SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans
April 13, 2020
Date Lines and Fish Tales
35 degrees, 19.7’ S x 168 degrees, 37.8’ E
Ship’s Heading & Speed
115 PSC, 5.8 knots
Days Underway and Trip Log
Day 6, 10015 nm
Description of Location
632 nm east of East Cape, NZ
Mostly clear skies, 19 degrees C, wind from the west, Force 4
Hello Robert C. Seamans fans, friends, and family! We've had a pretty dreamy start to our voyage, with strong favorable winds allowing us to sail fast and put more than 1,000 nautical miles behind us. The weather has been getting warmer each day and now in the afternoon, off-watch crewmembers can often be found whittling, reading, and playing music on deck in the sunshine. We recognize that we're all incredibly lucky to have made it to this bubble where we can exist in a nearly unchanged world, while the rest of the world is battling global pandemic. The contrast is striking, and all of you are on our minds consistently. We greatly appreciate the work that you've been doing to keep yourselves and our communities safe and well, including all the shoreside ship support we've been receiving!
The most exciting news from my perspective has been sailing across the International Date Line. Crossing the date line has many implications. It is a reminder that time is a strange and made-up concept that we can alter as we please. See many previous blog posts for more thoughtful musings on that topic. It also means that to be in accordance with the world when we reach Hawaii, we need to do one day two times. We chose to have two April 12ths, which just so happened to be my birthday.
It was a surreal birthday; forty-eight hours long, on a crew-only transit from New Zealand to Hawaii during a global pandemic. It was kind of like Groundhog Day. And it was also like Easter (it was). Also Passover. And because it's my favorite holiday, it was also Halloween and we dressed up in silly costumes. We've had so much celebration in the past few days! A big highlight was catching a mahi mahi and enjoying fresh ceviche. I had the opportunity to tie the fish's tail to the headrig, which sailors do as one of their many superstitions. I've been having strong flashbacks to the last time I sailed on the Seamans. Exactly six years ago I celebrated my birthday onboard as a student, my shipmates made me a tasseled birthday shirt, we caught a mahi mahi, and we were Hawaii bound. In some ways it feels like nothing has changed, but in so many ways the world is a different place, and I've changed too. Still, there are aspects of this life that never change: this boat needs to be cleaned nearly constantly. Yes, even though we're all big shot professional crew we still need to scrub the galley mats and clean the reefer when two dozen eggs fly loose on a big roll. It's not always glamorous. You can also count on this vessel taking care of us as we take care of it. Our period of isolation in NZ went by nearly unnoticed because we were so well prepared to isolate together, the boat providing all we need. Finally, the crew remains ever big-hearted, enthusiastic about teaching and learning, tenacious, hilarious, passionate babes. I couldn't have asked for a more beautiful and supportive setting to celebrate a birthday in.
Thanks for following along on our voyage, everyone here is sending love and thanks to all of you who are holding it down and adapting to unprecedented times at home.
- Sonia Pollock, Assistant Engineer, S-290T A-Watchstander
Editor's Note: In response to the coronavirus pandemic, all SEA Semester students departed our ships on or before March 18, with modifications made to the cruise tracks to ensure swift travel home. A small, dedicated professional crew aboard each vessel is working in a closed community to return our ships to the US waters. The crew aboard the SSV Robert C. Seamans complied with New Zealand's 14 day self-isolation period to establish & maintain crew health prior to departing on their open ocean passage.