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SEA Currents Blog

SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans

December 12, 2014

Gybing, an unexpected treat, a Shipek and aloft!

Karissa Vincent, B Watch, Wheaton College

The Global Ocean: New Zealand

Karissa aloft, overlooking the ocean, the course yard in view. Nothing but the open ocean in sight.

Current Position
45° 00.4’S x 171° 17.5’E

Sunny, with a few clouds!

Sail Plan & Course/Speed
Motorsailing with Course 020

Though we only left Dunedin yesterday morning, that seems like ages ago to me as I am awoken from my slumbers by a voice informing me that I have 20 minutes until watch starts, that it’s slightly chilly on deck, but there are no signs of adverse weather. I grumble some semblance of “alright I hear you,” and as the voice walks away I slowly get out of bed. It seems as if I just went to bed not too long ago…

Our sea voyage around New Zealand has been split into thirds – in the first part (Auckland to Wellington), we learned as much as we could, getting the sails/lines/terms and pretty much everything under our belt. The second part (Wellington to Dunedin) was when we were in the “shadow phase,” with one student every watch is following their mate/scientist to understand their role more fully, focusing on the bigger picture. We have now entered the third phase (Dunedin to Lyttleton, and on to Wellington), wherein we, the students, become the junior mate and scientist (known as JWO and JLO on the boat). What that means is that we are doing most of the things the mate/scientist would do, reporting directly to Captain Rick and Deb. There is no middle man anymore.

Phase three is an exciting time on the ship; the JWO/JLO know ahead of time that it is their turn so they are able to prepare. Being JWO is a lot of responsibility…my watch (2300-0300) went well, but next time I will be sure to ask more questions ahead of time! The rest of the day was filled with sun and a few clouds in areas, but overall it was a beautiful day. Many of us relished this beautiful weather and some even tried to work on their tans! This was a big change for all of us due to the consistently cloudy and chilly weather we have been having.

So it made a nice change for us to have class outside, in the sun! Today’s class was an elective (Directed/Practical Oceanographic Research) meeting day, which reminded all of us that we are in the final countdown… Our final manuscripts are coming up! That’s an exhilarating and yet scary thought. The completion of class was met with a surprising treat – banana chocolate bread with chocolate sauce and…. ICE CREAM! We were all a little shocked by this, a rare commodity that we have yet to see on the ship. Ice cream is one of the things that most students go searching for during port stops. Having ice cream on the ship was a pleasant surprise for all of us!

Personally, my day ended on a fairly exciting and fun note because not only was I able to go aloft (SO AWESOME!!!!), but we were able to do a Shipek station. This is exciting for me because this is what my DOR project is based on (seafloor sediment and pH comparisons), so it was fun and exciting to be a part of potentially the final Shipek for this voyage. This site proved to be different than the last ones, but is still interesting and will be good to analyze – I look forward to it.

Overall, I had a fun-filled (though relatively tiring) day that was a good start to the voyage from Dunedin to Lyttleton. It’s sad to think that this journey is coming to an end so soon. But I am taking as much out of this experience as possible and living every moment to the fullest – as are we all on the ship.

Best wishes in this holiday season!

P.S. Mom and Dad – miss you loads! To my friends and other family – be safe, travel well and I miss you all! Love y’all!

Categories: Robert C. Seamans,The Global Ocean: New Zealand, • Topics: s256  research  sailing • (1) Comments


#1. Posted by Karissa's Father on December 15, 2014

What a pleasant surprise and treat!
Very glad to learn all is well, not that your mother and I ever doubted it would be so. The photograph of you is excellent too.
We trust you will maximize your good memories over these final few days of your voyage. We can hardly wait to hear about everything once you are ashore and return home!
Merry Christmas to you and all aboard!
Mom & Dad



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