SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans
November 02, 2015
Five Things I Know to be True within the New Zealand EEZ
31° 22.1’S x 173° 36.6’E
232 nm from Opua, New Zealand
False sense of fall in the southern hemisphere, sunny and crisp, wind SExE, force 2-3.
Five things I know to be true:
- The wind will change direction in the last ten minutes before watch turnover
- Befriending the steward has many perks (plus Bex is pretty cool regardless)
- Foulie pants are worth wearing for midwatch, even when the sky is clear and the stars are out
- Buffs can and will be used as ear warmers/hats
- Calling the galley a “kitchen,” the soles “floors” and ladders “stairs” will be met by an eye roll and a prompt correction by mates and other crewmembers.
It’s been nine days since we left Suva and everyone seems to be well adjusted to the watch rotation. As the temperatures have gone down, the ships energy level seems to have gone way up. Gone are the days of a
watch-nap-eat rotation, energy is high on the ship, with post-dinner rounds of whist and hearts, afternoon workout parties, and even the occasional practical joke. But with all the fun has also been many project and paper deadlines, even some morning classes (“Five things I know to be true” is an exercise from of one our morning classes—a writing workshop with Ems).
Moving out of the tropics and into the temperate zone has not been the only change; it is now JWOW (Junior watch officer week), which means we (the students) are now charged with the responsibilities of a mate. We are expected to use our leadership skills and sailing knowledge to lead the rest of our watch, including calling the setting and striking of sails, informing the captain when the wind or weather changes drastically, and managing the helm/lookout/boat-check rotation. Having already had my first JWOW watch I have realized that I know more than I thought did, but that there is always something to be on top of as the one in charge. Luckily, my fellow A-watchers, Cordelia, Sadie, Erica, Greg, Sharthak, Hannah, and Avi, all have their own strengths that allow our watch to run fairly smoothly. Our combined knowledge of sail handling, science, and even creative song writing has created a watch that can take on any challenge whether it be setting the raffee, tediously picking out individual pieces of seagrass from a Nueston tow, or rewriting songs for field day pump-up. As JWOW week continues and we gain more responsibility within our watch groups I am so thankful for the unique and dynamic characters within A-watch.
It is hard to believe that we will be arriving in New Zealand in two days, and leaving the Robert C Seamans in a week. As I think about my time aboard what stands out the most are the people aboard. You get to know people pretty well once you have lived on a 134-foot ship with them for a month. The experiences I have had with the members in S-262—seeing a whale breach in the sunset on our first night, crowding the quarter-deck in hopes of seeing the “green flash,” and even the seemingly mundane activities like cleaning the galley mats during evening watch—are entirely unique experiences that I will likely never have outside of this setting.
P.S. from Annelise Hill: Happy Birthday to my Mom, Nicole! I love you so much and hope you had a great day!