SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans
March 20, 2019
42˚39.792’S x 174˚05.908’E
Ship’s Heading & Speed
Wind blowing from ENE at a force 2. Calm waters, wave height of 1ft. Also ENE. Clouds 1/8 of the sky. Mostly cirrus, stratocumulus, and cumulus. 25˚C.
Today is March 20, 2019. Today is our last full day of watch rotations. Today the sea was calm and the skies were sunny. We are about 20nm west of Kaikoura Peninsula.
I had dawn watch from 0100-0700. Typically I feel completely sloshed for dawn watch, but maybe it was the combination of all the work I had to catch up on and the strange itchy feeling I had for the end of the trip that fueled my energy through the night. It was the easiest dawn watch I’d ever done. I was Junior Lab Officer today, though I didn’t know that until I stepped into lab. We rinsed the two-meter net, the Neuston net, did 100- counts for each net, helped with sail handling, inventoried the library. We struggled to biovolume the multiple pipefish who were still fighting for their lives not to be caught by our soup spoon. There were a lot of shrimps today.
Time exists on a different scale here. For some people, weekends don’t exist because they make their own work days. Our life cycle here resets for each watch. I had dawn watch today technically but it feels like yesterday. I have always wondered how I might approach experiences if I were to be in them for different amounts of time. If this program were only for 3 weeks how would I live it? If this program were for 3 months how would I live it? What about 3 years?
For evening watch, as I was washing dishes, I got called up to watch one of our last sunsets. It was a good one. The clouds lay low over the horizon, cumulus clouds and stratocumulus and some altostratus, I think. From far away they looked like land. I will never cease to be mesmerized by the motion of the waves. It has a rhythm that I have not quite understood yet. What you think will be a large wave will be overcome by another as quickly as it formed. This sunset was also particularly amazing because it was simultaneously a moonrise. We could see both the sun and the moon on the horizon at the same time.
I have been going around, taking photos of the living quarters of the ship, so I don’t forget what daily life here is like. The gimbaled tables, the cramped heads, my upper bunk which I still have yet to enter and exit with grace, the chart table in the doghouse in which I have, at this point, spent many hours hunched over. I know that it will be very easy to forget the day to day maneuvering that comes with living on Bobby C. I have found that processing experiences lasts for months and months, and even years later I may find myself still altering and developing my takeaways from this trip. I wonder how I may interpret this trip 3 weeks from now. 3 months? 3 years? Time will tell.
- Hannah Cho, A Watch, Wellesley College