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SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans

July 15, 2015

Approaching the Equator

Elise Ziemendorf, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Protecting the Phoenix Islands

My slightly terrifying view of the stunning, calm Pacific Ocean.

2° 4’ N x 166° 35’ W

Wind SSW, BF 1

Course steered

Ship speed
6.5 knots

Souls on Board

Even though it’s all we see day in and day out, the Pacific Ocean never ceases to take my breath away. There have been days where it is flat and glassy, shimmering under the sunlight, and the deepest blue I have ever seen. On these unexpected days, I’m almost reminded of lakes from home, where the only obvious movement is ripples on the surface from the wind. Except then I look further to the horizon, and realize that this body of water has no visible end in any direction; its vastness is nearly incomprehensible. 

Then there are days, like part of today, where the ocean has a blue-grey hue due to cloud cover, and is usually accompanied by white caps and waves that remind many of us that we actually do not have good balance. Occasionally, we get a larger swell that crashes into the side of the ship and splashes overboard, reminding me just how powerful the ocean is. Today, while many of us peered over our bow at a small tuna fish swimming in and out of our waves beside our ship, we all, at some point, experienced a salty splash or gush as we bounced along.

As of this afternoon, the ocean is also providing us with a game: Captain Pamela proposed we all guess (or attempt to calculate for those who still remember trigonometry) at what longitude and what day and time we will officially cross the equator. For many of us, this will be our first time entering the southern hemisphere. We are currently nearing two degrees north, and excitement, in myself at the very least, is growing. The equator is just a milestone marking us that much closer to PIPA, which is a destination warranting even greater anticipation and enthusiasm.   


P.S. Happy Birthday Harrison!

Categories: Robert C. Seamans,Protecting the Phoenix Islands, • Topics: s261 • (4) Comments
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#1. Posted by Bonnie Quinn on July 16, 2015

This picture is breathtaking!  All of the pictures you have posted have been awesome but this one is beyond words!

We all feel as if we are getting to know you new family away from home through their descriptive accountings and amazing pictures.  You and your classmates are making it such a pleasure to live this adventure through your eyes.  We look forward to logging on each day to see what new, exciting post awaits our eager eyes!  We know you are taking a ton of pictures, and we can hardly wait to see them and hear every detail.

Treasure every moment of this important mission and great adventure!

Love… The Quinn Clan!

#2. Posted by Bil Ziemendorf on July 16, 2015


As usual I’m impressed with your “eye” for capturing an incredible photograph. And true to form - this one is a beauty too. (I enjoyed your previous pictures also.) As I read your blog I can feel how much you are enjoying the trip and how it is impacting you. Your excitement is contagious and I am excited for you.  Enjoy!  Love Dad

To All—what an amazing experience and adventure. I suspect and truly hope you are all having the time of your life.  Enjoy and be well.

#3. Posted by Mary on July 18, 2015

Hi Sweetie,

I have been waiting anxiously for this day to hear from you. As I read your blog,  I could hear you and knew you are right where you are suppose to be.  What a beautiful sight you have shared through the lens of your camera!  It is indeed breathtaking and you have done what you’ve talked about….climbed the mast (?) and recorded it for us all to experience.  Anna and I have been following your trip on my globe because I need those visuals and it puts it in perspective.

I think of you and your crew mates daily and grateful for all you are doing for our planet earth. 

Love and Hugs,




#4. Posted by Best sister ever (Anna) ;) on July 18, 2015

Elise…you are such an adventurer.. I cannot believe that you’re actually on a boat in the middle of the ocean, SUPER HIGH UP. You’re crazy! I hope you’re having a blast and I miss you so much.




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