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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

May 24, 2016

Safety Training and Setting Sail

Dr Jeffrey M. Schell, Chief Scientist and Associate Professor of Oceanography

Pacific Reef Expedition

A Watch, happily (?), preparing to abandon ship!

Ship's Log

1900 Position
17° 9’ S x 149° 15’ W

17.5 nm N of Tahiti.

Sail Plan
Motor-sailing on a starboard tack under the main staysail. 

Ship Heading
025° psc

Ship Speed
8 knots

Weather / Winds
Winds SE, beaufort force 2, partly cloudy skies, warm and humid. Seas E x N 3-5’

Souls on Board

Today we set sail from Papeete, Tahiti; a momentous occasion. The moment we have all been waiting for, planning for, dreaming of these past many months full of anticipation and preparation.  We were escorted offshore by several species of seabirds, marking our first oceanographic observations of the cruise; and a truly stunning sunset alive with shifting colors. 

This moment in time was built upon months of planning and preparation by the faculty and crew, and most recently, by a day full of training for the newest members of the crew – the eager, curious, and hard-working students of Pacific Reef Expedition. For those of you following our humble blog stay-tuned, you will have a chance to meet each of our adventurous students in the days and weeks to come. But for now, let me tell you of our busy day. 

Days on the Robert C. Seamans begin early, 0600 wake ups for a 0620 breakfast of bacon, eggs, pompulmous (imagine sweet grapefruit), and muffins.  A round of ‘chores’ to keep us looking ship-shape that includes sweeping and wiping below decks, clearing and cleaning breakfast dishes, and scrubbing the teak deck so we can leave all the dirt from shore behind.  And then we launched into a round of training stations, which included: 

  1. Start learning the names of all the lines on the ship and how to safely handle those lines under strain. 
  2. How to safely operate the hydrowinch, a piece of machinery with 3000+m of ¼” cable to which we attach our scientific equipment in order to plumb the depths of the ocean for data! 
  3. How to stand Watch on deck including helm commands, logbook and weather entries, etc.

By then it was time for snack!  Thanks Lauren! 

And the training continued - the essential Watch Quarter Station Bill.  The document which outlines the individual and collective responsibilities of each crewmember during different emergency situations, including – Fire,
Man-Over-Board, and Abandon Ship.  We talked through each situation, we walked through each as a drill and we talked again about all that we had learned. Only then did our esteemed captain deem us ready to set sail. 
And here we are, just north of Tahiti, bound for the open ocean to begin our scientific mission in earnest - to understand the impacts of the ongoing El Nino event upon coral reef ecosystems across the Central Pacific Ocean. 

Stay-tuned, our adventure is just getting started and there is much to explore and discover; so join us. 


PS: To friends and family ashore, sweet dreams.

Categories: Robert C. Seamans,Pacific Reef Expedition, • Topics: s267  life at sea  research • (13) Comments
Previous entry: S-267 Pacific Reef Expedition begins!    Next entry: Bound for Rangiroa


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 Daphne Cannon on May 25, 2016

Hope you all had a exciting day in training. Heather Crosby, you look like a little red bird. Glad to see your face.

Daphne Cannon

#2. Posted by Carole Ertel on May 25, 2016

Whoop whoop - the great adventure has begun!

#3. Posted by Melissa Ludtke on May 25, 2016

Very much enjoying hearing about your preparations to head to sea, and I love your red safety suits. Glad to know you are learning your way around the ship. Sounds like an amazing voyage lies ahead. Bon Voyage!

#4. Posted by Paul on May 25, 2016

Hope everyone is doing well. Stay safe and enjoy the journey.  Please let Alex know the Mets took 2 out of 3 from the Nationals.

#5. Posted by David Swanson on May 25, 2016


I am pleased to see blog notes on sweeping,cleaning dishes, and scrubbing the deck. I am sure this will be one of the many skills that will return home.

#6. Posted by betty crosby on May 26, 2016

Enjoy your blog looking forward to reading more about your adventure .Praying for a safe and enjoyable trip.Tell Heather hello from home!!!

#7. Posted by Nancy on May 26, 2016

Thanks for the blog about this amazing adventure . Love the photos also. Love to Hannah and our best to all her shipmates.

#8. Posted by Chris hensen on May 26, 2016

How interesting & what an opportunity! Looking forward to reading more.
Safe travels Alex & all. Xo Aunt Chris

#9. Posted by Candy Urdahl on May 27, 2016

I work a woman who had considerable experience sailing in the Baltic a few years ago.  I printed off photos of SSV Seamans along with the specs from the website and shared them with her and other work colleagues.  The photos of the ship, where you will be sailing, and what you will be doing left her wishing she was along on the trip.  But not just her, me and my office mates as well.  Stay safe and enjoy the ride.

#10. Posted by Carole Ertel on May 28, 2016

How often do you make journal entries?

#11. Posted by Daphne Cannon on May 29, 2016

Hello how are thing going?? Do you have anymore pictures?? Haven’t seen any lately. Tell Heather hello!!

#12. Posted by Ben and Ashby on May 30, 2016

What new skills and perspectives you must be having. Good for you! May you have fair wind and a following sea. Best to Claire and her fellow sailors.

#13. Posted by betty crosby on May 31, 2016

looking forward to updates on the blog trust all is well and exciting work continues !!!!!



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