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SEA Currents Blog

SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans

October 16, 2018

Near-Gale Excitement

Emily Settlecowski, University of Denver


Leaning with the Seas

Current Position
19°30.24’S 178°25.51’W Heading to Suva, Fiji

Ship’s Heading & Speed
Course ordered 275°, 6.5 knots

Force 6 East by South winds, seas from Southeast by East with a height of 8-10 ft. Completely overcast with 8/8 cloud covered sky by stratus clouds. Temperature of 24.5°C and barometer reading of 1017.1 mb.

Souls on board

Our second day underway to Fiji from Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai has been an exciting one weather wise. Long gone are the days of motor sailing under the stays'ls on smooth, glass-like waters. Last night on evening watch, 1900-0100, the wind was blowing force 5 and force 6 with gusts at 7. Pants, warm socks, long sleeves, fleeces, and warm hats were broken out much sooner than anyone expected, in order to fight the strong wind and dark night. I almost felt guilty about how excited I was for my fellow shipmates of A Watch to relieve us at 0100, as I was eagerly anticipating my bed and sleeping the morning away until I had watch again at 1300 the following day.

Our schedule while at sea was easy to fall back into, and much as I expected being a part of the "lazy watch" I spent my morning prior to today's afternoon watch sleeping and reading. With an entertaining watch meeting in which we played fax machine and checked in with our watch, we went to relieve B Watch. Conditions on deck were slightly less chilly than the night before even though the strong winds and rolling sea persisted. Christine and Farley tried to assure us that watch with them (this was only our third watch with our new watch officer and assistant scientist) wasn't always so exciting with so much sail handling and extreme weather, but I'm starting to doubt this. We gybed four times, each time when we were two nautical miles from our ordered track. This was done to bring our stern through the wind, creating a zigzag pattern along our ordered straight track since the wind made steering the course ordered impossible.

Additionally, under the direction of our scientist, Farley, we had to refurl the jib. This was an exciting endeavor in which myself, Joao, Charlotte, and Farley went out onto the head rig and refolded the sail located on the bow sprit while the wind whipped around us and the sea jumped up to greet us.

While this watch required much sail handling, I was actually supposed to be in the lab. While the weather may make sailing more exciting for the students, it has inhibited many of our science deployments. Aside from regular lab hourly reports and six minute observations, there wasn't much for us to do in lab today. I did however, with the help of our sailing intern Charlotte, create a haiku for Farley as per orders by A Watch:

There is a sailor
He is a rad scientist
His name is Farley

Probably not my best work, but haiku are harder than they seem when under pressure.

In other exciting news, today was our chief mate's birthday. Happy Birthday Allison! We got to enjoy some delicious carrot cake with cream cheese frosting in celebration thanks to our assistant steward of the day Fletcher. I'll have to get the recipe for you Dad 'cause I know you'd be jealous of it. As I sit here enjoying the amazing carrot cake writing a blog post attempting to give you all some insight to what our days at sea are like, my fellow ship mates (mostly led by Sam) have entered into a heated debate over a simple question that I think sums it up quite nicely: Is a hot dog a sandwhich? More from Mama Seamans to follow on this topic I'm sure but in case you were wondering: no, a hot dog is a hot dog, why can't we accept that? Feel free to comment with your opinions, we look forward to reading them.

Much love to the family and friends back home reading, I can't wait to share more stories of this adventure with you when I get home!

- Emily Settlecowski, C Watch, University of Denver

Previous entry: This too shall pass    Next entry: Back in the Swing of Things


#1. Posted by Trish Ellis on October 17, 2018


I have really been enjoying your journey with your fellow sailors.  Seeing the smile on your face in this picture says it all.  I can not wait to hear all the stories.  Stay safe, have fun and keep smiling!

Your sushi buddy in Denver-


#2. Posted by Dara (aka Mom) on October 17, 2018

I have been waiting for your blog patiently anticipating a glimpse into your journey! The beautiful smiling face in the picture was icing on the cake!
It seems like you’ve seen some incredible islands and done some incredible work on the islands as well and we are all so proud of S-282.
The weather looks challenging but it looks like you’re On your way to becoming a proficient sailor. See,  you may end up back on the east coast after all to be near the water.
Anyway, we love and miss you tremendously but seeing your smiling face and hearing your words make us so proud of you.
By the way, a hot dog is not a sandwich! It’s just a hot dog!!
Be safe. Love you Ems.  Mom and Dad

#3. Posted by Lori Sinclair on October 17, 2018

Hi Emily—I enjoyed reading your blog. It sounds like you’re having an incredible experience! I beg to differ with you about hot dogs

#4. Posted by Marilyn Himelstein/Grammy on October 17, 2018

I was super surprised and trilled to read your blog.  What
a great adventure you and your mates are having.  This is a
wonderful journey you are taking and will remember for the rest of your life. Can’t wait to see you and hear all about
it my Sailor Girl.  Take care of yourself. 
I hope you are taking many photograph of the places you have gone to. 
Enjoy your time at Sea and know that everyone back home is
reading and watching with interest in your travels.
Love you a Bunch Emily. Grammy & Gramps

#5. Posted by Elisabete Silva on October 18, 2018

I read the blog regularly and, being on the other side of the planet, it is really fantastic to follow your journey through the reports that you have been making.

João, we really like to see you with that happy smile, we are sure you are having a good time and are very proud of all actions in which you have participated to make this world a better place.

Stay safe you all!!

Lots of love from home!


#6. Posted by ken noonan on October 18, 2018

Dear Sam

Was reading the Blog by Emily…i am not sure how you weighed in on the argument whether a hot dog is sandwich or not…but your family in Wisconsin is certain that you confirmed a Brat is a MEAL!

I love you dad

#7. Posted by Amie Settlecowski on October 19, 2018

Hi Em, can’t wait to here more about this crazy adventure you’re on! I’ll even look at some pictures I’m sure you took of rocks on HTHH as long as you have some birds to show me too ;p Also, would love to know more about these seabirds nesting on HTHH—are there any nesting on the new part? Who monitors the HTHH nesting colonies in general? I wonder if they were disturbed by the new formation. Anyway…

Love you lots, Munchkin!

#8. Posted by Jenny McNamara on October 19, 2018

Hi Em,

Seems like you are having so much fun and I am super jealous as I sit back in New Jersey. At least I am not the only one suffering from the cold weather as you are too. I definitely agree that a hot dog is not a sandwich, I feel like you can’t describe it as anything but a hot dog.

Love you!!

#9. Posted by Jay Himelstein on October 21, 2018

Dear Emily,

Regarding the hot dogs, do you miss WaWa, Nathan’s, or a bbq? Probably so, as you are probably eating plenty of fish. I am sure mom will be happy to offer you a bunch of hot dogs to enjoy when you come home. LOL

Uncle Jay



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