SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans
April 15, 2015
A Day of Culinary Trials
31° 46.0’ S x 148° 26.5’W
Course & Speed
000° True, 4.8 kts
All four lowers (Jib, Stay’sl, Main Stay’sl, deep-reefed Main) plus Jib Top’sl
Wind ENE, Force 3, scattered cumulus, moderate swell
Another lovely day under sail. Thanks to a little help in the form of wind from a low pressure system to the south, we were able to shut off the old 'iron sail' (the engine) for most of the day today. Although as Assistant Engineer this piece of equipment is fairly central to my role here, I much prefer the sound of the wind in the rigging to the rumble of cylinders. The knowledge that we are taking efficient advantage of the free energy available here is satisfying, and the easy motion of a ship under sail is much more conducive to such activities as vacuum system maintenance and sitting below decks reading about electrical theory.
Today was also "Staff In The Galley Day." In order to show our appreciation to our stellar steward, Vicky, all RCS staff took a turn cooking a meal or snack. We kicked off the morning with 'Rick's Diner,' a smash hit offering made-to-order omelets by our Captain. The line stretched across the saloon before 0630, however, no one was turned away. Other crew members displayed their culinary prowess, adding many regional styles to the mix throughout the day. Leah, who had the particularly demanding role of Assistant Steward for the duration of this event, demonstrated noteworthy patience with the chaotic scene and probably actually contributed more overall than any other single individual.
In other food-based happenings, Chief Scientist Deb Goodwin led a class on the topic of how different wavelengths of light travel in seawater. Delving into such age-old questions as, "Why is the sea blue?" various visual aids, equations and physical laws were offered as explanation. All of these, however, were merely hors d'oeuvres. The main course of scientific knowledge was presented in the form of a glittering bowl of candy. M&M's, as it turns out, are particularly suited to the task of demonstrating the subject at hand. They are slightly negatively buoyant and represent much of spectrum of visible light in their colors, yet are consistent in size and shape. The class split into three groups, each of which dropped various colors of M&M's into the water and recorded the length of time each was visible before it sank out of sight. When all was said and done and the data compiled, the blues and greens showed to be visible far longer than the others. This showed the ability of these wavelengths to both penetrate deeper and be reflected back to the surface more effectively than others.
Now that's what I call food science.