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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.

SEA Currents: SSV Robert C. Seamans



We Are Alone

Amelia McCarthy, A Watch, Bryn Mawr College
Protecting the Phoenix Islands

Jessima Ranney (University of Maine) with the forestays’l and jib set

Ship's Log

Current Position
9° 05.6’ S x 170° 02.6’ W

Ship’s Heading & Speed
355° PSC (per ship’s compass) at 5 knots

Sail Plan
Sailing under single reefed main, mainstays’l, forestays’l, and jib

Clear with scattered cumulus clouds and 32 degrees Celsius. Winds generally eastward and between 15 and 20 knots.

Souls on Board

We have now sailed for more than 24 hours under sail and wind alone, without the engine which, as one of my shipmates rejoiced means no more half-hour engine checks; we were even able to set the tops’l for a time.  More sails will have to wait for a change in course or wind, no matter how eagerly we await more sails.

Sailing may mean fewer engine room checks, but our work has increased: between trimming sails and starting revisions for our papers from shore, we are settling into a routine with little time to spare.

While the Seamans bustles with activity at all times, the ocean around us is but sparsely populated—two vessels, two birds, and less than a liter of zooplankton compose the sum total of life we’ve seen since leaving the harbor of Pago Pago on Monday afternoon.

Truly, we are alone, in the most wondrous way, beneath the clear Milky Way and brilliant stars of night and the azure, cloud-dotted skies of day. You can almost imagine that we have slipped into a world without anyone else, here between the bluest seas and bluest skies of the tropical South Pacific.

Here, when we stand still for a moment, it almost seems that we could feel the awe of the earliest voyagers of these swells.

- Amelia

Categories: Robert C. Seamans,Protecting the Phoenix Islands, • Topics: s274  sailing  study abroad  life at sea • (4) Comments
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Leave a note for students and crew to read when they reach their next port and have access to the internet!

#1. Posted by M Norman on July 17, 2017


#2. Posted by Dyan McCarthy-Clark on July 17, 2017

I can certainly understand the lure of solitude in nature.  Living in the woods of northern Maine, the zen of nature is familiar.  The quiet and peace tends to push one to inner thoughts and reflection about one’s place in the world and universe.  Hopefully, you are all able to enjoy the pure meditative state of your surroundings amid the bustle of ship life.

It is wonderful that you and the crew of the Seamans are exploring the oceans with a close eye, and a view to the possible paths of our world in the future.  Even the most insignificant life form can open a window on what humans are doing to our planet.  Thank you for being among those who are keeping a finger on the pulse of our planet’s future.  The hopes of not only Earth, but humanity may rest in your hands (no pressure…)

Wishing you strong bonds with those on board and a positive, life altering experience that will carry you to a strong future.  Safe journey!

#3. Posted by Kim McCormick on July 17, 2017

It’s virtually impossible to be alone with your thoughts these days, especially for your generation. So what a gift, to be given space to contemplate the stars, to be away from your phones and out of touch with the rest of the world. Treasure every moment of it!
I am trying to imagine the instant when, after sailing the open sea for a week, someone will spot a tiny speck of land - the first Phoenix Island. What will that feel like?
Hoping you’re all safe and well -
Claire’s mom

#4. Posted by Don Barber on July 23, 2017

Beautifully said, Amelia! There is something completely captivating and restorative about gazing into the almost-purple blue of an oligotrophic open ocean like where you are. Wishing you fair winds and following seas for the rest of the cruise.



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