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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

December 17, 2018

Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey

Kate Spencer, B-watch, Syracuse University


Sunrise on Great Barrier Island.

Ship's Log

Current Position
36° 02.03’ S x 174° 56.03’ E

Course & Speed
195° , 1.5 knots

Sail Plan
Jib, Fore stays’l, Main stays’l, Mains’l

Clear and sunny except for a few clouds, moderately warm with light winds and seas

Souls on board

Monday the 17th has been so eventful! It started out with an optional yoga session lead by Elliot. The sun started to rise during the session and continued well into breakfast time. It was truly special watching the world awaken; seeing the sky lighten and the mist around the island become more visible and eventually dissipate. This morning was definitely worthy of Ceili’s term of ‘sunrise/sunset appreciation.’

Cleaning of the ship ensued shortly after breakfast as well as some other maintenance of the ship to prepare to get underway: the Defender (one of our small boats) was strung up like a freshly caught fish to dry out a bit before stowing it away, extraneous objects used while at anchor put next to the Laz hatch to be put back in its place, and people moving from place to place completing tasks and finding new ones.  A poster session of our oceanographic research was held after a tiresome night of preparation and the completion of chores. It was productive in that we learned more about our research when explaining it to the people who have not been staring at the data for way too long. Then we had time to do work before lunch time. Thus ends ‘day 1.’

‘Day 2’ starts with lunch and B-watch taking the deck just after getting underway. Class was a work period until someone came down and said that there were dolphins near the boat. We all clamored up onto the deck to catch a glimpse of them before they would inevitably disappear. Just as I got onto the deck Megan got on the PA system to correct the statement about dolphins actually being whales! They were pilot whales that are smaller compared to bigger whales such as a sperm whale. It was amazing to see them so close to the boat, dive under it, then swim away off the stern. Afternoon watch continued as it would normally except that we were so close to land that there were so many birds and islands to see.

Being on Lookout towards the end of watch was incredible. There were so many gannets (native New Zealand bird) that were feeding by diving straight down into the water. It’s really cool to see. It will be flying like it normally would, then suddenly, you see it fall from the sky and splash down so quickly. A few seconds pass and you wonder if the bird is alright until you see it surface and act like nothing wild happened like diving from at least two stories up right into the ocean. Thus ends ‘day 2.’

‘Day 3’ starts with dinner and ends with bedtime. A lovely meal was made by our amazing steward Sabrina and a helping hand from Sophia. More homework was worked on after cleaning up to hopefully be done before the 2200 deadline. Someone came and got people working in the main salon to appreciate the sunset, one of the last before we depart from the ship. It was beautiful, as the all are. What was incredible was that not even two minutes after coming up to take pictures a giant (at least a yard in diameter) manta ray was seen off of the starboard side of the ship! It stayed very briefly but all who were present got to see it do a backflip before diving for food. At the end of this section of the day, we all were amazed that we only just left Great Barrier Island that morning. It seemed so long ago. 

Each watch seems like a day in and of itself, remembered only by the extraordinary happenings that are not found most or in any other watch. Once off watch for a while, it seems as if a new day has started in a way, because of the stark differences of being on verses being off watch. Also, when at sea, the days were not really marked by the clocks around the ship and affixed to everyone’s wrist, but the waking moments in between times of sleep. There is so much that happens every single day that the way the brain makes sense of it all is to think that more days are occurring than actually are. It seems that we have been on this ship together for more than two months now rather than a mere six weeks.

I think I can speak for most when I say that we have grown to be a family in the relatively short time being together on this ship. I honestly can’t believe that this voyage is almost over. I know that on land the days can drag on and seem to last forever, but it will never be like a day at sea. The days multiplying in your mind and extending this experience out so it feels like you have traveled back in time when you look at what day it really is because you think that, ‘no, surely more time has passed since I last checked!’ I have loved most days being out at sea, and I’ll treasure it all as time resumes it’s normal pace when back ashore.

- Kate Spencer, B-watch, Syracuse University

P.S. Happy birthday dad! Hope you had a great day and I’ll see you soon!

Categories: Robert C. Seamans,The Global Ocean: New Zealand, • Topics: s283  study abroad • (0) Comments


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