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
March 06, 2019
On The Road Again
39°42.699’ S, 177°09.054’E
Ship’s Heading & Speed
165° & 3 knots
Clear Skies, light breeze out of E , 31°C
When the wakeup call came for all hands breakfast at 0610 this morning I was already awake having just stood the 0500-0600 port watch. This would be the last time any of us would be standing hourly port watches in Napier as the primary thing on our agenda today was to sail out of Napier and start our revised track to Wellington. Meaning, we would be cycling back into our familiar 6-hour watch system within our watch groups. We have been in Napier since Sunday and have filled our days with lots of ice cream, beach time, reading, researching, and exploring. But, before we could cast off the lines tying us to the port there was one thing we all had to accomplish - the lab practical.
As a non-science major, I have been simultaneously fascinated and intimidated by the time I have spent in the science lab. Initially I was scared of doing a 100 count of the microorganisms we had collected from our Neuston net tow through a microscope on a moving vessel after watching my watch mate throwing up after completing one. I was overwhelmed by the hectic nature of the morning science station where we have to scramble to deploy the phytoplankton net, the carousel (my personal favorite), and the Neuston net all while communicating with those on deck to make sure we were staying hove-to or going two knots. But mostly when I am in the lab I am intrigued by the specific procedures we have to follow in order to gather our data and uphold the high levels of data integrity that SEA prescribes to. I am continuously left with questions about marine organisms, the greater purpose of our research and data collection, and the way the ocean works. Graciously, the scientists onboard have answered all of my questions, as well as every student on board.
The lab practical was an opportunity for us to show that all of our work in the lab had come to fruition and that we had mastered the things and information that make working in the lab run smoothly. There were 26 questions posted at stations around the ship and each student stood at one until an announcement came over the ship’s sound system for us to rotate. Thankfully, I was able to tie my bowline (the knot of science) under pressure and the careful eyes of the scientists. The whole ordeal felt scavenger hunt-like and was one of the most fun tests I have ever taken.
Once the lab practical ended we were finally ready to leave Napier, our unexpected but wonderful port stop, and venture out into the open ocean with our destination being definitively Wellington. After being docked for so long I had almost forgotten what it felt like to have the ship rock with the ocean and was startled waking up from my nap and feeling the boat move beneath me (napping is an additional skill I have picked up from my time spent on the boat). While we are all excited to get to Wellington we are also all ready to get back into the routine of life at sea. I am currently writing this blog post from one of my favorite spots to be on the boat when I am not on watch, the dog house, which is the roof on our quarterdeck where I can sit back and look into the ocean.
For dinner we all enjoyed a king fish that those who had been fishing off the back of the boat just caught. On my 1900-0100 watch shift we were lucky enough to have clear skies and calm waters which allowed us to see and appreciate the beautiful star-filled night skies. Our watch ended with dolphins paying us a visit – they often like to swim in the break of the boat’s bow. But the bioluminescence lit them up in the dark ocean and we could see their glow in the dark outlines zooming and jumping around.
To my grandma and grandpa, Ani’s grandma and grandpa Mary and Larry, and whoever else may be reading this blog, everyone onboard the Robert C. Seamans is having an amazing and wonderful adventure and we love and miss you all!
- Mackenzie Korpi, B Watch, Carleton College