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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 17, 2019

Stanford@SEA: Report from the South Pacific

Barbara Block, Chief Scientist


Above: Nathan deploys a plankton net; below: Swim call in the South Pacific, Project planning with Adele and JP.

Spirits are high aboard the SSV Robert C Seamans as our Stanford@SEA students are now experienced sailors with over four days and nights at sea.  We are very close to Iles Maria, the first stop on our cruise track in the outer islands of French Polynesia. The weather has been super calm and warm with very light winds.  We've had a few whales grace our cruise track, leading to a loud call of "Whale ho!" and  we have identified short finned pilot whales, beaked and humpback whales.

Our students are now in their watches (A, B and C) and rotate on 6-hour shifts into "Science" and "Deck" watches. Our daily science deployments consist of two CTDs to sample the oceanography below the ship, two neuston tows to sample the plankton for student projects, evening squid jigging and late night meter net tows. The South Pacific Gyre water is relatively low in productivity as promised- crystal blue. We have sampled the mesopelagic with our nets, and caught a small wahoo in the epipelagic that we released by the boat.

Everyone is now in the swing of things and preparations for the first reef stop are being made by students and staff. We had a wonderful discussion in Conservation class on "What is a pristine place?" We realize now that very few people have ever been to the remote island we have in front of us on our chart.  Iles Maria is protected naturally.

Pictures provide glimpses of ship life including Nathan deploying the plankton net, the entire class taking a swim on a hot day in the South Pacific Gyre, and Adele and JP planning for the reef projects.  Our students are writing blogs, so starting tomorrow there should be regular student entries to look forward to.

From the South Pacific,
- Chief Scientist Barbara Block

Categories: Robert C. Seamans, • Topics: stanford@sea • (1) 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 Nikita dikshit on May 22, 2019

Hi there,

Firstly, thank you so much for sharing your knowledge with us.
Actually, I’m doing research on south pacific sea for my project & eventually I came across your article, it was so good & informative.

Thank you



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