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SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans

August 06, 2014

Leaving PIPA

Laura Page, C Watch, Deckhand


Another day in paradise, the sunsets here are too beautiful for words

5° 33’ 52.80” S x 173° 54’ 14.40” W

Sailing just south of the PIPA zone

Hello world this is Laura Page, the C watch deckhand here to write your blog post for the day.  Our biggest news of the day has to be the leaving of the Pheonix Island Protected Area waters.  After 3 straight weeks of sailing and sampling here it is hard to believe we are in truly open ocean with only a week left of program.  Our goal for this trip was to explore and discover unexposed aspects of these Kiribati islands. 

I waited until now to write a post so that I could share with you a truly unique experience I have witnessed while sailing with class S-254.  I first noticed the phenomenon of which I speak about a week ago during our afternoon class time on the quarterdeck.  Captain Pamela announced that after sailing with a single reefed mains’l (where only part of the sail is ever set for easier control) we were going to take the first few minutes and set the FULL mains’l.  Now as a quick side note the students had spent the last few weeks anchored and exploring islands, working on the PIPA program but not specifically focusing on nautical science skills. 

When the captain’s call was made to perform this new task for the first time I was quite surprised to see each and every student leap up and get ready on the appropriate lines to complete the order.  These guys had enough confidence in themselves as a group that they were ready to tackle a new challenge without fear.  They knew without thinking that the knowledge to complete the task was spread throughout the entire student body and they as a group would accomplish this new task.  And when it was completed they all sat down as if nothing special had occurred. 

Every day and every watch since that occurrence the responsibility I have seen these students take upon themselves is astronomical.  With the start of the JWO phase of the program they have taken full ownership of their knowledge and skills, but more importantly they have learned how to take advantage of the best resources around them, their fellow students.  They have set and struck sails, performed highly technical scientific deployments, determined how to manipulate the wind to get the ship where it needs to go (not always where it may want to go) and all of these are just a few steps that get them towards their ultimate goals of oceanographic research and policy study.  They have taken all these responsibilities with grace, a little stress, fun, but mostly a sense of ownership that shows they really know how to operate this ship. 

It has been my pleasure now to have stood watch with each and every one of the students on board.  I have seen them grow and blossom (cheesy as that sounds) into shipmates, a title that carries innumerable complexities.  I am proud to have them as my shipmates and honored that I can stand as one of their own. 
Many thanks,

Shout outs: Dear mom and dad, as always I love you guys and miss you, still not homesick thou.

Amanda, I hope you and the family have been able to follow along with this voyage from the daily blog posts about our adventures on the high seas and tropical islands.  I’ll let you know my finalized travel plans for visiting you in New Zealand when we make it to American Samoa in a few days.

Finally, Aunt Teresa, Uncle Mark, Clair, Robbie, and Ryan: I cannot wait to finally spend much needed family time with you guys in Australia.

Categories: Robert C. Seamans,Protecting the Phoenix Islands, • Topics: s254 • (0) Comments
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