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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

July 14, 2014

We made it to PIPA!

Rachel Greenough, B Watch, Second Mate, brand new shellback


B Watch gathered in the doghouse, sporting all new equatorial haircuts.

Ship's Log

1° 48.8’S x 170° 21.5’W

Sail Plan
All fore and aft sail with single-reefed main.

Hot and sunny with the occasional towering cumulus cloud.

We made it to PIPA!  After more than 1500 nautical miles, we motor-sailed into the Phoenix Islands Protected Area right on time at 2000 last night.  As we hove to in preparation for our first PIPA superstation, we were greeted by the passage of a squall and a truly spectacular moonrise. Since our first squall, B Watch has greeted weather phenomena with a round of the song game, in which we brainstorm and sing lyrics that feature a particularly relevant word (rain, sun, clouds…).  Last night, the word was “moon.”  Frank Sinatra, Blue Moon, and nursery rhymes passed the time while the lab prepared for superstation deployment.  All in all, the first hour and a half of watch was pretty typical for an evening aboard the Robert C. Seamans in the equatorial Pacific: some heavy rain and galley clean-up followed by a glorious view and scintillating science.

From the deck side of things, the stations we will deploy throughout this leg of our journey are a great opportunity to understand and hone our shiphandling skills.  Each night, we will deploy a hydrocast (for which the ship must be hove to, or as close to stopped as we can be underway), a Neuston tow (a surface tow for which the ship must move at two knots), and a Mochness tow (a deep tow for which we must start out moving at least three knots).  As wind conditions shift and change, we are always on our toes, ready to change the plan at a moment’s notice to ensure successful data collection and ship safety.

Deep tows have always been my favorite science deployments from a ship handling perspective.  It is a little like a three-ring circus in which you must monitor the ship’s position relative to the wire, ship speed through the water (and resulting wire angle), the ship’s position relative to the wind (point of sail), and the factors outside the ship that may affect our speed and safety (squalls, traffic, and wind changes).  Tonight will be B Watch’s first shot at a Mochness deployment, and we are looking forward to putting our practice into action.

We are all excited to hear the call of “land ho!” sometime in the next couple of days as we approach Enderbury Island.  We are also looking forward to seeing this unique and incredibly remote place, and getting a taste of what the next three weeks will bring.  The first leg of our journey has come to an end, and the next has just begun.

We’ll let you know how it goes!

P.S. Happy birthday Mom!  Hugs to you and Dad and Caper.  Morgan, all the everythings.  Everyone following along at home, hope summer is treating you well, and I’’ll see ya soon!

Categories: Robert C. Seamans,Protecting the Phoenix Islands, • Topics: s254 • (0) Comments
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