SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans
February 21, 2019
Can Ya Gybe with it?
35° 04.745’ S, 174° 11.085’ E; Russell, NZ
Ship’s Heading & Speed
075 at 4 kts
Wind (Direction: W. Beaufort Force: 5) Sea (Dir: W. Height: 4’) Clouds (8/8 of sky covered. Main type: Sc)
Today was day one of our 12-day sail from Russell down to Wellington. The near future is both exciting and daunting as we will not set foot on land for the next two weeks or so. With that being said, everyone is settling back into the groove of being on a watch schedule and adjusting well to life at sea after being anchored for two nights. The watch schedules rotated for the first time today and with the rotation brings a lot of sleepiness, mystery, and fun. As my new watch officer said, “all the watch officer pairs are ice cream; just different flavors”. Today everyone tried two new flavors of ice cream but this was my experience from day nine of being on the Robert C. Seamans.
This morning at 0550 I got a lovely wake-up from my dear friend Sofia saying that it was time for me to get up to stand anchor watch. I’m not sure if anyone before me has explained this yet but basically anchor watch entails making sure the ship has not drifted anywhere by taking headings from waypoints, checking the direction of the anchor tension, looking at our position on the radar, etc. Anchor watch also includes doing a boat check, which is when someone walks around the boat, making sure everything is in order, and then goes down to the engine room to check certain values to ensure everything is running smoothly. After my hour-long anchor watch, my partner, Caleb, and I turned our duties over to B watch so they could get us underway. Then, Caleb and I had blueberry pancakes for breakfast together as no one else was awake for the 0700 breakfast call… more pancakes for us. After breakfast I headed back to sleep so I could recharge for the busy day ahead of me.
I woke back up just in time for a lunch of enchiladas and catching up with friends to see what I had missed all morning. After lunch I met with my new watch officers, Foretek and Erin, to set expectations and intentions for the next four days while we are in their “loving clutches,” as Foretek put it. We then had class at 1415 where we spent most of our time learning sail handling techniques and how to gybe.
Before learning to gybe, we first set up the mains’l and the jib. Once we set up those sails we had a total of four sails set and we could actually turn the engine off, which was very exciting. The fun part of class was learning how to gybe. This is something you do when you want to turn the boat but youl need to change the direction the sails are pointing. I won’t bore you with the intricacies of gybing, but I will say that practice definitely makes perfect… we all need more practice. The mates did it first so we could see the big picture and then do it ourselves. After the mates gybed, each watch group took turns doing it as well.
By the time each group had a turn, my watch time had already begun. From the time we stopped gybing until 1900 I was on watch in the lab. We didn’t have much to do today in lab so we helped gybe for a fifth time and then did a 100 count from a Neuston tow earlier today. I counted lots of copepods and “other snails” which is really any snail shell that isn’t a pteropod. After watch we had chicken pot pie for dinner which, as my mom knows, is one of my childhood favorite meals that I really don’t eat that much anymore. A nice taste of nostalgia before bed.
Speaking of bed, I need to be awake at 0230, up on deck by 0250, and it is now 2033, or better known as my bedtime where I’ll be praying to Poseidon that I don’t need to break out my foulies on watch. To my friends and family, I miss and love you with all my heart and can’t wait to tell you about the adventure I’m about to have when we next make port. Also to my grandmother, Grandy, I’ve been wearing your seasickness bracelets (that I swore were a pseudoscience) since the day we set sail and I haven’t gotten sick once… knock on wood
Peace and blessings,
- Lily Newman, A Watch, College of Charleston