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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

April 26, 2016


Jaeger Hodge, C-Watch, University of Southern California

Ocean Exploration

Afternoon snack

Ship's Log

Noon Position
27° 53.9’ S x 148° 13.1’W

Description of location
South Pacific Gyre

Ship Heading

Ship Speed
4 knots

Taffrail Log

Weather / Wind
wind-ExN Force 5,  Clouds-cumulous,  barometer-1012.5, temp-23.2°C

Souls on Board

I woke up at 0600 to Charlotte’s soothingly sweet voice quietly repeating my name. I slid open my curtain of my bunk to see her face peering in with the soft light of dawn. She proceeded to tell me every detail of the weather and what I should anticipate for my watch. I slowly made my way up to deck, as I always do in the mornings, to find that it was quite cloudy and drizzling. I didn’t hesitate to put on my foul weather jacket to prepare for my 6 hour watch. This would be our last watch with our mates before we start J.W.O (junior watch officer) phase and have a mate rotation. So I had a feeling it would be a good one.

The sun had just peaked over the horizon and was beginning to break through the clouds when we mustered on deck for the watch change from B-watch to C-watch. Not only did the rain stop, so did the wind. First order of business for watch was to set the top’sl. We sprang into action at the command of,” hands to set the top’sl!” We each had our spots and we all knew what to do, and the sail was set within minutes. I love to see how much more efficient and effective we have become as a unit.

We sailed for a while on a strong starboard tack with water occasionally coming close to submerging the railing. Gabe, one the helm at the time, took one look at me with his sun glasses on and a huge grin on his face and said, “this is sailing.”  It wasn’t long before we had to strike all the sails on then the fore stay’sl and the main stay’sl. That included striking the top’sl and the jib. By then the swell and the wind had pick up a considered amount making sea water whip our faces as we struck the top’sl. It was no problem. The jib on the other hand incorporated going out onto the head rig and furling it by hand. This was no easy feat do to the force 6 winds that howled at our ears and the 14 ft swell that rocked the boat like a rocking horse. We got the sail down and furled. This was our first time doing it without a mate and it felt exhilarating. 

As we slowed the boat with a jibe and passing the stay’ls Gabe announced that he saw something in the distance.  The exact words were,” I think I see a whale.” He said it in a way that had everyone doubting him. But as we all stared into the gleaming shimmering blue on the port side all of a sudden there it was a spout. Then quickly after the first spout was another. Then another. We were surrounded by whales. We got all hands to deck and everyone fulfilled their dreams to see a whale. We all watching in awe for about an hour as whales swam all around us spinning and turning under the water to display their white bellies. It was later determined that they were either Fin whales, Minke whales, or Jaeger whales. We couldn’t determine.

We had class shortly after the whales left our presence and we got into more serious matters. Class went as usual until we had a small leadership exercise and discussion determining what type of leader each one of us are. We each found our spot on the spectrum, but untimely determined that we were all very versatile n our leadership qualities and follower abilities. I couldn’t be more proud of my shipmates, and how far we have all come from the first day on the ship. We have grown as a unit to be a successful powerful team that can concur any challenge. With team work and combined knowledge we are as Jay would say,“ a pot of speggeiti” . Which we ate plenty of for dinner. We are now ready for the next phase and couldn’t be more excited for the new responsibilities and challenges to come in J.W.O.

- Jaeger

Categories: Robert C. Seamans,Ocean Exploration, • Topics: s265  life at sea  sailing  megafauna • (1) Comments
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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 Cari Garfield on April 28, 2016

Hi Jaeger!
Thank you, Jaeger, for the great blog!  Thank you for allowing me to be right with you in the voyage. I love your description!  Whales-Yeah! ! ! Lucky you - an adventure like that is on my bucket list! !  Love you! ! Cari



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