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
November 30, 2016
29° 56.0’ S x 178° 05.8’ W
Course / Speed
220° PSC at 2kts for neuston tow
4 lowers, single reefed main
Clear, wind SxE F2
A few days ago we shifted into phase 2, otherwise known as shadow phase or apprentice phase, where one student on each watch shadows the mate or scientist to learn what they do and how they make decisions. Yesterday we rotated watches, the students and interns stayed together while the mates shifted to a different watch. This was accomplished by having the Captain and Chief Scientist stand the morning watch to push the mates and scientists back 1 watch.
What this meant for me was that I stood 2 dawn watches in a row. My favorite part about dawn is getting to look at the night sky for hours on end. In the middle of the ocean the only light pollution comes from the RCS and at night that is pretty minimal. On a typical, mostly clear night you can expect to see multiple shooting stars, the Southern Cross, a bright milky way, and the clouds of Magellan.
On the first of my 2 dawn watches we had one of the rarer, perfectly clear, moonless nights when the stars seem impossibly bright. On one of these nights you can expect to see multiple shooting stars every hour, some of which are likely to be very bright, lasting for over a second and covering large stretches of the sky. There might even be a couple that leave smoke trails. One student came back from an hour of bow watch and reported seeing at least 6 shooting stars (hopefully they spent some time looking forward too).
My favorite part of nights like this is the fact that the dark parts of the sky are not actually dark, or empty. There are no stars visible in them, but you can see that there is something there emitting just enough light to keep the area from being dark.