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SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans

November 20, 2021

Boat Time

Itai Bojdak-Yates, Lawrence University


Team Science brings the sampling carousel back on board after a deployment.

Current position
Lat 27° 38.6’ N, Lon 126° 09.0’ W (600 nautical miles west of Baja California)

Weather / Sail Plan
Hove to (stopped) for science under the fore and main staysails; Fresh breeze out of the northeast, mostly cloudy

Taffrail Log
584.4 nautical miles

Souls on board

We continue to sail (motor) south towards the tropics and fairer winds. This morning the winds picked up for the first time in a bit, and the seas soon followed suit. At the time of writing we’re focused on science deployments (the carousel and tow nets), but we’ll soon get underway again. We might even get some help from the wind (and relief for our poor flapping sails!). It’s warmer and sunnier in these high-pressure latitudes, which has been nice for all of us on deck.

One of the many things that changes when one goes to sea is one’s perception of time. We live on an 18-hour watch cycle – 6 hours on, 12 hours off – every day of the week. The conventional week structure is mostly meaningless out here. Instead, we stand watch in the afternoon, get a good night’s sleep, then stand watch again the following morning. (We call this our “Friday”.) We then have the afternoon off before going to bed early. The following morning/night we wake up at 0030 (12:30 am) to stand dawn watch, then nap during the day before standing night watch from dinner until 0100 (1 am). Finally, we sleep in the following morning, and the three-day cycle begins again with the afternoon watch.

The result of these watches is an unusual sense of time. Some days are extremely long, some are quite short; somebody is sleeping at most hours of the day; food is put out at midnight (“midrats”, or midnight rations); and it becomes unbelievable that we’ve only been underway for about five days. The watch cycle allows for some unique experiences as well: watching the full moon set over the ocean, going to bed at 0730 (7:30 am), lounging on deck in the afternoon, towing nets and sorting zooplankton by red lights at night. It leaves us more fully in the moment, untethered from many of the time constructs we use on land.

We’ve all mostly settled into this cycle, and we’re taking up a bit more responsibility on board as we move towards the next phase of this adventure.

Much love to all those on land.

- Itai

Categories: Robert C. Seamans,Oceans & Climate, • Topics: s301  life at sea  study abroad  sailing  research • (4) Comments
Previous entry: For Science!    Next entry: Night Watch in Still Air


#1. Posted by Beth Marshdoyle on November 23, 2021

Love the detail of life at sea—-the time element was well described and gives me a much better understanding of the daily routine- which quite honestly I had no idea of the responsibilities or even the sleep cycles—how do you sleep in the morning??!  Shout out to Carolyn—What an Adventure!

#2. Posted by Linda Mavretish on November 24, 2021

Yes. Thanks for sharing that explanation with us land dwellers—very interesting and informative. Looking forward to each and every update! Another shoutout to Carolyn! Sending love! Happy Thanksgiving to all the souls onboard!

#3. Posted by Susan Citron-Lyman on November 24, 2021

Itai and friends,
Loved you update and details of your sea days.
Hope your travels are safe and filled with good adventures.

#4. Posted by Deb Yates on December 13, 2021

Hey Itai- just noticed that I can post a response. I’m loving all the posts. What an amazing experience you are having. Can’t wait to hear more in person. Enjoy each moment. Sending lots of love to you out to sea



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