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SEA Currents: SSV Robert C. Seamans

May 27, 2016

Reef Survey in Rangiroa

Bonnie Ertel, UNC - Chapel Hill

Pacific Reef Expedition

Me enjoying snorkeling before adventuring into the coral reef!

Ship's Log

At anchor in Rangiroa Lagoon, southwest of Passe de Tiputa

Souls on Board

Today was a very exciting day for the crew aboard the Robert C. Seamans, as we were able to complete our first (of many) reef surveys! The surveys began at 0730 and continued throughout the morning, giving each Watch ample time to collect necessary data, pictures, and snorkeling experience. As someone who is not extensively familiar with reef snorkeling, this was an incredible first experience. There were corals, fish, invertebrates, and even a few curious, but harmless, black-tipped reef sharks paid a visit! A majority of the corals in this area were bleached, but it was nonetheless breathtaking to see so much life centered in one ecosystem. Most data is yet to be analyzed, which is what we plan to do the next few days on our track to our next stop, Karoraina atoll (or Millennium Island) part of the nation of Kiribati.

After we wrapped up reef surveys, we waited for the correct tide and left Rangiroa's lagoon, from which we were so kindly escorted out of by a group of bottlenose dolphins! As we smoothly sailed along, they played near our bow and appreciated the crew's adoration. Though they left us, we have since sailed on and are now long gone from the beautiful water, corals, and dolphins of Rangiroa.

Besides just today's reef surveys, life aboard the Seamans has been quite an exploration in itself. As students, we have spent these past five days learning all the ins and outs of what it means to be not only a mariner but also an oceanographic scientist. We have had a lot of information poured into us and we are trying our best to soak it all up. Also, a lot has been demanded of us physically, from cleaning to hauling lines on little sleep.

However, at the end of the day (at whatever odd hour that may be), a hard day's work is worth it when you can lay on a freshly scrubbed deck and gaze past set sails to see the millions of stars ahead of you, leading the way. Overall, these first few days aboard the SSV Robert C. Seamans have been quite an adventure, in and out of the water!

With much love to all of our land friends,

PS: Mom, I do miss having clean clothes and sheets, but I do not miss your cooking- we have a world-class steward.

Categories: Robert C. Seamans,Pacific Reef Expedition, • Topics: s267  port stops  polynesia.  research  megafauna • (6) Comments


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 Carole Ertel on May 31, 2016

So good to get an update from your journey.  Sounds like y’all are having an amazing adventure.  And lastly in glad you are enjoying the food haha

#2. Posted by Ross Ertel on June 01, 2016

Bonnie - what a great write up on days activites !

#3. Posted by Ross Ertel on June 01, 2016

Hey Bonnie - hope this mail goes thru , as have sent several and none seem to ” land” . Anyway , your write up was wonderfull and the pic of you relaxing under water was to cool . Sounds like your having a great trip and look forward to future updates when you have time .  Love Dad

#4. Posted by The Pica Family on June 02, 2016

Great pic of you in the deep blue sea!  Happy snorkeling and safe swimming to everyone.

#5. Posted by Betty Mostella on June 02, 2016

Enjoyed hearing about your voyage.  Sounds like a lot of work and fun!  You are making a lot of “forever” memories!  Love, P&G

#6. Posted by Chris Houpt on June 06, 2016

Hey Bonnie!! It sounds like you’re having such a good time and getting to see so much incredible aquatic life. The dolphins giving you guys a little show is hilarious. Try not to work too hard and I can’t wait to hear all about your adventures when you get home!



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