SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans
July 19, 2018
3° 06.386’ S x 171° 06.098’ W (Enderbury Island)
Hove to for science deployment.
Land Ho! After 2 weeks aboard the Robert C. Seamans we have laid our eyes on land. The Enderbury Island was used in the 1800s for mining guano. This guano was then shipped off to make fertilizer. After the discovery of less isolated location with just as much guano, the island became uninhabited, and has remained so ever since. Although this is the case, remnants of anthropogenic impact are still visible on the island. These include markings for the entrance to the mine, remains of small stone huts, and the presence of invasive rats that harass the bird population of the island.
It is strange to see land after a 2 week period at sea. My eyes quickly became accustomed to focusing on nothing but the horizon and skies, and the presence of an inanimate object so close to our ship seems surreal. Beautiful, but surreal. The island is sparely decorated with a few trees and shrubs, while the majority of the surface is covered by a mixture of bird excrement and sand. Surrounding the island are reefs that shelter the island from the open ocean swells that we have been sailing alongside. The stopping of this swell energy results in the swell almost doubling in height before folding on top of itself, resulting in an explosion of white water.
In taking a full 360° observation of my current reality, the significance of the island is hard to wrap my head around. From where I am standing, one direction leads to over a 1,000 nautical mile journey back to Honolulu, with no land to disrupt the atmospheric processes causing weather, and very little visible life. To my other side, there is a 5 mile long island occupied by thousands of birds, schools of fish jumping out of the water, and open ocean energy being stopped by the presence of coral reefs. To think that I, and every student on this ship, shares responsibility for traveling into the Southern Hemisphere, and getting us safely to this small piece of land, leaves us all feeling proud and accomplished.
Tomorrow we are scheduled to make port in Kanton, where I, and my fellow shipmate Charlie, will begin our data collection observation algal-coral interactions. We speak on behalf of everyone on the ship when we say that we cannot wait to combine the joy of swimming in the tropics with growing our intellectual curiosities concerning marine biodiversity in PIPA.
Time for another amazing dinner by Sabrina, our Steward.
Until next time,
To my family: Being away without any form of communication has caused a different level of missing you guys. I cannot wait to spend the last few weeks of the summer doing what we love where we live. Beans, HAPPY BIRTHDAY! So proud of who you have grown into. We can celebrate when I get back (maybe madi can help out too). Jack hope all is well my man, keep on keeping on. Mom and Pops, I love you guys so much, thank you for shaping me into the man that I am today. Also, could one of you text Madi to remind her about these posts?
Madi: HI! I wish I could share this experience with you (although you definitely would have gotten sea sick, I didn't, even though you said I would. HA). I miss you every day, it's just the little things that pop into my mind periodically that make me smile and miss you even more. thanks for those. I haven't surfed the new board yet, but the memories from Waikiki are still fresh in my mind and will be with my when I finally get to ride it. Have to run to dinner before watch. Can't wait to talk to you and then see you (I'm ready for an Aguilera pool day). Te amo, Andy