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SEA Currents Blog

SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans


December 05, 2019

Return to the Sea

Jessie Sheldon, Colorado College

Spend a Semester at Sea

An early morning in Napier’s port, ready to head back North!

Current Position
39°22.40’S x 177°46.28’E

Ship’s Heading & Speed
070°, 4.6 kts

Weather
blue skies, windy

Souls on Board

Ahoy! Jessie from C-watch here, writing from our on-board library which is back to its usual rocking and rolling since our departure from Napier this afternoon. The day began with a deck sweep for C-watch. One aspect of sea life I hadn’t thought about before this semester is that the accumulation of dirt is rather dependent on our greatest dirt source: land! Following the sweep, we had the morning off to head into Napier for last minute errands. For me, this meant a beeline to the nearest gelato shop; one of the few luxuries that does not exist out in the open ocean.

Well-fueled from gelato, we set sail from Napier at 1300 this afternoon and embarked on the final leg of our journey: the JWO, or, junior watch officer phase. We bid our cargo ship neighbors farewell and took off, with watch-mate Naomi as the first to take up the JWO baton. Under her leadership, we set up both stays’ls, the jib, and the mains’l to get underway, none of which are small tasks. “Hands to the mains’l halyard” meant a line of 10 people, extending from the pin rail almost all the way to the bow of the boat, ready to heave. Each additional sail added a few knots to our gait as the landmass to the west began shrinking out of sight.

We were all happy to be back in the routine of afternoon class on the quarterdeck as we scooted along in the sunshine. Today’s class included student presentations on the vertical migration of zooplankton as well as on the intersection of climate change and geopolitics. However, it was our after class activity that truly made my day: swabbing the decks! Swabbing the decks of a sailing vessel out on the high seas makes me feel like a true sailor. I am an avid sea shanty singer and shared one of my favorites with the rest of C-watch to sing as we scrubbed. We got to use the fire hose to power wash the deck because the deck was extra dusty, significantly enhancing both our swabbing experiences and the cleanliness of the planks. Just after finishing the scrubbing, a pod of 5 dolphins emerged to escort our bow back to the open ocean. What a day!

Sending love and gratitude to family and dear friends on distant shores! Particularly my mother, for giving birth to me 22 year ago today (today, but on the other side of the world today).

- Jessie

Categories: Robert C. Seamans,Climate & Society, • Topics: s289  study abroad  new zealand • (1) Comments
Previous entry: To Land and Back    Next entry: JWO (Not-So-)Scaries

Reactions

#1. Posted by Frederick Sheldon on December 06, 2019

What a wonderful blog and experience. Thanks for sharing. Your uncle Fred


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