SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans
April 14, 2014
Ahoy outside world!
7° 23.7’ S x 141° 25.8’ W
Course & Speed
350 degrees (N x W) at 7 kts!
All fore & aft sails
Cool, clear, full moon with a few cumulus clouds in the sky
We are back underway and remembering how this sailing thing works. It was an amazing extended stay in Nuku Hiva, full of lush tropical forests, waterfalls, and charismatic megafauna. Absolutely the highlight of my birthday was completing a boat check while on anchor watch around 4 AM, and being called up to the quarterdeck to watch one, then two, then three manta rays swimming up to our boat, floating dreamily around in our stern light, somersaulting and waving to us. It was breathtaking; I never imagined I would be seeing such a beautiful animal!
Now that we’re back to sailing there are different breathtaking moments. Last night as I stepped on deck for the mid-watch at 2300 I was practically blinded by the nearly full moon! Taking the helm with a bright and shiny moon in the sky and Scorpio blazing over my left shoulder reminded me of all that I love about learning to sail. It’s wonderful getting back into the swing of things. I’m loving the breeze of apparent wind as we’re making 7 knots, the feeling of doing hard work and seeing immediate results, realizing how much more I know now than when I started and how much more I have to learn. Since leaving Nuku Hiva we’ve been sailing with the direction of the waves instead of against them. It makes a huge difference - as Alia said in our watch meeting this morning, it feels more natural, as if this is what Seamans wants to do. I especially notice it while sleeping in the foc’s’le and being rocked to sleep by the waves instead hearing them crash against the hull as we bounce wildly in our bunks.
This smooth motion is helped by sailing under all the fore and aft sails, meaning the jib, JT, stays’ls, mains’l, and the fish! Today was the first time we set the fish (fisherman stays’l) on this trip, and I found myself crazy excited when I learned that it would be set! I had the same giddiness yesterday when I learned that we would be setting the squares’ls (tops’l and course). It makes me laugh when I think of how different things are at sea, that setting the fish could be one of the highlights of my day, but it’s truly exciting to be learning new things about how to sail our ship. I’m looking forward to all sorts of different sail plans as we head across the Equator, into the ITCZ, and up into the northeastern trade winds.
The final news from the Seamans is that there has been a recent outbreak of mustache shaving on the boat. Four of the crew - the two engineers, a scientist, and a student have all shaved their facial hair into different cringe-inducing staches. We’re all slightly afraid of how far this outbreak may spread, and looking forward to any potential ceremonial facial-hair removal in the future.
Life is beautiful on the ship. As I sign off I’ll be heading above-decks to watch a complete eclipse of the full moon. Thank you so much family and friends for supporting me and helping me to end up in this amazing place. I love and miss you all!
Mom & Dad, opening your cards on my birthday gave me so much joy - they were perfect! The temp tats were a hit too. Happy birthday Joel! I know your concert went amazingly, and I hope you celebrated in style after. Happy (early) birthday Kendra! I imagine you’re having a perfect tea party and I wish I could attend.
Alia says ‘Hi Momgolia!’