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SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans


November 25, 2021

Mothership

Kira Becker, Northeastern University

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Booby on bowsprit – “Birthday Harold”

Position
18°20.7’ N x 130°15.2’ W

Taffrail Log
1172.2 nm

Weather / Sail Plan
Sailing under the four lowers (Mainsail, main staysail, forestaysail, and jib) and topsail; Winds Force 3 from the Northeast

Souls on board

So it was my birthday yesterday and it was seriously the best birthday ever. Just being on this whole adventure is enough of a birthday gift, but yesterday all the stars aligned to make it an especially wonderful day. We’ve started seeing boobies (a type of funny-looking seabird) hanging around in the rigging of the ship. Before there was just one, who we named “Birthday Harold” (because he was the herald/Harold of my birthday), but today there were two: one I saw sitting up on the topsail yard while we were setting the main after reefing it, the other was flying around the area. Birthday Harold also allegedly dive-bombed Sophia a little bit the other night, but she says she’s over it.

There was also a pilot whale, and a tropic-bird (also called a “bosun-bird” because of its long tail, Sean said), some porpoises, lots and lots of flying fish, and a beautiful Glaucus pacifica sea slug. And we caught a mahi-mahi! Not only did the ocean show up for my birthday, but so did my shipmates. Talia (asst. steward) made some incredible cupcakes with lemon and coconut that tasted like eating the idea of the tropics, which we are now sailing in. As mentioned above, my friends also made such a nice card that I almost cried with happiness and appreciation when I saw it. I drank like 3 cups of hot chocolate over the course of the day too.

But that was yesterday. Today, we are squarely and officially in the trade winds, and it was my galley day! Like any other student on their galley day, I got to sleep through most of dawn watch (though I decided to wake up at 4:45 anyway just to hang) and then spent the day with Ashley and Talia in the galley. I tore up marshmallows into lots of little pieces with my bare hands, many of which became s’mores dip for morning snack. Today I also helped out with making soup, tacos, and a thoroughly choreographed presentation about the concept of a “mothership” as an organizational galley strategy.

The concept of a “mothership” is useful for serving salad or another dish in many bowls around a table- the mothership is the large dish with all the ingredients laid out in rows to be scooped into “satellite dishes”. When I first heard Ashley describing the concept of the mothership, my mind went to something Megan (2nd mate) said in our most recent abandon ship drill, referring to how, in the case of an emergency, we needed to make sure to tie the life raft painter onto the “mama Seamans” before it went down. So when I heard “mothership”, I thought Ashley was talking about the Seamans at first.

That little mental association stood out to me today as a sign of how I, and most likely many of my shipmates, are starting to see this vessel as our home, our shield against the waves, and our refuge in the swell. Though the Robert C. Seamans is so small compared to the vast expanses of the Pacific, so delicately inlaid with temperamental systems giving us power, water, food, and shelter, it is safe and comfortable here. There is no place more like home within a thousand nautical miles around.

Hi to my family: Mom, Dad, Daniel, Cavendish, etc. Happy belated birthday and happy early Hannukah.

- Kira Becker

Categories: Robert C. Seamans,Oceans & Climate, • Topics: s301  life at sea  study abroad  sailing  research • (4) Comments
Previous entry: 1000 NM    Next entry: All in a “day’s” work

Reactions

#1. Posted by Dina on November 29, 2021

So excited to read your blog post and to hear that you’re happy and feeling at home. Best Hanukkah present ever.
Love from us all.


#2. Posted by janet strassman perlmutter on November 29, 2021

Made me so happy to read this description of your birthday, your travels, and the amazing birds and sea life you are encountering all the way. Thank you for this delightful description. May you and your shipmates continue to enjoy deeply. Smooth sailing to you all!
—Janet


#3. Posted by Auntie Karen on November 29, 2021

Happy Birthday, Kira! What an exciting way to be spending a bday. Glad to read that you are having a lot of fun. Happy Hanukkah, too!! Love, Auntie Karen


#4. Posted by Uncle Jim on December 06, 2021

Your father might know that his Uncle Jim is fascinated with celestial navigation and tying knots.  I hope you find them interesting as well.  Your trip is a fantastic opportunity.  Have great fun, and happy belated birthday!
—Uncle Jim


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