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 20, 2015
Volcanic Islands, Smooth Sailing
37°28.57’ S, 177°21.80’E
Bay of Plenty, East Coast, New Zealand
Hove to (stopped) for science
Weather / Wind
Fine, light and variable breezes
The first navigation stars now open their bright eyes. The fading embers in the sky die down and the ship is becoming quiet below deck. Students now dedicating time to study and sleep. The galley is getting a spruce up, as it does every night after a hard day of work. It needs it! In the good hands of the evening watch it will be shining again at 4:15 when the steward and student assistant get up to begin breakfast.
Today was a beautiful sunny day. Setting sails, deploying scientific tows, cleaning the ship and eating meals on gimbaled tables which swing back and forth. Nothing out of the ordinary for a day at sea… oh, except the active volcano on the horizon all day!
Throughout the day we drew slowly closer and closer to the Island known as White Island or Whakaari. The volcano is part of a long chain of active volcanoes stretching from Lake Taupo in the central North Island all the way to Tonga. It’s continuously ejecting steam as stated on the chart and we could see the big steam cloud above it from far away. We have been blessed with the most wonderful weather of sunny blue skies and nearly flat seas for the last few days, with a few more forecasted. However this means slow sailing and there is the need for much sunscreen and sunhats during hot classes on deck.
As we drew closer and after class was finished, A watch took the opportunity to go aloft to the delight of all who climbed and watched. I should probably say that afternoon tea (errrr…. I mean afternoon snack) was my favorite – ship-made chocolate croissants! YUM! Thanks to Lauren our steward and Sarah G., her assistant for today.
Just before dinner we reached our closest point to the volcano and were able to look right into the crater which faces the Southeast. Everyone took lots of photos, no one wanted to miss seeing it, least of all Tyler who had insisted on watch that we get him up if we got within 3 nautical miles of the volcano. After dinner (which was falafels and pita!!) we turned back to the east, leaving the sun setting behind the island, still steaming away. We are now heading back out to sea after our awesome detour. A Watch is on duty and is currently deploying science gear for a long night of tows, and other deployments.
To all those in the cold northern hemisphere Kia Kaha! – Keep Strong! To my family in Whangarei and afar, hope you’re well and enjoying the sun too!
P.S. “Happy Birthday to my little brother” - Trev