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
April 23, 2019
Propellers, hats and visitors
26 20.5’S x 152 08.1’W
Heading north to Tahiti
350 PSC Wind: SxE, F5
Today was an exciting day aboard the Seamans. We had an all-hands class when the engineers taught us how engines and propellers work, we set a sail for the first time on this trip, and we had a surprise visitor!
A-Watch had the deck this morning. We have been motor sailing for the last couple of days, but just as we were taking over watch the breeze freshened to Force 5 from the SSE, a perfect breeze for setting sails and blowing us on our northerly course toward Tahiti! I was the Junior Lab Officer and Claire was in charge of deck. After a successful carousel deployment and exciting neuston tow, Jay asked us to set the raffee for the first time on our cruise. Having never seen this sail before and nearing the end of our watch with an unrinsed neuston net I was getting nervous for our end of watch turnover.
Yet, setting the raffee turned out to be the highlight of our watch. The raffee, or "party hat" sits above our squares'ls at the very top of the foremast. It is a large triangle that we set from deck - taking it from its bag, attaching the lines, and hauling it up by hand. It is only set in light airs and even then not often, and it is also one of only two sails onboard that are original to the ship - every other sail has been replaced at least once.
While reading on the lab-top after class, enjoying the evening sunshine, I was distracted by my fellow shipmates flooding onto the quarterdeck and staring off into the horizon. I followed their eyes, hoping to see a whale or other exciting marine life, until we were told that an aircraft had just contacted us and was going to fly overhead in two minutes. At the thought of seeing civilization, I shot my eyes skyward excited to see the little dot of an airplane over head.
All of a sudden someone spotted two headlights one-point off the starboard bow grazing the water surface. A small jet came out of the north and flew past the Seamans at around 100 feet off the ocean surface. After lots of waving and cheers from our crew, the plane flew off into the distance before circling back for a second flyby. Finally, Marine 65 came perpendicular to our ship across the port beam and crossed just behind our backstay at which point Paul was able to snap an incredible photo of some of the crew waving to the jet before it disappeared for good.
- Mecky Kuijpers, A-Watch, Oberlin College