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SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans

February 19, 2015

Headed for the High Seas

Sienna Valente-Blough, C Watch, University of Connecticut

The Global Ocean: New Zealand

Scoop sending a birthday wish for Anthony, our designated land lubber.

37° 12’ 16.8” S x 177° 06’ 50.4” E

Off the Mercury Islands

Course Ordered
South South East

Souls on Board

It has been merely 34 hours since we shoved off on our 13-day passage from Bay of Islands to Wellington and the days are already beginning to blend together.  Our first night voyage closed with a bow wave glowing with bioluminescent star streaks, met by a "sky that resembled a back lit canopy with holes punched in it" (as described in a song by Incubus).  We have been following the Southern Cross that outshines the Milky Way cast in a band around it.  Orion, so mighty above, even showed his bow for the first time to this farm girl from Connecticut.  Standing lookout is by far my favorite duty for the night watch.  I stand myself at the foremost step of the bow and face outward to a world that could previously only have existed for me in the wonderment of a child.  For the first several moments at lookout, time did not exist; I was caught in awe of the natural world around me, as my eyes scanned the blanketing waves of the ocean for indications of fellow vessels or locations.  Before turning over the watch, I finished my night by singing "Black Bird," and sending healing energy to my mother recovering on the far side of our world, remembering that we still say goodnight to the same moon.

This morning began with busy bee C watchers scrubbing the deck, stern to bow, in a cleaning frenzy.  Once the wood had returned to its auburn shine, we deployed a secchi disk, phytoplankton net, hydro cast, and Neuston net tow.  For someone that is used to studying soil, the gelatinous siphonophores and salps are new specimens to work with between a set of forceps.  Our Neuston tow sample somewhat resembled a blue jelly, with color coming from the vibrant copepods that inhabit these subtropical, Pacific waters. 

I eagerly await the coming rhythms that life at sea will sway us into as a crew.  Our previously mixed up sleeping schedules will soon seem methodical and balanced.  As our bodies adjust, we will need to manage our time well to complete our assignments for our cultural and scientific immersion electives.  Finding space for self has not proven as difficult as I thought, despite being limited to a 40-meter ship split between 38 crew members. Perching up on the house top and lab top is a prime way to escape from the lively commotion on deck, although you must always be ready to lend a hand to raise or strike a sail if needed.  The oncoming breeze eases any approaching nausea, although our record for today is clean as of yet.

For now, I must turn in, for I am on mid watch from 2300 to 0300 and have yet to sleep.  Until next time, Mama Bear, I'm feeling great, and now it's your turn to get well!

And a Happy Happy 21st to Anthony, our shore-side sailor.  Keep channeling your inner sunshine. 

- Sienna

Categories: Robert C. Seamans,The Global Ocean: New Zealand, • Topics: s257  science • (8) Comments
Previous entry: Heading to Sea    Next entry: Volcanic Islands, Smooth Sailing


#1. Posted by Cathy geib on February 21, 2015

Beautiful post!

#2. Posted by Braelyn Valente-Phillips on February 22, 2015

We love you Sienna.  I really like the detail you put into your blog.  We miss you see you in a few months.  We will keep reading your blogs .  I love you.  Braelyn

#3. Posted by Candace Valente-Phillips on February 22, 2015

Sienna what an amazing post.!  I love your depiction of a night on the high seas.  I could feel like I was there with you.  Thank you for the healing thoughts and want you to know that I have been saying I love you to the moon whenever it peeks out from snowy skies and sending kisses to you!  Your healing energy has reached me—Final path results were abnormal cells but NO cancer or pre-cancer!!  Thank you my love and stay safe.  I love you with all my heart Baby Bear.

#4. Posted by Helen's Parents - Barb and Tim on February 22, 2015

I have learned to read these blogs at home instead of at work, just in case they make me cry, like this one. You are all great writers. The imagery is vivid and beautiful, the characters are fun and the plot is intriguing…what was actually in that dark creepy cave? ...what is a birthday hongi? Neptune ever appeased with his own serving of Adelle’s great cooking?...where is Anthony landlubbing?... and what kind of ship has saloon?  keep the story coming.
Best wishes for Sienna’s mom’s recovery.  Love you Scooter Pie!

#5. Posted by Barbara Beal on February 23, 2015

Happy 21st Birthday, Charlotte!!!  As I write, it’s 3:25 am on February 24, 2015!!  What a memorable birthday this will be on board the Robert Seamans!!!  Sending you all my love and immense birthday wishes today (all day and part of tomorrow)!!  XOXO, Mom

#6. Posted by Anthony on February 24, 2015

Thank you so much for the long distance birthday celebration. The card that all of you wrote for me made my day as I read it from Tapotupotu, 5 kilometers from Cape Reinga. It almost made me cry, but me in my manly ways held back the tears. I can’t wait to meet up with you guys again in Wellington so we can all exchange stories of our New Zealand journeys. I have been thinking of you guys every day and I’m sure you guys are doing wonderfully in the middle of the great Pacific.

Until the 3rd of March,

P.S. Helens Parents: Ive been landlubbing all across the North Island on my own adventure and meet up with the Seaman’s when they are in port as I was supposed to be on the ship with these great people.

#7. Posted by Kiara on March 04, 2015

Sisi what a beautiful post. It brought tears to my eyes. “ this moment I am happy, so happy.” The nearly full moon just popped up over the eastern horizon - it was so magnificent; it resembled a super moon. He is headed your way!

I’m glad you are enjoying this adventure and finding time for yourself. Take care and can’t wait to see you in NZed in 10 days!

- Kiks

#8. Posted by Amber Leigh Blough on March 13, 2015

Sienna, I could not be more delighted by your description of the many ways the wonder of the pacific has enchanted you during your trip. There is endless pleasure in seeing the stars and feeling that they shine just for your and your contentment. Enjoy the final weeks of your trip—I can not wait to see you. Lots of love xoxo. -Amber Leigh (sister #1)



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