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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 14, 2016

Let’s go sailing!

Philip Swanson, Oberlin College

Pacific Reef Expedition

Selfie atop the foremast. Shoutout to Johann for trusting me with his Go-Pro all the way up there.

Ship's Log

1200 Position
13° 39’ N by 156° 59’ W

280nm south of the Big Island

Sail Plan
Sailing under 4 lowers with a single reef in the main. 

Ship Heading
010° psc

Ship Speed
6.5 knots

Weather / Wind
Winds ExN, beaufort force 5, partly cloudy skies. Seas NE, 10ft

Souls on Board

Imagine this. It’s four in the morning, and you’re standing on the deck of a sailboat hurling north through the Pacific. A series of squalls off the bow drown out the guiding light of stars, and the bow of the ship is repeatedly thrown around by monstrous waves so strong that even the roof hatches are shut to keep the waves out. You’d hope whoever was in charge of the ship that night was an expert sailor, and not a 19-year-old boy with three weeks of sailing experience. Somehow though, last night I was that boy. 

On board, we’ve started Phase III of the voyage, which we call the JWO phase. Students each spend a watch as Junior Watch Officer, and one watch as Junior Lab Officer. Over the past few days I’ve had the opportunity to perform both of these roles. As Junior Watch Officer last night, I learned just how difficult it is to keep track of all the tasks that come with sailing, and how to balance it all while (literally) staying on my feet. I found it very easy to get frustrated when I forgot a task or when I wasn’t quite sure how to do something, but it was also great to feel what it’s like to lead a cohesive watch and implementing everything we’ve learned over the past three weeks.

We’re heading towards Hawaii now, and within a week I’ll be back on solid ground. Looking back, I’ve really valued my time at sea. Even though it’s been less than a month, I’ve learned so much and made so many close friends. From bellowing “two six HEAVE!” while hoisting sails to climbing the foremast to staring up at the Milky Way and learning constellations to just hanging out with my fellow A Watch buddies, I can’t think of a single dull moment.

Family and friends reading this at home – as much as I am loving it here I can’t wait to return home and tell you all endless stories. I’ll see you all soon.


Categories: Robert C. Seamans,Pacific Reef Expedition, • Topics: s267  sailing  life at sea • (0) Comments
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