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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

June 15, 2016

Smelling the Big Island

Sara Martin, A Watch, Chief Mate

Pacific Reef Expedition

Bonnie on lookout, sniffing out Hawaii (She'll never believe anything I say again if it turns out she can't smell it!)

Ship's Log

Description of location
~160 nm SSW of the southern-most tip of the Big Island

Ship Heading
000° Per Ship’s Compass

Ship Speed
6.4 kts

Taffrail Log
2411.8 nm

Weather / Wind / Sail Plan
Trade winds and big seas / ExN 25 knots, 10-15’ NE’ly swells / Jib, Staysails, Deep Reefed Main

Souls on Board

As we approach the Hawaiian Islands, spirits are high in anticipation of our first tall, volcanic islands since Tahiti disappeared astern four weeks ago. Elaborate calculations are being performed in secret, as various members of the ship's company try to pin down exactly when we might be able to see the heights of Mauna Loa peaking above the northern horizon.  Others are excited about the prospect of experiencing the smell of the islands-Hawaii's ongoing volcanic activity can be sensed on the breeze as the NE trade winds carry remnants of volcanic ash and gases out to sea.

As we approach Hawaii, particularly with our three previous islands stops-all low coral atolls-as points of comparison, I am put in mind of the Polynesian voyagers who first made this journey to the northern-most reaches of the Polynesian triangle centuries ago.  I love to imagine what those navigators felt, following the unique fixed point of the North Star as night after night it appeared higher and higher above the horizon, feeling the swells' refraction and watching the birds' feeding patterns, and eventually smelling and seeing the enormous bulk of the Big Island rise out of the horizon ahead.  It must have been the most incredible thrill, redoubled as island after island of the Hawaiian chain appeared and towered up into the northern and western sky.

Our thrills are not those of first discovery of these islands, but they are thrills of immense accomplishment all the same.   We have journeyed almost 2500 nm (as of this writing), collected crucial data on the status of coral reefs in the central Pacific, steered the Seamans by the stars and the wind and the swells, and learned an immense amount about sailing, science, and ourselves in the process.

- Sara

Categories: Robert C. Seamans,Pacific Reef Expedition, • Topics: s267  sailing  life at sea • (7) Comments
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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 Bonnie Ertel on June 16, 2016

So proud and happy for you !  All my love ,  Dad

#2. Posted by Lynn and Jim Musgrave on June 16, 2016

ALOOOOOHA!  As we watch your ship move closer and closer to our shores, we are anxiously anticipating your arrival in Honolulu Harbor!  (ANDREW - dad says we’ll be able to see your ship from our house as you come in from the east!)  You all have amazing memories to treasure!

#3. Posted by Meg Evans on June 16, 2016

Hey there Assistant Engineer! If you get a chance go hike up Diamond Head this time!!! It was a great hike, but as I recall you and those other sleepy heads couldn’t bring yourselves to get up and go with us!

#4. Posted by David Swanson on June 17, 2016

Happy the see the boat position West of Kona. Philip, we missed your boat there by two weeks. There was a triathlon at Kona two weeks ago. Much hotter and sunnier than Minnesota. See you soon- the dogs will be excited to see you. Let us know when you are on land!

#5. Posted by Melissa Ludtke on June 17, 2016

Love you, Maya, and so eager to hear your voice and hear about your ocean journey. Hugs and love, Mom

#6. Posted by Chris Hensen on June 17, 2016

It’s been so interesting for us reading about all of your adventures.
Thank you all for sharing your experiences!
We look forward to your safe return !

#7. Posted by Sarah Sevilla on June 18, 2016

Jessica Sevilla, as Hawaii is your home, you must be excited to see the islands as you approach by boat vs. plane.  As well as sharing your local knowledge of your reef studies.  Love you, and happy you made it home with great stories to tell.  Love Mom



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