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SEA Currents Blog

SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans


July 12, 2018

On reaching the Inter-tropical Convergence Zone!

Rosie Wigglesworth, A-Watch, Harvard University

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Above: The cloudy skies of the ITCZ Pacific! Below: The now well-loved foul weather gear locker. Photos by Rosie Wigglesworth

Current Position
8° 19.1’ N, 164° 52.2’ W

Ship’s Heading and Speed
210°, 8.2 knots

Current Weather
Calm, Cloudy, light wind

Souls on board

Hi Everyone! My name is Rosie Wigglesworth and I'm bringing you the 6th installment of the S-281 blog series!  We're almost a week and a thousand nautical miles into our journey.       

We're about 4 days from arriving in PIPA and about a week from Kanton.  Most importantly, we've reached the infamous ITCZ (Inter-tropical Convergence Zone)! This is essentially the equator of the atmosphere and is the place there the Northern and Southern Trade Winds converge.  With nowhere to go, these winds are forced upwards causing the air to condense which means we are getting A LOT of rain.  We should be experience periods of rain and persistent cloud cover of the next 36 to 48 hours.  Standing watch last night on deck from 0100 to 0700 amidst periods of light and heavy rain and the occasional spray from the sea has taught me a deep appreciation for my foul weather gear. Steering a ship that is constantly veering off course due to swells and a green helmsman is definitely made easier by being dry!  I am so glad I committed to stuffing the heavy, rubber rain gear in to my bag!

One of the things emphasized on throughout this trip thus far is the importance of awareness.  This can mean many different things: awareness of noise, of self or of your shipmates.  Another aspect of this, however, is awareness or environment. Being in the ITCZ has meant higher frequency of squalls and being able to see and feel those squalls approaching allows us time to put on a rain coat or adjust a sail.  That awareness and being present in every moment is something that has, along with most aspects of life on a ship, taken some getting used to, but is something that grows more natural and easy with every new day.

Tonight, I'll be standing watch in the lab from 1900-0100. Hopefully, weather permitting, we'll deploy the carousel and do a Neuston Net tow.  This will be my first nighttime deployment and I'm excited to see what we find!  I'm especially looking forward to seeing some glowing plankton in the wake of the net.

It's hard to believe that a week has gone by.  Time does strange things when you're awake and sleeping at hours that change every three days. With each day come new experience, new challenges and a hundred more miles of ocean covered.  I am still trying to wrap my head around the wonder of all of it.

Until next time!
- Rosie Wigglesworth, A-Watch, Harvard University

And now for some shout-outs!  Mom, Dad and Nick-I miss you!! It's definitely been hard not to be able to talk to you all but I can't wait to tell all my tales when I get home! This experience, while challenging, has also been pushing me in the best ways and I am excited for the next 4 weeks.  Knowing how the ocean and life at sea has touched you makes me feel close to you every time I step on deck or feel the roll of the waves lying in my bunk. Dad-you were right about the foul weather gear-being dry is awesome.  Mom-I was in the galley two days ago and made pesto pasta and a salad with the last of the spinach and arugula.  Cooking in 8-10 ft swells was definitely a challenge!  Nick-we caught a tuna a few days ago and had it for dinner.  It was smaller but absolutely beautiful.  Give Bodie, Sally and Lassie hugs for me!  Sending so much love to you all.  To my other family and friends following this trip-thanks for reading and I can't wait to see you all so soon!!  I will definitely have some stories to tell!

Categories: Robert C. Seamans,Protecting the Phoenix Islands, • Topics: s281  pipa  life at sea  sailing  research • (0) Comments
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