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 06, 2014
The Vastness of the Ocean
13˚ 07’N by 162˚ 07’W
Hour after hour, mile after mile, the horizon remains a flat blue constant. Clouds and some rain pass by overhead intermittently throughout the day and night as swells rock the Seamans back and forth. It seems as if the surrounding world is stuck in the same loop while life on board moves forward. The ocean is a big place. And by big I mean really big. Standing at the helm of the Robert C. Seamans for a few hours, it hit me today how much of our world is covered by blue. Looking at any map on shore it’s easy to dismiss the vastness that is the ocean, and undervalue the importance of its protection.
Comprising approximately 70% of the Earth’s surface, the world’s oceans provide sustenance and employment for so many people on land. Yet fish stocks and habitats are consistently destroyed across the globe. What will happen to all of us once the ocean stops giving? The creation of Marine Protected Areas, such as the Phoenix Islands Protected Area, serves as an effort to promote an understanding of the ocean and its habitats. One of our goals in policy, backed up by scientific research, is to find balance between human activities and a healthy ocean ecosystem.
Despite multiple reef bleaching events, the ecosystems surrounding the Phoenix Islands have made miraculous recoveries. The processes driving these recoveries and the environmental influences (or lack thereof) are of great interest to all on board and the oceanographic community as a whole. Knowledge gained on this expedition could be used to achieve balance between human activity and the needs of the ocean.