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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

June 24, 2015

What A Great Day: Birthdays, Charades and Dolphins, Oh MY!!

Brianna ‘Bri’ Belo, A Watch, American University

Aloha Aina

Felishia and Bri catching sight of dolphins.

Ship's Log

Direct Visual of Lanai to the North

Souls on Board

I guess the morning weather foreshadowed a great day. My day started out calmly with an 0700 watch. When we arrived on deck the boat was moving quickly but steadily under clear and cool skies. The weather was perfect, not too warm or too cold, with a nice breeze to compliment the morning. Mentally preparing for a six hour watch can be difficult, especially when you aren’t sure of the tasks your shift can behold, but the weather made it easy. In addition, with this being our fourth day of actively sailing, seasickness has pushed its way out. Instead, disorientation and uncertainty has been superseded with a sense of acclimation and appreciation. With that being said the atmosphere had a lighter and more peaceful air.

Around 0900 A Watch was scheduled for our private class session with (Professor) Brenda Jensen. Class entailed a review of the fundamentals and concepts surrounding the new Humpback Whale Sanctuary proposals. We also learned about the various types of whales and dolphins that we were likely to see on our voyage through Hawaiian waters.

After class on deck we began sail handling in order to slow the ship for science equipment deployment. During our sail handling we worked with the Main, Jib and JT sails, we “Gybe’d” the ship twice and eventually changed to a Port tack. With the Line Chase Relay fast approaching handling all those sails helped cement the names and uses of all the lines.  In the words of our Chief Mate, Scott, we are becoming “slightly less useless”.

Shout-out to our wonderful Stewardess Vickie and her equally wonderful assistant Marissa, I’m always looking forward to the meals and snacks. This morning’s snack of ‘make-your-own-parfait’, containing Greek yogurt, fresh berries and granola, did not disappoint.

At 1415 we had class on deck, but instead of a normal lesson plan we played zooplankton charades! This variation of charades consisted of vocab and drawings that depicted organisms or objects that we could expect to find in a Phytoplankton Net or Neuston Tow deployment. Although, A Watch had a pretty rough start to the game with only -5 points for a majority of the game, we made a come-back and won in the final round. Everyone should love a good underdog.

With the energy and excitement still flowing from our intense game of charades, we found out some more exciting news: it was Jeff’s Birthday! So our afternoon snack called for ice cream sundaes.

Lanai teaching preparations came after snack and all of the students along with the mates divided up into preferred teaching groups. Just like we did back on shore a few weeks ago during our first visit to Lanai, we will be teaching students from the summer Field School Program about life and work onboard the SSV Robert C. Seamans. The varying stations are as follows: Sail Handling, Boat Checks, Lab Deployment, Plankton Counts, will take place on the ship, while Gumby Suits + Safety, Throwing Lines + Tying Knots, Ship Vocab, and a Pulley System Demo will take place onshore.

After class and some more sail handling, A and C Watch had some downtime to relax and decompress. Joe and Derek played the guitar for a bit and then Joe gave me some lessons! I figured it’s never too late to try and pick up a new skill. After about a half hour of lessons on deck, Jeff and I went to go check on the bacteria samples we’d been gathering for my portion of research. While we were taking photos of the samples we heard excited shouts all over deck. As it turned out there were dolphins following the ship. On the ship’s port side and towards its bow, about fifty dolphins raced and glided through the waters. I couldn’t believe it! The dolphins blew water from their spouts and jumped and twisted through the air. These particular dolphins were smaller and darker the widely known bottle-nose dolphins, it was later confirmed that they were ‘Spinner Dolphins’. Their appearance was incredibly timely considering I had just learned about them that very morning. The pod followed the ship for about 20 minutes before departing to less traveled waters. After all that happened the only thing that could’ve made this day better would be showering! But with conscious conversation comes sacrifice, I guess I’ll continue to stick to the 3 day rule.

I had an early night and was in bed by 2000 to get a wink of sleep before having to get up for our 2300 to 0300 watch shift.

PS: Hi Belo clan!! I hope I’m making you all proud while I’m away! I’m so grateful for how supportive you all have been, I couldn’t ask for a more amazing family. No matter how far I choose to go I’ll always come back home. Love you guys!!

Thanks for listening,
All the Best,


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 Tonja Belo on June 29, 2015

Brianna - we are so proud of you. Continue to learn and grow send show the world just how kind, cool, and smart Jesus is…
Shine His light wherever you go!!!

Safe travels to the entire crew. Praying for you.



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