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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

October 17, 2016


Adam Bernstein, B Watch, University of Virginia


Sailing Onwards

Ship's Log

Current Position
18° 14.9’ S x 177° 45.8’ W

Ship’s Heading & Speed
330° PSC, 5.5 knots

Sail Plan
Sailing on the fore and main stays’ls and the tops’l.

SE Wind, F6, Intermitent sun with cumulus and nimbostratus clouds.

Souls on Board

The clock struck 0000 to begin the day early this morning, marking the halfway point of S-269’s journey aboard the Seamans. As Captain Amster would say, time is a funny thing. Yet the boat must be sailed, and so the crew does not stand on ceremony as we set our sights on Fiji. One of the most incredible aspects of this journey is the opportunity that it affords us to live in the moment, and as such we aboard the Seamans do not often dwell on memories of the past or prospects of the future. Just as the ocean continually washes over itself, the excitement of each new experience we have washes in to replace what we felt before. The Freudian concept of an ‘oceanic feeling’, in which one is unable to distinguish between themselves and the outside world, is perhaps the best way I can describe the indescribable life that we live. We have all become a part of something bigger, living by the mantra “ship, shipmate, self”, and watching in awe as everything around us transforms.

As for the day today, it was a fairly busy one. Star angles were calculated in the morning, science deployments took place around midday, and class involved updates on anthropology research, lab presentations in the form of song, and equipment demonstrations. We were even granted the opportunity to use new and state-of-the-art surface light equipment in the form of colored M&Ms, which were thrown overboard and timed until descending out of sight, giving us an idea of how colors of light reflect differently in the ocean. We often compare some aspects of our program to those we once enjoyed in kindergarten, as we have daily snack, naptime, and storytelling. As such, using M&Ms as science equipment just felt right.    

And so at this point I return the title of this entry, as I’m sure it has not made total sense thus far. Midships is an order given to the helmsman to steer the rudder straight in line with the ship. Often the rudder is steered slightly to the right or left in order to keep a straight course, as wind, swell, and other factors will push the Seamans off course in someway. Our journey is currently at midships, the course set straight for the next adventure. Living in the moment, enjoying every minute, and eating the M&Ms we ‘forgot’ to throw overboard have made our voyage special beyond compare. We are excited to continue sharing these moments with you and miss you all dearly.

Until next time,

P.S. Happy very early birthday to my dog Chauncey

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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 brian bernstein on October 21, 2016

Adam - was excited to read your post!  Sounds like a great trip full of new experiences.  Look forward to hearing more from you!

Bernie (senior)

#2. Posted by Kathy Bernstein on October 24, 2016

Dear Adam,
It sounds like you are having an incredible journey!
We miss you like crazy and can’t wait to hear every detail. Meanwhile the monkeys are thriving and looking forward to greeting you upon your return.
Love you,



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