SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans
July 09, 2014
Launching the Argo
7° 05.9’ N x 164° 56.7’ W
Today was an exciting day on the Robert C. Seamans. It began with my first deployment of the Hydrocast! The ships crew is divided into 3 watches and those within each watch rotate between deck duty and lab duty. Being that it took about 4 days for me to get my sea legs, I spent that time avoiding small, enclosed spaces. I have, however, now begun to delve into the exciting scientific inquiries that are taking place in the lab. This morning, that meant deploying the Hydrocast, which is a 400-pound contraption that is deployed from the ship to measure organic matter, water conductivity (salinity), dissolved oxygen, light, and chlorophyll a. It can be lowered down to a depth of about 600 meters.
The excitement continued during class time on the quarterdeck where a missing shoe prompted our weekly man overboard drill. Everyone did their part of the drill swiftly and efficiently, but I am sorry to say that the shoe was not recovered.
Interestingly enough, footwear was not the only thing that went overboard today (do not worry parents, your kidlings are safe). The Argo, an oceanographic research device that was given to SEA for deployment from SCRIPPS, also ended up overboard during class time. Thousands of these devices have been released into the oceans since the 90s in an attempt to collect data on temperatures, nutrients, and ocean currents. They travel long distances with the currents and can move up and down the water column via the pumping of oil into and out of their buoyancy chamber, thus collecting a wide range of data from many different depths. Our class signed the Argo and was able to watch as it disappeared beneath the surface. Unlike the shoe, however, the whereabouts of the Argo will not be a complete mystery. Anyone can go online and see in real time the data being collected from this Argo (and others).
Despite how much time seems to have passed since we set sail from Honolulu, it has only been a week. There are still aspects of ship life that many of us are adjusting to, like the fact that pretty much everything on the ship is called by a different name (e.g. you do not use the toilet on the Seamans, you use the head.) Overall, I think that everyone has surprised themselves by how much information they could absorb in such a short period of time. Whether that was figuring out the ships location using a dead reckoning, deploying the Hydrocast, or memorizing the 80+ lines involved in handling the sails, it has been a busy week for all of us.