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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

March 19, 2017

The Sounds of Bob

Shem Robinson, C Watch, Middlebury College

The Global Ocean

Bob (PC Adam)

Ship's Log

Current Position
42° 29.8’ S x 173° 53.6’ E

Ship’s Heading & Speed
240° at 5.1 knots

Force 4 winds, blue skies with a thin blanket of cirrus clouds, swells coming from the North west of only about 5 ft.

Souls on Board

Since we've left Wellington, reminiscence that starts like "I'm really going to miss." has begun to filter into our everyday conversations. The other day, sitting on a port-side deck box, Elsbeth and I couldn't stop talking about how much we're going to miss good old steady Bob, our uncreative yet endearing nickname for the Robert C. Seamans. When you live on a 135-foot boat and it's your job to attend to the details it's easy to become hyper-familiar with every nook and cranny.

In the first week, when we learned about boat checks for the first time, Eric, my watch officer said to "look, listen and smell when below deck" to make sure nothing's out of the ordinary. I remember looking around and thinking to myself, how in the heck am I going to tell that? Well, I must say, as a well-seasoned boat checker with a record nearing triple digits, I think I finally know what he means. In particular the routines of sounds that rotate in and out of my day like clockwork are incredibly predictable. In this moment I can close my eyes and imagine walking through the boat, from room to room hearing different sounds intrinsic to those places.

Sounds are especially apparent when the sky is dark and the ship is asleep. As I walk on deck with my red headlamp, there's somewhat of a tune produced from the luffing of the wind, the clicking of my harness against my chest, and the water sloshing against the boat. If we are motor sailing, the hum of the engine joins the orchestra. I lift my head towards the sky and pivot until the wind sounds equal in both ears and I mark its direction. As watch begins to wind down I crawl into my bed, the whipping fan on 16th Street (the bunks on starboard aft) lulling me. In the moment just before I drift off, the chirp (our depth sounder) becomes audible saying goodnight and reminds me just how much ocean sleeps below me.

If I listen closely I can make a rough guess of our depth based on the lag time between two chirps. The next morning I wait patiently under my sleeping bag. Above the noise of A-Watch chatting in the dog house, footsteps on the ladder nearby and the wind, I hear the breakfast bell! Its familiarity is comforting and pulls me out of bed for another day aboard the Seamans.

- Shem

A special shoutout from Kristina: "Happy Birthday, Dad! I can't wait to see you in a couple days.maybe we can get pho or patty's? I've been craving it! Love you and miss you (and Mom too). -Tina"

Categories: Robert C. Seamans,The Global Ocean: New Zealand, • Topics: s271  life at sea • (0) Comments
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