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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

February 23, 2014

S251 Weblog 23 February 2014

Patrick Nease, A Watch, University of Vermont


SSV Robert C. Seamans in the Marquesan Islands

Ship's Log

Current Position
11°43.5’’ S x 138° 30.4’‘W
en route to Mangareva
Course and Speed
150° SSE at 5.5 knots
Sail Plan
Sailing under the four lowers (Mains’l, Mainstays’l, Forestays’l, Jib), the Jib Tops’l and Fisherman
Gentle breeze and 4 foot seas from the ESE, hot and sunny

Ahoy landlubbers, and greetings from the deck of the Bobby C!  We are now in the middle of royal blue waters nearly 3 nautical miles deep with 700 nautical miles to go to Mangareva.  We hope for smooth sailing ahead as this will be our longest open ocean transit yet for the next six days.  We hauled in our anchor last night and departed Fatu Hiva around 2000 (pronounced twenty-hundred, or 8PM).  To give you a scale of the weight and amount of force created by our canvas sails, it took both A watch and B watch- about fifteen people –to set the beastly Mains’l.   After a week of overnight transits between Marquesan islands, we are quickly finding our old sea legs to keep us balanced for the next week.

This transition from land-life to sea-life is a complex one we remember well from the beginning of our expedition, but this time we carry a little more experience aboard.  This transition is markedly bittersweet.  I find it difficult to leave the surreal beauty and experiences I had in the Marquesan archipelago, whose people had a curiously profound ability to play any instrument and make you feel welcome in any of their multiple languages. Diving under a waterfall, hiking to the top of Fatu Hiva’s volcanic peaks, and landing a Blue Jackfish with my shipmate Levi using goat as bait (as well as some original fish serenading compositions) culminated my Marquesan journey yesterday.  If our steward Sayzie’s cooking was any less delicious, I would almost fully understand the English crew of HMS Bounty that mutinied against Captain Bligh to forever live a Polynesian life.

Still, the prospect of smooth sailing ahead invigorates us.  The northeast trade winds will finally be broad against us or behind us for the rest of the voyage.  This means more sails can be set and a lot less of what I consider a “seasick walk”- the cautiously light but hasty steps to the rails on deck where pale-faced, glossy-eyed sailors give some special offerings to King Neptune.  Because we are now semi-pro with the GPS and compass, we began learning emergency navigation techniques on evening watch yesterday using an exceptionally clear ceiling of stars.  Furthermore, members of each watch are now shadowing the mates in charge to prepare for the scaling back of experienced help and the electronic luxuries that have guided us thus far.  Some sort of solace lies in the routine of being at sea, and at least I know exactly when to expect nap time.  Also on the daily schedule is an after-class snack, and this afternoon was passion fruit ice cream fresh from the galley.

Love and miss you Mom, Dad, Ray, and Ce.  Shout out to my homies in West Virginia and Vermont and my chubby bulldog, B. 

Peace Out,


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