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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

July 11, 2018

Science on the high seas

Makaila Lyons, C Watch, McDaniel College Alum


The mysterious brown specks from yesterday's Neuston Tow.

Ship's Log

Ship’s Position
10°15.96’ N x 163°49.9’ W

Souls on board

Hi Everyone! Makaila Lyons here to get you through the 5th, and still very exciting, blog post of our journey thus far. We're steadily sailing around 6-7 knots towards PIPA, riding on some pretty hardy winds that have thankfully died down a little since yesterday. Clouds have taken over the sky for a longer period of time today, relieving some of the heat, and some of the sunscreen. There's been light rain too, which I find refreshing when it's not heavy. We are still hitting large swells though, which is making for tricky helmsman-ship, and even more difficult deployments. This being said, we haven't been able to make our past two deployments because of safety concerns. Tonight we are hoping to get in another deployment, but only the motion of the ocean is really in charge of that.       

As Nate had mentioned in his blog post yesterday, we were able to get a really great Neuston tow sample yesterday morning, however. I was delighted to be a part of the experience, as I was in lab for our morning watch cycle as well. Among the very exciting Man o' War, which I avoided, we got a whole bunch of fish larvae, as well as a number of mysterious brown specks. Working in the lab, I had originally thought they were microplastics, and considering how many there were, you could say I was less than happy. This did serve as a reminder for me as to why I'm here; I love the ocean and the ecosystem within, and being here on this journey is allowing me to learn so much more about something I love deeply.

Furthermore, I was reminded just how much humans can have an impact. Luckily, the chief scientist quickly revealed that these specks were actually made of iron, not plastic, thanks to a quick magnet test. Although
relieved that all of these specks weren't microplastics, the question remains...where did these specks of iron come from, and how did they get in our Neuston tow? Perhaps a question to be answered on C watch's cycle tonight, when I am in lab again from 19:00-01:00.

In other news we are a day closer to PIPA, and the excitement and antsy-ness is definitely building. I think most of us are excited to sleep in a bed that doesn't feel like a really aggressive cradle, as well as to step foot on land again when we get to Kanton. It will also be nice to have some other company besides those of us that are on the boat, and the two boobies that have really made themselves at home atop our lines (yes, I did
get pooped on.)

That's all for now!
Until next time, Makaila Lyons, C Watch, McDaniel College Alum

Now it's time for some shoutouts to my loved ones! To Mama and Papa: I am safe and trying to adjust to the way things run here on the boat. It's absolutely been a challenge, but I am learning, and growing through the hard times. I'm very excited to get to PIPA and start snorkeling and doing more science. SEA you soon! To my siblings: I miss and love you guys a lot, and happy early birthday Garrett! I'll make sure to get you some Andes when I'm home. To my closest friends: thank you for following along thus far! I can't wait to share my experiences and see your beautiful faces when I get home. To Zachary: I miss you a ton. I wish you were here, but I am doing my best to have courage and make you proud. I think about you daily, but especially when I am looking at the stars on night and dawn watch. I feel comforted by the fact that you are also able to look up and see the same stars. I can't wait to see you, and most importantly, I can't wait to get ice cream and coffee together when I get home in 32 short days. I love you to PIPA and back, and so much more!

Categories: Robert C. Seamans,Protecting the Phoenix Islands, • Topics: pipa  s281  phoenix islands  science • (3) 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 Zachary Jones on July 16, 2018

It is so nice to finally here from you. I am so proud of you for going on this adventure and stepping outside your comfort zone. Everything is going well here and cannot wait to see you again! I love you very much.

#2. Posted by Rose Lyons on July 16, 2018

Makaila, I was so happy to read your blog and know you are safe.  I enjoy reading all the blogs and watching your ships navigation.  I look at the stars every night and know you are looking at them too.  I can’t even imagine how beautiful it is at night with the stars so close to the water.  I miss you so much and can’t wait to see you soon.  I am so very proud of you Bean, more than you can imagine!  Every new challenge you conquer adds to your inner strength and self pride.  You continue to AMAZE me!! I love you! Ano is still a punk, but I love him too.  Love Mama

#3. Posted by Rose Lyons on July 20, 2018

Hi Bean, Just read you crossed into the southern hemisphere, AMAZING! I miss you so much and can’t wait to see you and hear everything.  I love you and I’ll see you soon!! Love Mama



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