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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

June 06, 2018

Open Ocean

Kelly Watson, C Watch, Penn State


Above: Argo Float ready for deployment; below: nothing beats open ocean sunsets

Ship's Log

Current Position
4°26.25’S x 154°10.06’W

Ship’s Heading & Speed
325° PSC, 8.0 knots

Sail Plan
Sailing on a starboard tack under the four lowers (Mains’l, Main Stays’l, Fore Stays’l, Jib), plus the Jib Tops’l, the Fisherman, and the Raffee

Current beautiful sunset with light cloud cover, a cool breeze, and calm waves

Ship’s Company

If someone was to ask me, "What's it like sailing on the open ocean?" I would respond with: Imagine you're in a snow globe, with nothing but the ship, the people on the ship, and the current environment - disconnected from the outer world and in tune with your direct surroundings.  You look in every direction: North, West, South, East, and there's nothing to block the view... just an open globe and time in the now.  At night you view the millions of stars overhead as the quiet black water overturns and the cool wind pulls you along.  At dusk and dawn you see the moon on one side and the vibrant watercolors of refracting light on the other as the sun hits the horizon.  In the day, the deep blue pulls you in, the silent sun warms your skin, and the salt layers in your hair.

A community of your own surrounds you, with a world of unknown directly below.  All held by a single vessel, your life raft and lifeline.  It's a beautiful symphony of peace, chaos, and harmony all at once.  But, the song keeps playing, it is endless - reality is lost and you feel like you could live forever.  What a lovely life to live.

As we make our way north to Christmas Island (Kiribati), we will soon be crossing the equator! It's crazy to see how big the Pacific Ocean actually is.  It seems like we are the only ship on these waters as we have not seen any boat traffic since French Polynesia, and the only land to dodge includes some small islands and atolls.  Along with lots of science and sail handling, today had some special events in store.  This morning consisted of
preparing and launching an Argo float into the ocean.  These floats are basically, automated CTDs, devices that measure temperature and salinity at different water depths.  Argo floats are programmed to periodically adjust their buoyancy so they sink and float back to the surface at set time intervals; recording data along the way and sending said data, via satellite connection, to oceanographers around the world.  Thousands of Argo floats provide data from all the world's oceans and have assisted in our understanding of ocean currents and climate change. The float we released (Model - Nevis, serial # - F0552, ID # - 5904725) can be tracked online at

Our 1400 Class time consisted of the normal weather, navigation, and science reports but ended in a "line chase" - a relay race between watches to see who knew the most lines.  Lots of cheering and hastily walking around the boat to find each line, lead to B watch taking the trophy with 38 lines found in 20 minutes.  Evening led to a beautiful sunset, as well as setting all the sails except for one (the Course Sail).

Smooth Sailing,
Kelly Watson, C Watch, Recent Penn State Graduate (We Are!)

Shout out to family and friends! I'm absolutely loving it aboard the SSV Robert C. Seamans.  Every day brings new experiences and beautiful sights. I'm looking forward to seeing you all and telling you about it, but I'm not sure I'll ever be ready to leave here!

Categories: Robert C. Seamans,Pacific Reef Expedition, • Topics: polynesia.  science  study abroad  research • (2) Comments
Previous entry: Oceanography Projects Underway    Next entry: Equator Bound


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 Susan McArthur on June 08, 2018

Amazing to follow your progress , Kelly
I love reading your blogs!
What a fabulous thing to take part in
Research and explore the world.
I know you will treasure your memories .
None the less, you are brave to put yourself
Out there for the experience and adventure.
Love from Aunt Sue!


#2. Posted by Steve Watson on June 10, 2018

Glad to hear that the voyage is going well.  I have thoroughly enjoyed reading all your blogs.  I have been tracking the ships status every day.

Kelly Watson, you did a terrific job on your blog.  Your mom and I have shared it with all our friends and family.  We look forward to seeing you when you return on July 3.





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