SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans
Just Another Day In The Office
Anchored off Rairua, Raivavae
Course & Speed
All sails harbor furled
Clear, balmy, with variable winds
Half the ship's company (who'd spent yesterday onboard) went snorkeling and island exploring today, while I was part of the crew who got to get off the ship yesterday. So today it was our turn to stay onboard to do some ship's work. Let me describe my "work day," which as an Assistant Scientist and part of the professional crew, is my actual job. Perhaps you'll look into a position onboard!
I awoke at 5 am to do a quick lap of the ship and check our anchorage. As the sun rose, I sat on deck with my coffee, watching the rising light highlight this one picturesque little 'motu' or coral island that stands between us and the ocean. An hour later, I sat down for a yummy breakfast; it's hard to believe we're still enjoying fresh stone fruit five weeks into the voyage. Then it was time for my commute, the walk up a couple ladders into lab, and takes me all of a minute. The lab happens to be the only space on the ship with air conditioning. Assistant Scientist get all the perks! A/C beats out a corner office in this heat.
My work took me out to our open and much more tropical wet lab, where a couple of students came to help with our work list. We did some deep cleaning and maintenance in preparation for the end of the voyage. Other students and crew headed aloft to replace baggywrinkle (the long, furry tufts of marlin that protect our sails from chafing on the metal rigging) and others cleaned and did other general repairs. We worked hard for a few hours, then it was time for a trip to the proverbial "water cooler," which meant a swim call! It's the biggest water cooler of them all - the Pacific! We even opened up the "elevator," or a quick jump off the head rig into the water and a great way to wash off the grease and sweat. After a quick snack break for some smoothies, we all headed back to work. At lunchtime we paused for another swim call and ate made-to-order sammies.
Then it was time to play! We set up our little sail boat, Gene, and took turns sailing around the coral heads and motus. Every couple hours, we'd call another swim call and jump into the ocean to cool off. I even took a break to practice some extracurricular food science and made some garlic bread and cinnamon rolls with my friend and fellow scientist, Abby. As the sun was setting, we climbed out of the water after our sixth and final swim call. Dinner seemed to just appear down below, delicious stew with New Zealand lamb! As I write this, I hear the calls to hurry back above with my fiddle to join the band as we start a contra dance, right here on our own science deck.
So, sign right up if this sort of job appeals to you. The hours are long and the cubicles might seem cramped, but the routine is adventure and travel with an awesome community. On days like these, you just have to pinch yourself and say, "Alright! Just another day in the office!"
Fair winds, y'all!
- Kelsey, SEA Alumna
P.S. Happy Birthday to my one and only Pa! Jelly Man Kelly, I hope you're having a rockin day! Manuia! (which is "Cheers", in Tahitian.)