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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

February 15, 2019


Ruby Dener, A Watch, Cornell University


Birthday cupcakes aboard Robert C. Seamans.

Ship's Log

Current Position
36° 25.711’ S, 174° 46.447’ E

Ship’s Heading & Speed

SxSW winds shifting frequently as we move, waves ranging from 1 to 4 ft, with some white caps. Fluffy cumulus clouds and sunny skies.

Souls on board

A 21st birthday celebration on land is deceivingly similar to that underway. Full of well wishes, tasty cakes, reflection, and likely some vomiting. I began my morning with a watch shift, where we made sure the boat was safe and secure and that all was well as the sun rose. Following some coffee on the quarterdeck prior to breakfast, all hands prepared for departure. Lines were stripped of chafe gear, loose gear stowed, fenders deployed, and exit strategies mapped. Finally, it was time to put our plan into motion. With a tradesman aboard (who we lovingly referred to as “Compass Man”), we pushed off the dock like a toddler taking their first few steps: a bit unsure, definitely not quick, but grinning from ear to ear. We motored into Auckland Harbour and spun what felt like a hundred slow circles as the magical Compass Man calibrated the onboard navigation in order to determine the degrees of magnetic deviation.

With the deviation determined, our guest returned to the dock and we were alone and truly underway. After motoring for a few hours out of the harbor, some frantic attempts to memorize the ship’s pin rail diagram, and with plenty of layers of sunscreen applied and reapplied, our eager hands slowly began to take over. The wheel was given to a student, who at the Captain’s orders guided the vessel along course. Other students began raising sails under the instruction of the crew: hauling, coiling, and trimming until she truly looked like a proper sailing vessel. The decks were a flurry with students and crew practicing, trying, and testing various skills and techniques for both sailing and science. There were surprisingly occasional moments for reflection and observation, and watching the small islands and eccentric coastline slip by was not to be missed. Every vessel we passed sped up to get a closer look as on this gorgeous New Zealand day we truly were a sight to see.

A few more hours of sweating and sailing under the beating sun, and many more layers of sunscreen later, we approached the planned anchor location for the evening. As Lily and I were studying the wave crests to determine the sea and wind direction for our 15:00 weather check, the entire crew came on the quarterdeck to sing happy birthday with an afternoon treat. As the frosting melted and mixed with the sweat, dirt, and sunscreen on my skin, I couldn’t help but laugh when I thought of the parallels between how I came into this world 21 years ago and the beginnings of our little voyage—sticky, exhausted, confused, and desperate to know more of what the future may hold. We anchored at 18:00 alongside some wooded cliffs and rolling hillsides, and the sun-baked crew sat for dinner to laugh about our long day of “firsts”, and at how distant our time in Auckland now seemed. Tonight we will stand anchor watch, and try to get some rest before we see what we are up against tomorrow. Happy belated Valentine’s Day to all those with love aboard the Robert C. Seamans and thank you to all for the birthday wishes and (hopefully more to come) fishes.

- Ruby Dener, A Watch, Cornell University

Categories: Robert C. Seamans,The Global Ocean: New Zealand, • Topics: s284  new zealand  study abroad • (10) Comments
Previous entry: The Ocean is Calling    Next entry: Present and In Awe


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 Gerhard Schlanzky on February 15, 2019

Hi Ana,
Nice blog post. Time to get your sea legs. Nothing but insanity in the hemisphere. Hudson is Rising.

#2. Posted by Donna Roeder on February 15, 2019

If it is your birthday, then Happy Birthday.

#3. Posted by Mormor on February 15, 2019

Ruby, Well done!  Your blog surely captured the first day at sea for the Robert C. Seamans’ new crew.  Reminded me of my first “blue water” sailing days.
Happy Birthday…what an incredible way to celebrate!
I wish safe an exciting adventures to all….with good science experimentation.
Enjoy!  Mormor

#4. Posted by Ann Christianson on February 16, 2019

Hi Katey!
We found the blog & inhaled every word.  Looking forward to reading more updates.  Enjoy, enjoy!
Love, Mom & Dad

#5. Posted by Leah Canfield on February 16, 2019

Hi Gabe,

You got your sea legs now, take a pic of a dolphin for me! Take it all in, chance of a lifetime! We love you!

#6. Posted by ruby Dener on February 16, 2019

I finally figure out how to manage this form of communication!

Your ship is beautiful…looks like a Queen Seagull!

Your blog was so realistic I could feel the lurching and bobbing in my stomach not only from the lurching and bobbing of the sea but the excitement of beginning an adventure into the unknown.

Happy Birthday on your 21st.  And Happy Valentine’s Day…but you already know that I love and admire you.

#7. Posted by Peter Gordon on February 16, 2019

Will someone on the boat PLEASE tell Nathaniel from the UK to PUT A HAT ON.

But apart from that all looks amazing.


#8. Posted by Michele Petersen on February 16, 2019

Sounds as though things are up and running well. Keep safe and savor every moment.❤️Love you Samantha .

#9. Posted by Heidi Padovano on February 17, 2019

You all look so happy!  Delighted to see a picture with everyone in it!  And thank you for the detail in the blogs.  Keep it coming…we are living vicariously through you!  How are the stars?

Miss you, love you, so happy for you! 


#10. Posted by Elizabeth Johnson on February 18, 2019

Thank you all for the blog posts. We look so forward to them. We have been tracking the Robert Seamans ship on the website. What a thrilling experience this must be for everyone on board. Trip of a lifetime!
We are so excited for you Kevin. We hope you are well and happy! Today is Presidents’ Day. It is a snowy day here in Brewster, Massachusetts.  There is a little red dog here that is missing you. We tried explaining to her that you are on the other side of the world but she doesn’t seem to be getting the concept. Love you Bud! Mom, Dad, Pat, Meg and little Maggie
We wish you all fair winds and calm seas!



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