SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans
Final Leg for S-257
45° 39.3’ S x 171° 51.0’ E
6.0 knots under the stays’ls and tops’l
Weather / Wind
Well, here we are in the third period of S257, with Otago harbor fading into the distance off our stern and just over a 200-mile journey ahead of us to Lyttleton. Six weeks of hard work are starting to come to a close as the students wrap up projects and papers for all of their classes. JWO/JLO phase continues and students are stepping up as leaders on deck and in lab to bring us home on this final stretch- a challenge that all are more than ready for, despite what they may think. With 30 science stations completed between here and Auckland, over 1700 nautical miles sailed, and countless callouses formed from hauling on lines, everyone has come a long way from the wobbly-legged landlubbers they were when they stepped on board in early February. As one of the assistant scientists on board, it’s always my favorite time of the trip as I get to see all of the sampling effort from both on deck and in lab come together in final science reports. Today we learned what Tyler found out about geostrophic flow around New Zealand and about plastic densities from Jill and Eleah. More presentations to follow in the coming days, so stay tuned!
I may not speak for everyone (particularly those whose stomachs are a bit sensitive to the motion of the ocean), but it feels good to leave land behind us and have the ship rocking along at sea once more. As they say- there’s no way like underway! But regardless of personal preferences vis-à-vis the motion of a ship at sea, I’ve also always loved the sounds of being at sea. Instead of the traffic going by, the people shouting on the dock, or the even the deafening helicopters we heard at Wellington, at sea even the sounds seem to slow down and become more focused on our tiny floating world. As I write, I can hear the waves splashing against the port lights, Mary singing a haunting Irish song as she bakes in the galley, and the Chirp bottom sounder quietly keeping pace in the background as it chirps along (27 meters deep at last look for you benthic aficionados).
While the next few days mark our last seagoing leg of the trip, the small things like this make each and every day at sea special. Despite all of the students being elbow-deep in project work- be it final papers or posters, or engaging in lively debate over “Would You Rather?” questions- I hope everyone finds the time to appreciate the last days at sea before we are all subjected to the demands of land life in just a few short days. Take that final trip up the foremast, spend an hour on the lab top writing in your journal, or just sit on a deck box and enjoy the (cold) breeze on your face and the sight of water in all directions- you may not get the opportunity to do so again soon.
If you need me, I’ll be knitting on the foredeck.
PS. A big Happy Birthday from across the date line to my friend Dan Stone! Hope it’s a good one buddy!
PPS. Hi mom! Thanks for all the cat pictures in my email inbox! Love to you and the fam!