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, 2015
Whales at Sunset
14° 09.5’S, 171° 14.9’W
En route to Apia, Samoa
Force 5 from SE, light Cumulus
The time is 2307. My watch and I have just been relieved by night watch, and we have had an incredible day. Today was our second day in American Samoa, though that only lasted until about 1400 when we got underway to sail to Samoa. Our morning was spent training for emergencies-such as Man Over board, and learning how to use important pieces of equipment such as the J-frame (used for science deployments) and harnesses (used to keep us safe in places on the boat where we need our hands free). It was a very informative and busy time and I’m not entirely sure that I got everything, but I am sure the skills and facts we have been learning during our two days of training will soon become second nature since we are now underway and will be learning many of these skills every day.
Speaking of every day, we are now underway! Sailing through the night, I believe we just crossed the International Date Line and skipped October 1st. Casting off from the dock was a few minutes of beautifully coordinated chaos. Lines were being removed from moorings, tightened, and loosened, big white fenders were being run up and down along the port side of the ship and being raised and lowered over the side to act as bumpers so that we would not scratch the paint, and orders were being shouted. Once in the harbor we hove-to (stopped) three times to deploy the CTD, a piece of equipment that measures such things as the salinity and temperature of the water at many depths. It was at the mouth of the harbor when things truly began to get interesting.
Departing Pago Pago coincided with setting our first sails. It was a little bit crazy, and we definitely needed lots and lots of help, but we got everything up and as it should be without too much trouble. Underway we had one of the best ocean surprises I think I could imagine. Just before sunset, we spotted a whale’s blow off the port side. Keeping our eyes trained, we saw a few more blows; however, the best was yet to come. Shortly after, when we were wondering if the whale was gone, we saw the entire creature rise from the water in a beautiful breach. I think we all screamed with excitement, and I know I teared up from the excitement, or the beauty, or the I don’t know exactly what. Anyway, it was one of the best ‘welcome to the ocean’ gifts that any of us could have imagined, and I can’t wait to see what the coming weeks have in store for all of us.