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
Local Apparent Goodbye
Moorea, French Polynesia
Ship’s Heading & Speed
All harbor furled
A pleasant breeze with intermittent rain
We, class S-278, have reached our final day here on the SSV Robert C. Seamans. And what a day it has been! This morning, we anchored in Moorea, an island so insanely beautiful it adorns the French Polynesian currency. After a long day of scrubbing the boat, we were rewarded with a swim call. Amongst the stark mountains and intermittent downpour, our lives hardly felt real.
And that has been a common theme throughout this trip — beauty, emotions, and experiences that are so rich and complex that they defy reality itself. But, as we have now come to the end of our voyage (almost), I can definitively say that this is one of the realest things I have ever done. The friendships I have made are so solid they are almost tangible. The skills and lessons I have learned will carry me to new, unimaginable places, just like this boat has done over the past six weeks.
Our time at sea has been the adventure of a lifetime. Through cold waters to the tropics, from cyclone force winds to water flat enough for a swim, the crew of the Seamans has been through it all. But we’re not done. In the vein of looking to the future, I have asked every person on the ship about what’s next for them. Specifically, I sat in front of mid-morning snack two days ago and asked everyone “what’s your next adventure?” Each shipmate took this question to differing degrees of seriousness, but I think you’ll find we are an adventurous bunch. So, here’s what’s next for the S-278 crew of the SSV Robert C. Seamans (in no particular order), with my own reactions:
Allison Einolf, Second Scientist—Getting a cat! I am very excited about this one and request pictures, please and thank you.
Brooke Butterfield—Travelling Europe and Morocco with the most important people in her life: her family.
Phoebe Shaw—Caravanning around the South Island of New Zealand with some shipmates. After this, Phoebe will be moving into a new apartment and starting senior year as well as a new job doing research on invasive marine plants.
Henry the Engineer—Henry will be participating in the upcoming Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA) cruise with SEA. He also hopes one day to leave the engine room and interact with humans.
Shana Grimes, Assistant Engineer—Shana, who is a total rockstar, just graduated at the top of her class from Maine Maritime Academy (congrats, Shana, we love you!). She is headed to Hawai’i with SEA on the Pacific Reef Expedition cruise.
Rachel Tan—Headed to Seville, Spain for two months to live with a host family and learn Spanish and how to cook Spanish food.
Captain Jay Amster—A friend of Capt. Jay’s is getting married in California, and after attending the wedding, the Captain and his wife are going to Mexico for vacation. When I asked Jay what his plans were for Mexico, he responded “the plan is to do nothing.” That sounds great, Jay, but as you always say, “a plan never lasts more than 90 seconds.”
Dr. Deb Goodwin, Chief Scientist—A 10-day solo canoe trip through the Quetico, Ontario. I know. She is so cool.
Snark (Mark Waddington), Chief Mate—Snark is starting a new shipping branch of a company called Guided Discoveries. Snark will be captain of the Scout. Other titles that Snark will be taking on during this venture include Marine Supervisor and Lord Above All (LAA).
Justin Freck—Working his 8th summer at the Rodney Scout Reservation Boyscout Camp. Justin runs the high adventure sailing program, in which scouts sail 40-foot single mast sailboats from Chesapeake Bay to the Inner Harbor of Baltimore. Way to keep the wind in your sails, bud!
Olivia Cronin-Golomb—Liv is gunning for a competitive internship at Boston University next semester: the NASA DEVELOP Internship. You totally got this, girl, NASA would be lucky to have you.
Farley Miller, First Scientist—Sailing with assistant engineer Shana to Hawai’i with SEA’s Pacific Reef Expedition cruise.
Ashley Davis—Ashley is headed back to Woods Hole to work at the prestigious WHOI, and will spend her summer doing research on the cooling of the central Pacific Ocean via coral cores. And visiting me.
Emily Dailey—I asked Emily what her next adventure was right before we presented on our science research projects, and she replied with “this presentation.” She also is interning with SEA over summer and will be conducting plastics research at the Woods Hole campus.
Will Lounsbury-Scaife—Will is excited to be travelling around Tahiti and New Zealand with shipmates. After this, he will take on a leadership position at his summer camp in Virginia where he teaches about insects. He also will graduate college and “strive for financial independence and all that good stuff.”
Maggie Powell—Mags is headed to the largest US state! In Alaska. Maggie will be studying methane flux related to permafrost thaw. It is, figuratively and literally, very cool.
