SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans
June 20, 2014
Food, Science, & Sunsets
19° 18.8’N x 156° 16.9’ W
We had a wonderful day sailing today as we headed south east. In the early morning hours, we finally passed the Big Island and made headway into the open ocean. A watch took mid-shift watch from 2300 until 3:00am where we observed the moon rise over the mountains of Big Island and learned about sailing in larger waves and stronger winds, as we went through the inter-island channels. Everyone took turns at the helm, learning to steer, and on bow watch or doing boat checks. Every hour on the hour, we check everything on the boat to make sure it is safe and to catch any issues far in advance before they turn into problems. For some of us, these boat checks proved to be a little challenging the first time, as we had to head deep into the engine room during the large swells to make sure all of our generators were functioning correctly. B watch relieved A watch at 3:00am to take the dawn shift- allowing A watch to bunk up and get some sleep.
While many A watchers slept through breakfast, I was up and about at 0840 to enjoy a nice cup of coffee on deck and to watch C watch deploy science. They deployed the carousel and other devices to gather information from all different levels in the ocean, such as salinity, dissolved oxygen, and chlorophyll concentrations. While doing these science deployments, the boat was hove to, meaning not under sail or engine, for almost 4 hours. Around 1000, we all gathered on deck to enjoy delicious smoothies prepared by our lovely galley team. During that time we enjoyed a peaceful drift amongst light morning winds. Once we got moving again (motor sailing) we deployed the Neuston net to collect critters living in the air/sea interface. While the watches rotated, many people enjoyed the ocean view, worked on homework, and took naps. At 1400 we assembled on deck for whole ship announcements and class. During class we learned more about the Neuston Net and sail handling. Each watch took a sail and practiced setting and striking it. We perfected our ability to make fast (tie down) and make ready the different lines of all the sails. A watch worked the deck after class and a few of us worked in the science lab to process the samples taken from earlier in the day. We filtered water for bacteria. sorted the biomass of the Neuston tow, and did hourly observations of our surroundings. The Neuston net brought up lots of blue copepods, Halobates (marine water stiders), and various fish larvae. It also brought up a baby sport fish, who we named Herman. We placed Herman into a small tank so that we could observe him for a while before setting him free. For dinner we had steak, salad, and potatoes au gratin. Many of us tried to eat quickly so that we could catch the sun set. We were not quick enough, so we just enjoyed the nifty clouds.
So far on this trip, I have done a lot of observation- of the world around me, and of myself and how I interact with that world. Sitting on deck, watching the sunset with the waves gently crashing against the boat, I felt very peaceful. I have yet to fully connect the dots and give a name to that connection between myself and the world around me, but sitting there I felt it, and I think the others did too.
We hope all is well back home and we can’t wait to share more about our journey.