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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 28, 2018

The Giant Clams of Orona

Rosie Wigglesworth, A Watch, Harvard University

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Giant Clams in Orona Lagoon! Photo Credit: Gabo Page, 2nd Assistant Scientist.

Ship's Log

Lat/Long
4°30.9’S x 172°13.7’W

Heading/Speed
Anchored

Weather
Sun setting and hot

Souls on board

Hello all!  We are a few hours from hauling back the anchor and getting underway once again.  Orona has been incredible.  From jumping off the bowsprit and getting to climb aloft, to exploring the atoll and snorkeling in the lagoon, the adventures we have all experienced here have been some of the best of our trip.  This morning began for me with dawn anchor watch from 0540 – 0700.  I had the unique experience of watching the sun rise as the full moon set.  Clouds rose up from the tops of the trees on Orona like mountains and we watched as the Southern Cross slowly faded from view.  I do not think I have ever seen something more beautiful.

My Orona experience has been largely highlighted by incredible snorkel trips.  I spent hours in the water swimming around outer reef with baby black-tip reef sharks, turtles, bump-headed parrot fish, dolphins and a whole host of other tropical fish.  My favorite snorkeling trip however, did not include sharks, but rather giant clams.  The inner lagoon, which looks like a text-book definition of tropical paradise, was full of thousands of them.  Every rock and reef had them wedged into every crevice.  You can only see the outline of the shell and mantle of the clams but they are amazing.  Each one a slightly different size, the clams were fluorescent shades of purple, green, blue and turquoise.  Every time I reached a new patch or reef, there were more, each different from before.  I absolutely loved it.

We only have about two weeks left before docking in Pago Pago.  It is hard to believe that we are about to embark on our second to last significant ocean passage and our time onboard is nearly over.  I still have papers to finish, navigation skills to learn and a thousand miles of ocean to cover.  The adventure continues!  We will reach Winslow Reef in a few days and then head back down south to Nikumaroro.  I don’t think the swimming could be better or snorkeling, island and ocean views more beautiful but I am excited to find out!

I need to sign off and head to sleep.  It is only 18:56 (6:56 pm) but I have found that when darkness settles in, it is automatically time for bed.  For me, this is being reinforced by the fact that I have to stand watch from 0100-0700.  Until the next time!

- Rosie Wigglesworth, A Watch, Harvard University

Shoutouts!  Mom, Dad and Nick—Hi!  I miss you and wish I could send you pictures and tell you about this trip.  This part of the world is so beautiful and I want to share it with you.  My definition of hot is definitely being re-defined.  The temperature fluctuates between 28 and 33 degrees Celsius.  I am sweating all the time and I now think that temperatures lower than 25 degrees (~80 degrees F) are cool.  I can’t wait to see you in a few short weeks and spend some time in Ipswich!  Nick—have so much fun in Portugal!! Dad—enjoy the Arctic!  I can’t wait to hear about it.  Mom—enjoy Maine  , let’s get some taffy when I get home.  Give hugs to Sally, Bodie and Lassie for me.  Sending all my love.

Reactions

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 John C. Wigglesworth on August 01, 2018

Hi Rosie
Wonderful to read your blog and learn of your experiences. Wow swimming with sharks. I sail for the Arctic on Friday August 3. While you are experiencing heat, I will be in the Ice and trying to stay warm.  Though roughly on the same longitude I will be several thousand miles north in a different ocean. Never thought we would be at sea at the same time in such uniquely different oceans on different ships. We should write a story about it.  See you in few weeks. I am so happy for you.  Love, Dad


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