Brittany Hernandez—It has been Brittany’s lifelong dream to study Beluga whales, and this summer she will have that opportunity through an REU (NSF funded research for undergraduates, very prestigious) in Seattle. We are all so excited for you, Bri!
Kat Duvall—World traveler and invasive earthworm lover, Kat will be working with Hurricane Island Foundation in Maine, teaching marine biology and outdoor education to children. Seems like a pretty good fit to me.
Lauren Heinen, Steward—Lauren is off to pursue her dream of becoming a master cheese connoisseur. We have determined that in order for her to do this, she will need to move to France and drink a healthy amount of wine to go with the cheese. Her next step after that will be to star on Broadway, obviously.
Mike Weiss, Third Mate—Lauren was right next to Mike when I asked this question, and said that he will become a “WWF Wrestler.” Naturally, these means he will be wrestling pandas. Good luck, Mike.
Alexis Racioppi—Alexis’ first answer to this question was “cleaning my face,” which is something we all aspire to do here on the Seamans but don’t always have time for. She is also excited to take New Zealand by storm and see more nature after spending time in French Polynesia.
Doug Faunt, Mate-in-Training—Doug dreams of building a traditional brigantine powered entirely by renewable energy. We think that sounds really awesome, Doug.
Ella Cedarholm—Ella, after caravanning around New Zealand with shipmates, will be starting a fellowship at the prestigious Woods Hole Oceanographic institution (WHOI), and will be participating in physical oceanography research with amazing mentors.
Sarah Smith-Tripp—Sarah is casually heading to Mongolia to do cultural anthropology and fisheries research with the Mongolian-American Aquatic Press Initiative (MAARI). This is super awesome, Sarah. Go you!!!
Erin Adams, Second Scientist—Erin Adams is a gem of a human, and will be embarking on her next adventure in Alaska. She will be working on a small salmon fishing boat in the very sustainable fishery of Alaskan salmon. I asked Erin what her favorite thing about this job is, and she answered that the mystery of the biology and simultaneous migration of the fish is powerful and just really cool. Her average shift lengths on this boat are about 14 hours.
Natalie Marshall, Assistant Steward—“I’m joining the circus. Goodbye.”
Haley Rogers—Haley’s adventures include travelling around New Zealand and her home state of Colorado, enjoying national parks, nature, and good company.
Melia Matthews—Melia’s next flight will be to Italy, to take a class through Whitman College on the landscape and cityscape of ancient Rome. Pretty cool, Melia.
Tristan Feldman, Second Mate—Tristan is going to upgrade their already impressive Coast Guard license to a 500-ton Oceans Master license. This involves “taking a bunch of classes so Jay will let me sail again.” Yes, Tristan! Learn all the things!
Noa Randall—Noa is going to bike across the US from west to east with some shipmates in the next few years. This is no small feat and is supremely awesome.
Colin Gaunt—A fellow upstater, Colin’s next adventure is to become a “46er,” or someone who has hiked all 46 high peaks in the Adirondacks. He is already more than halfway there.
Lorena Neira—Lore aspires to work on a Chilean research vessel that travels around Antarctica. I know 33 people who would vouch that you are an excellent shipmate and a hard worker, Lore.
My next adventure is graduating college, and entering the world with a job that makes me fulfilled and happy. Thanks to SEA, I’m ready to hit the dock running. The amount of confidence, skills, and knowledge I have gained from SEA Semester makes the adult world my own personal adventure, and I can’t wait to get started.
When using celestial navigation to find your position, an easy thing to shoot with a sextant is Local Apparent Noon (LAN). This is the time when the sun’s declination equals latitude for your location (i.e., when the sun will be highest above you). LAN rarely occurs at 1200, however. On our voyage it was usually between 1130 and 1155. So, LAN can be thought of as a time when it appears to be noon at your location, but isn’t really. I want to remind my shipmates of this concept moving forward. Tomorrow, we will say goodbye to the Seamans and to each other. But this is a Local Apparent Goodbye; it seems like a real goodbye, but really we will be seeing each other soon. We will remain a part of each other’s lives for a long time to come. This community we have is intensely amazing and incredibly rare, and it’s not something we will just let go of.
So, friends, catch a round turn on these memories but make sure you ballantine the good times so that they are ready to run when we see each other again. Remember, if you ever find yourself sailing in the irons you know you can count on your shipmates to put some wind in your sails: whether you are in Mongolia or Alaska, we have your back. We can help you gybe around to the right tack. You should all be incredibly proud of yourselves for what you have accomplished here. I am proud of all of you, and I am proud to be part of this community. And so I leave you with just a few words:
That’s well, make fast.