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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

July 15, 2019

New Skills and New Responsibilities

Michaela Guy, B Watch, Smith College


B Watch enjoying their first time on aloft!

Ship's Log

Current Position
0° 02.363’ S 169° 23.851’ W

Ship’s Heading & Speed
185° 2.0kn

Sail Plan
Sailing under the Main Stays’l and Fore Stays’l

Force 4 wind from ESE, 5ft waves, sunny with some cumulous clouds, and a temperature of 35.5° C. In short, it’s a beautiful day in the Southern Pacific!

Souls on board

After about ten days sailing on the SSV Robert C. Seamans, we’ve all pretty much gotten into the ship’s daily working routine. As we are now much more comfortable with life aboard the ship, we are starting learn more skills, and take on more responsibilities with the hope of eventually reaching the Junior Watch Officer Phase where the students mainly take over running the ship. Part of working up to this phase has been learning ship skills like tying specific knots, knowing our jobs in case of emergency, knowing the important aspects of each job done on watch, learning relative points of bearing, and all knowing all the compass points. Up until our dawn watch this morning, my watch mates and I had learned many of these skills but had not yet officially verified our mastery of said skills. Therefore, much of this morning’s watch was spent showing Hila (our watch officer) the skills we are confident in and studying those we are not. By the end of watch I was able to get check marks for about six of our required skills in addition to the three 100 counts, chlorophyll bottle labeling, and hourly data recordings my watch mates and I completed in lab. Such a productive day already and it was only 0700!

Another activity that comes with increased skill level and responsibility on the ship is that of going aloft. For our watch meeting this afternoon, my watch group and I became the first on this trip to climb aloft and see our ship from a whole new angle. Six at a time, we climbed the shrouds and ratlines to reach a platform where we could sit and look out. What a view it was! No land anywhere in sight. Just ocean, ocean, and more ocean for as far as the eye could see. When I shifted my vision downward, I could see the entire deck. Shipmates on lookout, at the helm, doing science, or even just taking a nice deck nap all looked like ants (which was fun for me because, as the shortest person on the ship, I’m usually looking up at everyone). It was one of the most breathtaking moments I’ve had thus far.

After watch meeting was our 14:30 class, as usual. Today we all had a lab practical. There were 22 questions posted at different locations around the deck that had to do with deploying equipment, processing and storing samples, and the hourly observations we do in lab. We each started at a different question and rotated to the next every ten minutes until we had answered them all. One of our assistant scientists (Janet) explained to us that this practical would be a benchmark for each of us to see what we have learned in lab and identify areas we may need to focus on more. It was great for me to see just how much science I’ve learned in the short time we’ve been on the ship. I look forward to continuing my learning both in lab and on watch. If ten days at sea has taught me this much, who knows what the rest of this journey will bring? Whatever it is, I know I’ll be ready for it!

I’d like to give a quick thank you to my parents, friends, and family for supporting me in my love of marine science and for putting up with my endless spouts of facts about the ocean and its critters. I never would have had the courage to pursue an adventure this great without the confidence you have given me that I am on the right path and that I can achieve anything if I am determined and work hard enough at it. I miss you all and I can’t wait to tell you all about this amazing journey!

- Michaela Guy, B Watch, Smith College Class of ‘22

Categories: Robert C. Seamans,Protecting the Phoenix Islands, • Topics: s287  pipa  study abroad • (5) Comments


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 Carmen Norman on July 16, 2019

I have not seen pictures of many of the souls on board.

Could we get one or even two pictures of all these beautiful people and/or many more entries (no that ever will be enough) to stop us MISSING you all!!!!!

With love for all we shall keep on checking for more info.

Cloud and CN

#2. Posted by Eric Guy on July 16, 2019

Dear Miss M:

I know your mom will write something later today, but I couldn’t resist posting a few words now. I’m sure it will not surprise you to hear that we both check for new posts on the ship’s blog page periodically throughout each day. It has been exciting to read about the adventure you all are having, as well as the important work you are doing! Looking at the SSV Robert C. Seamans’ “dot” as it appears on the blog’s world map, we are struck by the fact that you are literally in the middle of the South Pacific! After reading yesterday’s blog post, I have this wonderful picture in my mind of you playing the ukulele on the ship. And, reading your post today, I can just imagine this amazing experience you will never forget. You are obviously sharing this adventure with a truly remarkable group of people. I never doubted for a minute that you would thrive on this challenge, but it’s still nice to read your account of life at sea. We miss you and can’t wait to hear all the great stories you will tell when you get home. Stay safe and soak up every minute of this experience. Love you!

#3. Posted by Jill Holder on July 17, 2019

Hello Shellbacks of S-287,

It is so exciting every day to read about your adventures and activities. I never knew I would be so excited about zooplankton as I am when I read your blogs. While we can’t be with you all physcially we are defintely with you in spirit, holding on to each story and description until we can hear them directly from you. Thank you for being there for one another and for taking us on this fantastic journey with you. And when you are relaxing on the boat singing with Michaela’s ukuele, give her a special hug from her family who misses her very much. Love to you all especially my Miss M.

Michaela’s Mama

#4. Posted by Mary Zarba on July 17, 2019

Dear Mary, It is so fun to read the blogs that have been posted. Crossing the equator. For so long all that came up was a red dot where your ship was at that present moment. Don’t know whiich watch you are on but seeing that group sitting up on that platform made my stomach turn. I’m sure you are having a great time and working hard too. Lots to learn and study. Keep safe and know we are thinking of you. Big hug ! Love Nanny

#5. Posted by Ian Alan Holder on July 25, 2019

Following your progress as best I can. Very proud of what you are doing. Nice to watch the family’s next generation of scientist develop. Can’t wait to see you and hear all about your wonderful adventure. Love you very much.
Grandpa Alan



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