SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans
October 30, 2016
26° 18.0’ S x 173° 05.0’ E
Ship’s Heading & Speed
164°, 7 knots
Motor sailing under the stays’ls
Sunny, some fair weather clouds, light winds
Another beautiful day out here on the Big Blue. We are now well into our journey from Suva to Auckland and have settled into our daily routines, which means we have more time and energy to do other things in our free time. Today was also a day of rest which meant we didn’t have class this afternoon—really nice to have that extra time! People used it to go aloft, work on Halloween costumes (you’ll hear more about the festivities tomorrow), work on our projects and papers, do ballet (Dr Professor Mariner Sir Ben Harden taught a class on the science deck and it was hilarious) or just relax. Now that we’re sailing away from the tropics the day temperatures are about 25˚ C and sunny, and night is a little chillier, enough that we’ve broken out our sleeping bags!
Another exciting evolution in our trip is that we’ve entered JWO (Junior Watch Officer) and JLO (Junior Lab Officer) stage. This means that every watch two students step into the roles of mate and scientist on deck and in lab and pretty much run the watch. The goal of this is to give us the opportunity to take on more responsibility for how the ship runs. Even though I know some of us don’t feel ready for this, we actually know so much more than we think we do and have developed solid instincts and keen senses of awareness after more than a month on the ship. I was JWO on deck this morning and it was challenging, sometimes nerve-wracking, but mostly fun and a good learning experience. Morning watch means morning science station, so we had to double gybe the boat in order to heave to so we could put the wire over the side for the Secchi dish and Hydrocast. As I called the double gybe (there are so many steps and things to remember!) I realized how much we as a watch know and how grateful I am to my watchmates for being so on top of it and supportive.
During my watch we also got a call on the radio from a neighbor! Yesterday we spotted another sailboat on the horizon, and this morning he called us to make sure we were ok after seeing our AIS status was VRAM (vessel restricted maneuverability). We are VRAM every time we use the wire for science so we were fine, but it was such a nice gesture and we ended up chatting with him over the radio. He’s a Swiss guy single handedly sailing a 6 ton catamaran, the Blue Bie,
from Fiji to New Zealand, and he’s making 200 nm a day, so he’ll definitely get there before us. Maybe we’ll see him in Auckland!
Today is fancy Sunday, so we all dress up for dinner. And, more importantly, we’re also having Thanksgiving dinner tonight—mashed potatoes, stuffing, turkey, pie, the whole nine yards!! I guess we figured might as well celebrate all the holidays in a row for extra fun.
I have to go put on clothes that aren’t at least 3 days old for fancy dinner and get ready to eat some mashed potatoes! All is well and spirits are high on the Seamans and we’re making the most of the time we have left.
P.S. Hi to mom and Nick, dad and Cecily, and all my friends and family! I miss you all and am looking forward to getting to NZ so I can reconnect. Until then, stay well and lots of love!