SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans
April 03, 2019
First Few Days aboard the Robert C. Seamans
43o36.7’S x 176o57.4’E
It's our third day at sea! After the initial shock of getting used to the constant rolling waves, and the many subsequent donations made to Neptune in hopes of a safe voyage, it seems as though people are starting to get their sea legs. Everyone has been adjusting to life on watch schedule, where we rotate through deck, lab, galley and engineer positions. My personal favorite position is forward lookout, where you get to stand on the bowsprit of the boat and gaze out over the open ocean. The bouncing of the bow on the waves makes you feel as though you're on a roller coaster, and it's a nice place to contemplate the constant sense of existentialism one feels during life at sea. I have been thinking a lot about the inevitable heat death of the universe.
It's especially nice during night watch, when the sky is clear and you are able to see all of the constellations perfectly. It looks like a NASA satellite image right before your eyes. Another cool thing about night watch is getting to observe the bioluminescence in the water. As the waves crash on the boat, you can see splashes of neon blue-green, and many of these flashy life-forms are then captured in the neuston net tow, which means that we get to haul them aboard and observe them up close.
We've also been learning our lines and how to raise and downhaul all of the sails, which is a fun activity to do as a watch team. I, like many other people in my class, have never sailed before, so getting to see how each sail works with different winds is really neat. I'm looking forward to my first rosette deployment tomorrow, which involves sending the CTD (which measures temperature, salinity, and density) and niskin bottles (which take water samples from varying depths) down to 1,000 meters. When you're doing science on a sailing vessel, there's never a dull moment!
- Cecily Tye, B Watch, University of California at Berkeley