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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

September 30, 2016

We are the Soup

Ben Eliason, C Watch, Villanova University


The Lovers Islands, American Samoa

Ship's Log

Current Position
14° 26.4’ S x 170° 44.3’ W

just outside of Pago Pago Harbor!

Ship’s Heading & Speed
7.9kts at 193°

Sail Plan
The Fore and Main Stays’ls

Hot and humid as always. Light winds, sunny and partly cloudy

Souls on Board

Today we finally set sail and left the harbor. It still seems unreal to believe we are actually sailing away half way around the world in a tropical paradise. There are smiles all around as we take in the sea breeze and head toward the vast ocean in front of us.

With so many things to do as we started making way, we all had different jobs to do such as helmsman, lookout, and people striking and setting the many sails. I was the lookout today and got to stand clipped in on the fore stay up on the bow. It was truly a beautiful experience as I constantly scanned 360 degrees around seeing the green mountains of American Samoa behind and the deep blue ocean in front of me.

The first thing I saw out of the harbor was a bunch of birds all feeding in a concentrated area. As we got close I could make out decent sized splashes coming out of the water. I wished for a rod and reel to cast
right in the middle of it all, but alas, that is not our ship’s purpose (however, we are trolling a fishing line out behind us).

As we left, Capt. Jay instructed us to wave goodbye to American Samoa, and as we did, she waved right back at us. A pod of porpoises who were following us poked their heads out behind us. Moments later we saw our first whale of the trip waving at us.

As excited as we were to finally set sail and see a whale, those were not the only exciting moments of the day. While still anchored in the harbor, C watch did the ship’s first science deployment. It’s a pretty
complicated procedure as you have to get the heavy equipment to the deck, set up the equipment, set up the cable, attach the cable to the equipment, and finally raise the equipment out and over the side of the boat. Once in the water, we had the equipment collect water samples every 5 meters all the way down to 30 meters.

Everyone is doing their best to stay happy and healthy aboard the ship. We are all using and re-applying sunscreen multiple times as day. We are also being careful to stay hydrated and get plenty of rest. The food is wonderful as we have an amazing steward in Bex. She is truly an amazing human being, feeding all 37 of us 6 times a day (3 meals and 3 snacks). You are probably still wondering about the title of this blog entry. Since today was the first day we hit the open ocean, it was also the first day we unhitched the table tops. The purpose of this is to allow the table tops to swing with the boat so that nothing falls off. As like everything else on this voyage we jumped in head first and our first meal with the moving table tops was turkey soup. You could see as the boat swung side to side the cowls would stay steady but the soup would be moving with us. I am very proud of myself for not spilling any of the hot soup on myself or others! 

As we apply more and more of our knowledge, we are all slowly becoming masters in some areas of sailing. We are constantly learning and still have so much more to learn about all aspects of sea life.

We hope for fair weather and hopefully a little more wind. We are making significant progress and hopefully next stop is in Tonga!

I’m going to get some sleep before my next watch tonight so wake me up when September ends.

- Ben

Previous entry: Safety at Sea    Next entry: Right Now is my Morning


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