being a super nerd and getting our systems back up and running.

* On the engineering front, a crisis was averted yesterday! With the majority of the ship’s company looking on, our Chief Engineer took a chilly dunk in the big blue about 200nm off the coast of California to remove a colony of mussels that made home in one of our pipes, causing a flood in the lab on deck.

* As for the weather there is a low pressure system to the north of us that we are currently outrunning and enjoying a sunny day with puffy cumulus clouds. After the entertaining reports given we finally broke out the sextants! We’ve been learning about how to use these celestial navigation instruments and all the various calculations that are associated with them for the past few weeks. Captain Sean led us in a lesson on how to properly shoot the sun with a sextant to begin the process of determining our location the old fashioned way. It definitely took some practice but we’re getting there! Hopefully we won’t sail a circle back to California...

In other news, we’ve all managed to all get our sea legs under us after a few days of touch and go. We are now taking from the sea more than we are giving back to it…if you know what we mean. Thanks to our stewards, Ashley and Talia, for all of the saltines and candied ginger!

With weather warming and sunny skies ahead we continue onwards towards the equator.

- Audrey Cardwell (Brevard College) and Sophia Lacambra (Barnard College)

Categories: Robert C. Seamans,Oceans & Climate, • Topics: s301  life at sea  study abroad  sailing  research • (1) Comments
Previous entry: Ready for Research    Next entry: For Science!


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 Deirdre Lacambra (Sophia's Mom) on December 07, 2021

Great caption, Sophia and Audrey! Too funny and it’s so good to hear the humor in this post after all the initial sea sickness. That motion in the ocean gets to us all! Your grandfather was thrilled to read about your navigation via sextant! The gratitude you all have for the stewards, captain, crew and each other is beautiful and inspiring. Thanks for sharing! I miss and love you Sophia!



Add a comment:

Notify me of follow-­up comments?

I would like SEA to keep me informed about news and opportunities.