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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 31, 2016

Somewhere Beyond the Sea

Peter Baek, B Watch, Brown University

Protecting the Phoenix Islands

That one time in Kanton - (Right to Left) Perry, Jen, Peter, MC, Jennah, Sergio

Ship's Log

Noon Position
2° 32.5’ S, 174° 19.9’ W

Description of location
Entering Winslow Reef

Ship Heading
335° per steering compass

Ship Speed
6.0 knots

Taffrail Log

Weather / Wind / Sail Plan (from 1300 Watch Change)
Winds ESE, Force 4. Seas 5 feet. Light cover of cumulus clouds. Sailing under the four lowers (Mainsail, Mainstays’l, Forestays’l, and Jib) on a port tact.

Souls on Board

This is Peter signing on, its currently 0430 and B Watch is hard at work on deck and in lab. I have come far, from the disgruntled salty and sweaty mess wearing someone else’s pants that stumbled into lab many watches ago, to the man with the right pair of pants and sea legs ready for action. My fellow shipmates, JB, Panyu, and our amazing “alpha” scientist, Kelsey have just finished the to-do list of tonight's watch from processing the nets full of zooplankton to investigating under the microscope for the 100 Counts, and are in the midst of a short midrats (midnight rations) break before some time to work on our research projects.

Getting to work with larval tuna has been everything that I have dreamed of. As some of you may know, my love for fish all started with Finding Nemo, which I dedicate my passion for science and medicine. It has been very heartwarming to me to be able to, in a sense go back to my roots away from the traditional premedical route and do meaningful research on tuna that will ultimately play a role in the grand scheme of protecting something that is near and dear to my heart, the ocean. It has also inspired me to continue my aspirations of combining my love for the ocean and human medicine.

On another note, I must apologize for the late blog entry. I may be hundreds of miles away from friends, family, and home, but one thing that has managed to follow me to sea is my forbidden romance with procrastination. So in the spirit of procrastination, I’ll turn back the clock to 0600 on the morning of the 30th  to when I was supposed to write my blog and work my way back to this moment in time. 

I hear the triangle rings emanating from the hallway as it nears my bunk signaling breakfast and morning watch. I wake up to the typical pool of sweat and festering heat that is the boiling furnace of 16th Street. Don’t get me wrong, I struggled falling asleep the first couple of days in a place that is as hot as my own body temperature, but now the heat is like a never ending sweaty hug and my skin has never been better from the wonderful skin detox in these 24/7 sauna-like conditions.

It is now 0730 and B Watch has taken the deck. I particularly love morning watch as the sun is rising and the sea is a glistening cerulean blue. The highlight to that particular watch was the time I spent on the bowsprit looking out into the endless horizon where the sky meets the sea. You can ask anyone, bow watch is a time of deep thought, contemplation, singing, and working on those horrendous tan lines. While most of my time at the bowsprit consists of me and my cluttered mind of a thousand thoughts, today was different. After a month out at sea, looking out into the deep blue and the fresh sea breeze gave me a longing sense of peace and serenity.

Fast forwarding to the end of our morning watch and lunch, it is now time for the infamous Field Day. I remember when the words Field Day just meant a day in elementary school where once a year there would be outdoor activities of fun and cool snow cones to cool you down on a hot summer day. Now those two words evoke a very different set of emotions. Field Day aboard the Robert C. Seamans consists of epic battles between the filthy mung that inhabit the freshwater lagoons of the aft heads, sole territory, and all the nooks and crannies of the galley. Let me just say that I have become a pro at annihilating the mung that colonize the bulkheads and have become one with the windex. After a long two hour battle with the mung consisting of sweat, screeching songs that will make even the 90’s babies feel old, and hard work, the collective struggle brings everyone together.

It is now after dinner and B Watch is on top of the dog house gazing at the setting sun and looking up to the stars as they make their entrance across the night sky. These are one of the many moments that evokes a sense of wonder and amazement at the natural world. It is a sobering reminder to how lucky we are to share such special moments where we are one with the sky and sea with such passionate and inspiring people. I genuinely could not choose which one is better, the twinkling night sky or the family sitting around me. However, I can definitely vouch that the illuminating starry sky above us and the calm waves of the sea beneath us facilities many endearing and interesting conversations. The time where I should be sleeping slips away into the night with riveting conversations as dawn watch gets nearer.

It is now 0100 and I’m on three hours of sleep getting ready to relieve A Watch from lab. The drowsiness disappears as I sip away on my Earl Gray tea and the excitement of what gifts from the sea lies in those nets awaits. The hours fly by and here we are again at 0430. As we continue on for the next two weeks and the final leg of our journey, I would like to give thanks to everyone who has been apart of my journey to get where I am today. Never did I think that I would be able to sail the remote parts of the Pacific to visit a place as serene and stunning as PIPA and have the opportunity to swim with sharks and an endless array of fish in this underwater eden.

To my mom, dad, Cecilia, family, and friends, I miss you all so very much and I hope you all are having a wonderful summer. Cecilia, I hope you’re killing it at UPCI and carrying on the legacy of the Baek name at Pitt. Momma and Papa Baek, stay strong and hang in there, know that you guys are always in my heart. One of the many things that I learned from this trip is to live in the moment, and I challenge you all to take the time to stop what you are doing and take a moment to be in the present. I cannot wait to tell you all about the incredible stories and sights I have seen and I am even more excited to hear about yours.

As for shoutouts,
To Joyce, Mike, Mom, Dad, Christian, Chloe, and Madi, Tom asked me to pass on the words- “I will see you all soon! I hope you’re all happy, healthy, daring, and making the most of a wonderful summer. I have some great stories for all of you, some of which a little more ridiculous than the rest;” B Watch and myself are so thankful for his constant humor and energy, you all are very lucky to have him in your life.

To Mama Gaffney, Alison wanted to leave you a message- Happy birthday Mom, love you and miss you and wish I was there to celebrate! See you in 15 days (yeah, that’s all that’s left)!

Warm regards,

Categories: Robert C. Seamans,Protecting the Phoenix Islands, • Topics: s268  research  life at sea • (3) Comments
Previous entry: The Policy Component    Next entry: Cheers to My Newfound Family


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 Alice Gaffney on August 04, 2016

Thank you so much to Peter for giving Alison’s shout out.  You completely made my day, Alison.  Thank you so much. I can’t wait to hug you.  Love you so much. To everyone aboard the Robert C. Seamans, make the most of your last days.  Truly enjoy every moment. Save trips home,  Mama Gaffney

#2. Posted by Ingrid Drucker on August 06, 2016

So, Windex works out there too!
Great photo, everyone looks well!
Perry, your hair grows fast!

#3. Posted by Cecilia Baek on August 07, 2016

Hey Peter!

We miss you back home! Thanks for the update and we can’t wait till you get back! Love you so much!

Cece, Mama Baek, and Papa Baek



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