SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans
April 08, 2015
Calm seas, sunshine, and stars!
41° 22.0’ S x 156° 34.0’ W
Course & Speed
Course ordered and steered 055 PSC, Speed 5 knots
Sailing under all fore and aft sails (the fisherman too!)
Clear starry skies, light winds out of the NNW
The past two days have brought calm seas and clear skies, sunsets, sunrises, stars, Magellan clouds, star fixes, moonrises, climbs aloft, net tows, hydrocasts, ukulele and violin on deck, laundry, silly conversations, serious conversations, late-night paper writing, cloud gazing, far too many delicious snacks, lots of peanut butter, sextants and charts, scrubbing decks and deep cleans, gym workouts on the fore deck with the “celestial bodies,” laughter… The list goes on and on! It has been six days since we left Waitangi Bay in the Chatham Islands, and we are all beginning to get used to life away from land and new sleep schedules.
Yesterday, we encountered the calmest seas and warmest temperatures of our voyage so far. It’s fitting as we have entered into the 150’s west longitude and are now beginning a gentle turn north towards the Austral Islands. The sea waves and swells decreased in size and the surface of the water was covered with small ripples. Today, the winds picked up and we were able to shake a reef out of the main and set the fisherman for the first time.
A Watch climbed aloft for the first time yesterday and watched the sun set from the yards of the foremast. It was a beautiful sunset full of red, orange, silver, gold, and purple rimmed clouds reflecting off of the water. Being out here in the middle of the ocean so far from land, family, and friends makes you appreciate the simplicity of life and the importance of routine, community, and humility. We have all been pondering time as we prepare to switch into yet another time zone later tonight. It is such an artificial construct, and yet it defines our routines here at sea. Somehow the days all run together and never seem to stop, time goes too fast! Being observant of the world around us, the weather, ship, shipmates, and marine life is such a privilege that we too often ignore on land. I hope more people can spend an hour outside at night staring at the stars or a morning watching the sun rise over calm seas.
I’ll end with a few anecdotes from life aboard the Mama Seamans these past few days. Humor is essential at all hours of the day, and we don’t seem to lack any of it! Captain often begin afternoon class by bending over to tell us all a joke, and we ended watch meeting today with a game of pictionary telephone. During the line chase, we were told to find halyards, sheets, downhauls and the many other lines on the boats, but mixed in to the pile was the task to deliver a “pick-up line” and our final task was to form a “conga line.” A few days ago, a mock newspaper appeared in all of the heads full of salty puns and news “headings.” Today during our lab practical, question 22 said to process and analyze “this” sample. “This” sample happened to be a bowl of M&M’s. A tasty surprise!
It has been an incredible past few weeks at sea and I couldn’t ask for a better group of people to spend it with. It is such an amazing opportunity to be able to create our own community here – one that is supportive, efficient, curious, and fun-loving. I have learned to be curious and ask questions and to observe the small details in the world around us, details that are often the most poignant and memorable. Dawn Watch awaits so it’s time to get some sleep! Sending all my love back home, and to Josie, it has been 3 weeks and your werd surch is still keeping me bizzie!!