SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans
July 18, 2018
Into the Protected Area
1° 51.817’ S x 160° 22.633’ W
Ship’s Heading & Speed
160° @ 7.4 knots
Brian here again, and what an exciting few days it's been! My classmate and shipmate Andrew spoke about crossing the equator and what an experience that was. I didn't realize how much of a feat it was to cross from the Northern Hemisphere into the Southern and I was so enthralled with the festivities that I even allowed myself to get an equatorial haircut! Shortly after, we crossed into PIPA and now the real fun begins.
At exactly 1900 last night we reached our first waypoint in the Phoenix Islands and data collection began like clockwork. Luckily for me, I was in the lab last night and was able to witness the stunning productivity of these waters first hand. As we turned on the Science Deck floodlights and prepared our deployments, the water was illuminated and revealed a spectacular scene.
Hundreds of squid were swimming around chasing down myctophids for dinner. Occasionally, one would launch itself into the air in a desperate attempt to catch the elusive myctophids. Because of their acrobatics and bioluminescent properties, these squid have earned themselves the common name of neon flying squid. After watching in awe for a couple minutes, we got back to hard work deploying our Hydrocast and slew of nets in order to gather samples from the waters. A few hours later when our deployments were done, we were able to completely appreciate the productivity first hand. My shipment Sadie, who was also on lab duty, and I, spent what felt like forever washing all the biomass out of our Tucker Trawl Net.
When our chief scientist Gabo came over to inspect our work under bright white light, it was revealed that we still had a long way to go. We spent another hour washing all of the zooplankton and biomass out of the net into sample buckets and Gabo remarked how she has never seen anything quite like it. As 0100 passed and I headed below to crash in my bunk I looked off our stern and saw a solid glowing, green trail of bioluminescent water and this evening we were treated to a spectacular sunset that pictures do not do justice. We truly are in a remarkable place.
The next few weeks are going to consist of lots of hard work and lots of fun. We will continue to zigzag our way through the protected area deploying our gear at predetermined waypoints. Tomorrow, we will see our first sight of land, Enderbury Island. We will not make landfall there however, but it will be nice to know that in this vastness of the Southern Pacific Ocean land does exist.
By Friday we will reach Kanton and make our first island stop. I am beyond excited to explore the coral of its lagoon and hopefully will get to see a few small sharks! These next few weeks in PIPA will fly bye and I hope you all stay tuned to see and hear more of our adventure!
- Brian Desrosiers, C Watch, Northeastern University
Shoutouts: Mom, Dad, and Peter, I am still having a wicked good time and hope all is going well back in Massachusetts! I love you guys! I look forward to coming home to a shower I don't have to shut off every 13 seconds and to finally being completely dry in clean clothes. Peter, I hope you're enjoying your job and not living off of Mom and Dad's dime anymore.
Melanie, don't worry love, I didn't cut my hair too short and I'm sure it'll be back to its normal length by the time I get to Boston! I hope your co-op is going well and that our friends haven't driven you off the deep end by the time I get home. Look to Ian for some sanity (only time I'll ever say that)! I'm sorry I'm not going to be there for the 21st but we will make up for lost time soon and I'll chew your ear off with all of my stories. I love you and think of you every day!