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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

November 21, 2018

Live. Love. Lab.

Maddy Oerth, C-watch, Eckerd College


One of the many cool species we have found in our neuston net tows. This is a lantern fish larva known as a myctophid.

Ship's Log

Current Position
32° 56.71’ S 176° 40.73’ E

Course & Speed
38 heading and 6.2 knots

Sail Plan
Sailing towards the Kermadec Islands

Partially clear, partially squally

Souls on board

Today was our first full day sailing the open ocean towards the Kermadec Islands. It was also my third time having lab duty during my watch. Lab duty is by far my favorite part of being on watch. I have always loved hands-on learning especially when it comes to science. In the past two instances I have been working in the lab, I have learned all kinds of scientific procedures and seen a variety of interesting creatures. I learned how to deploy a neuston net and CTD, process net samples, do zooplankton 100 counts, and process samples for pH, alkalinity, and chlorophyll -a. It has all been so exciting to apply the many things I have learned in class to the lab setting and seeing it all come to life.

Through this I have developed a better understanding of oceanographic research and am filled with even more curiosity about the ocean. Today, I was able to see how my countless hours learning and studying have paid off. Grayson, my assistant scientist, let my fellow classmate, Olivia, and I to do our tasks on our own. Normally I am not a very confident person, but today during lab I surprisingly wasn't nervous for once. I completed a majority of the tasks given to me alone and even assisted Olivia with questions that she had. Olivia even mentioned to me at one point how comfortable I seemed in the lab setting. She said something along the lines of, "Oh Maddy, this is your thing. Now I get it - this is what you do." I couldn't help but laugh but what she said was definitely true. I am so interested in and excited about what I am doing, that I am starting to forget my fears and gain more confidence.

Some of the other highlights of today's lab watch was when Olivia and I were doing our 6-minute observations. These observations consist of us going out on the quarter deck and taking notes of everything we see for 6 minutes. After we finish the 6 minutes, we then enter our observational data into the computer. There are different sections in the spreadsheets that specify a variety of possible animal species we could see. I always joke around saying the animal sections (other than birds) are the "sad sections" since we normally have nothing to enter, or have to enter a bunch of zeros. However, that changed today. Almost as soon as we got on deck, we heard our fellow classmates screaming "Dolphins!" I turned and was surprised to see a huge pod of about 20+ dolphins were jumping off the port side of our ship! They looked happy as could be swimming in our wake! It was a beautiful sight! One of our professors, Rich King, said that he believes they were common dolphins which have a pale-yellow stripe on their sides. I yelled back to Grayson, "We finally don't have to put zeros! It's no longer sad!" I was beyond thrilled. I cannot wait for all my future lab days.

- Maddy Oerth, C-watch, Eckerd College

Categories: Robert C. Seamans,The Global Ocean: New Zealand, • Topics: s283  new zealand  study abroad • (3) Comments
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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 Dottie Hollis on November 22, 2018

I’m enjoying reading the blogs, could almost visualize the dolphins following the ship!

I am Lindsay Fox’s gram.  Thinking about all of you.

#2. Posted by Jim Oerth on December 04, 2018

We really enjoyed your posting!  It is great you are learning so much and enjoying it as well! Lab work is fun!

#3. Posted by Erin Bryant on December 06, 2018

I am So Happy for all of you!
Smooth sailing,



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