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
October 1st, Wherefore Art Thou?
18° 14.5’S x 172° 59.5’W
Ship’s Heading & Speed
220°, 5 knots
force 4 winds from ESE, 5ft seas from ESE, 2/8 coverage of cumulus clouds, 29°C
Whoever said time travel was impossible surely underestimated the power of the Robert C. Seamans. Last night the Seamans crossed the International Date Line, meaning for all of us aboard, the date of October 1st never happened.
The International Date Line runs in between American Samoa and Tonga, and arbitrarily runs through the Pacific Ocean from the North Pole to Antarctica. Up until a couple of years ago, American Samoa was on the same side of the line as Tonga. This made doing business with Tonga and other islands west of the date line easy but made it very difficult to do business with countries east of the islands. A decision was made to change the location of the date line to make it easier for American Samoa to trade with countries like the United States. The day the date line location was changed never existed for American Samoa, just like October 1st never existed for us.
Although I was not on watch when we crossed the International Date Line, coming on watch at 0700 to 1300 brought excitement nonetheless. B-watch (my watch), with the help of our mate Rebecca, avoided multiple squalls, and in return saw a rainbow. Later in the watch a couple of us got the chance to fiddle with sextants, learning how to take a celestial fix of the sun. We will later learn how to find our current location using that celestial fix, but for now we’ll continue trying to understand how the sextants work.
Today was also our first Field Day! Field Day aboard the Seamans is a day we all pitch in to give the ship some love – in other words, we clean every nook and cranny as best we can. Field Day happens once a week. Instead of class on Field Day, each watch is assigned a different part of the ship to clean. It is also the one day a week we are allowed to listen to music which means many of us will gear up our playlists to be ready to pump some tunes. The staff presented the students with a thorough presentation of our evil nemesis “mung droids” – also known as mung (which is basically just piles of built-up grime and dirt) – which we are responsible for defeating using miscellaneous cleaning supplies. Our first Field Day did not go without a hitch, as B-watch was accidentally responsible for the breaking of plates on the salon floor. We cleaned up the broken plates as quickly as possible and went on with our cleaning. The end of Field Day left the Seamans sparkly clean but for some reason also left the salon smelling very strongly of fish sauce. We later learned an entire bottle of fish sauce spilled in the galley. Don’t worry, it doesn’t smell anymore.
Giving to the Seamans means you will receive something in return. In return for cleaning we were given candy by our fabulous steward Sabrina. We were also given the opportunity to take salt water showers on deck using the fire hose. After sweating down below, the shower felt extremely satisfying, although I definitely got a little too much salt water in my eyes.
Jumping ahead a whole date brought us one day closer to our line chase (that’s tomorrow!). I will definitely be studying up during my watch tonight from 0100 to 0700. Along with studying our lines, many of us have been participating in the push-up challenge – 1 push-up for every nautical mile we sail. We have currently sailed close to 230 nautical miles, so I’m already 30 push-ups behind.
I am slightly nervous for our line chase tomorrow, but we are all excited to reach Tonga and hopefully see some whales in the process.
Shoutout to my ‘lil bro Alik – we saw a mahi mahi and a tuna today!