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SEA Currents Blog

SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans

July 16, 2019

Exciting Days aboard the SSV Robert C. Seamans

Izzy Mize, B Watch, University of Vermont


Captain Rick with our overnight passenger; Barry the Red-footed Booby.

Current Position
0° 01.869’ S, 170° 01.163’ W, entered the Phoenix Islands Protected Areas Boundary from the North this morning!

Ship’s Heading & Speed
190°, 7.0 knots

Sunny with scattered cumulus clouds.

Souls on board

We have had quite a few very exciting days here on SSV Robert C. Seamans, and there seems to be no slowing down. July 14th we crossed the equator and celebrated my 20th birthday. July 15th we turned right around, and we spent our day learning how to go aloft and completing our lab practical. Today we officially reached the Phoenix Islands Protected Area, completing our first scientific deployments in PIPA! Soon we will be making our first stop on the island of Kanton so we have been preparing a couple songs to sing for the people inhabiting the island.

It seems as though on the boat, we are always doing something very exciting or something incredible is happening right around us. One of my highlights of the trip has been spotting seabirds. If I am not on watch, sleeping, or in class, I am likely to be found scanning the horizon on the quarter deck with my Central Pacific bird ID guide in hand. As much as I love our inland Northeastern birds, there is nothing like seeing an Albatross, Shearwater, or Booby circle around our boat looking around for a nice fish to eat. Occasionally they will even hitch a ride with us, as places to rest on their long foraging journeys are hard to come by. Our friend Barry, pictured with Captain Rick, spend the night preening and sleeping on our boom. He rightfully earned his nickname; Barry the Boom Booby. Although seeing these seabirds up close and personal is a truly rare experience, as they are not very accustomed to humans here and therefore are not afraid to get too close, it can get a little old once they leave and cleanup of our deck begins.

This afternoon, B watch was scheduled from 1300-1900. It was an absolutely beautiful day with the sun poking through puffy cumulus clouds. A very stark difference from our last shift from 1900 July 15th to 0100 July 16th where we were in heavy rains and winds for the entirety of the night. After a good night’s sleep in my nice dry bunk, I was ready for my watch shift in lab later in the day. We spent the time processing zooplankton and water samples that the morning watch brought up from their deployments. They had done a hydrocast, a tucker trawl deep and shallow cast, and finally a neuston net
tow. This left us quite a bit to sort through.

Firstly we processed the samples by shifting through them and pulling out all the Halobates, which are flies that sit on the surface of the water, and fish larvae. Normally we pull out any large jellies such as the Portuguese Man of War, but we did not find any today.  We set aside 1 mL of our zooplankton biomass for our 100 count sample and preserved the rest in ethanol for later processing with the Halobates and fish larvae. We were left with 3 samples from 100 counts from the two tucker trawls and neuston net deployment.  At this time, we also processed water samples for chlorophyll-a, taken from the hydrocast. Next we took our three 100 count samples to the microscope for identification. Our 100 counts from today were filled with colorful Copepods, many Ostracods, and multiple types of shrimp larvae, true shrimp, Mysids, and Euphausids. Additionally there were a couple different snails in our samples and quite a few Siphonophores (Bishop’s hats). Getting to go through the 100 counts is always makes for an exciting day in the lab, as you never know what interesting organisms you are going to find in the samples.

- Izzy Mize, B Watch, University of Vermont class of ‘21

Categories: Robert C. Seamans,Protecting the Phoenix Islands, • Topics: pipa  polynesia. • (4) Comments
Previous entry: New Skills and New Responsibilities    Next entry: Arrival in Kanton


#1. Posted by Molly Zarba on July 18, 2019

Welcome to PIPA!  Great place to celebrate your birthday, Izzy

It’s been my great pleasure to log on and read each new SEA Currents blog.  Keep them coming! 

You are all so amazing, so adventurous and incredibly blessed to be aboard the Robert C. Seamans.  What a crew!

Mary, Peter and I miss you terribly but we are so very happy for you.  I think you’ve actually convinced your brother to apply to SEA for next summer’s trip. (Put in a good word for him!)  You’re always an inspiration-your Dad would be so proud.  He’s watching over all of you for sure.

Congratulations on becoming Shellbacks, in addition to budding scientists and sailors. How lucky are you!

Safe travels and enjoy every minute, every opportunity
Shmoom (Mary Z’s mom)

#2. Posted by Trish Patetta on July 18, 2019

Captain Rick, Did you enjoy your Swedish Fish? smile

#3. Posted by Kimberly Bull on July 19, 2019

Happy Birthday! 

My father (Cassidy’s grandfather) was in the Navy and he has told us about the Shellback shenanigans that happened when he crossed the equator - and they got a special card to carry.  Did you all participate in any of that??  Just wondering LOL

HAVE FUN and stay safe!


#4. Posted by Michele Korth on July 31, 2019

Happy Birthday Izzy! I am proud of you!
Aunt Marsh



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