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
November 26, 2018
30° 26.13’ S; 178° 13.01’ W
Course & Speed
180°, 3 knots
Four lowers: jib, fore stays’l, main stays’l, and mains’l
Wind out of the Southwest, force 2. Seas out of the WSW, wave height 2 ft. Sunny and hazy, 22° C
Today was beautiful and sunny as we sailed away from Raoul Island towards McCauley Island. This morning B watch had “mini class,” which consisted of myself, the four other students in my watch, and Rich (our history professor) sitting on the deck reading aloud from a story by Herman Melville. The protagonist, a young sailor going to sea for the first time, recounts “I felt very dreamy… I did not exactly know where I was, everything was so strange and new.” I think a lot of us could relate to this guy, especially from the earlier days of our voyage on the Robert C Seamans, which did feel like a surreal dream. Just like Melville’s character, we have been thrown into a unique world unlike anything on land. Life at sea is beautiful and wonderful, but also taking a lot of adjustment. At first it seemed impossible to learn everything we need to know about sailing, lab procedures, and general life on the ship. Making mistakes has definitely been a crucial part of the learning process.
Today was a very important day for students aboard the Seamans because it marks the end of phase I, and the beginning of phase II. During phase I, we were mostly focused on learning and following instructions as best we could. Phase II means that we now get take more ownership and begin to take on leadership roles. Now that we have had a couple of weeks to adjust to the ship’s schedule, we will start managing our own time and ensuring that the tasks our watch is responsible for are completed. Although our watch officers, Captain, and teachers are always around to answer questions, we
must now use each other as resources as well. Even though we may not always feel like it, we have learned so much in the past two weeks. Back in Auckland, I could not have told you how to gybe (turn) the ship or how to find the pH of seawater using a spectrophotometer. Now these are daily tasks that I get to be an active part of.
Although the beginning of phase II feels a bit overwhelming, it also gives us a lot of freedom. Now that we have the basics down, there will be more opportunity to focus our time on other interests. For example, I love going aloft, and had the amazing opportunity to climb the foremast while we were sailing past Raoul Island yesterday. I am looking forward to learning more about celestial navigation, as we plot a running fix using the stars on our way back to mainland New Zealand (I’ll tell you what that means as soon as I find out). As phase II commences, the possibilities before us continue to
expand; as Melville’s character puts it, we have “an eternal breeze astern and an endless sea before!”
- Sophia Stouse, B watch, Smith College