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SEA Currents Blog

SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans

March 15, 2014

S251 Weblog 15 March 2014

Rachael Ashdown, C Watch, Sweet Briar College


Above: final cruise track of S-251. Below, right: The Stars and Stripes flies proudly from the stern of the Seamans on our last beautiful day at sea.

Current Position
17° 54.1’S x 149° 18.8’W
Course and Speed
c/o and c/s 270, speed 6.2 knots
Sail Plan
Motorsailing under the mainstays’l
major squalls, with winds up to Force 7, swells up to 14 ft (currently winds are Force 3 with 6 ft swells)

I once rode a mechanical bull at a county fair.  It took all of about three seconds for me to be thrown to the mat.  Today has been a similar experience, only imagine that you are strapped to that bull and cannot get off.  And you have to cook and clean while you ride.  The goal of today was to clean and have a fun farewell before departing for our shore component tomorrow.  That all got turned on its head when we started having 15 foot swells and waves crashing over the sides of the ship.  So no Field Day (big thanks goes out to the crew who now has to clean everything without us), and no styro-cast.  Not really the best weather outside to try and launch delicate scientific equipment, especially if it is just to shrink a few Styrofoam cups.  Still, we are going out with quite the bang. 

It is a day of lasts.  Last full day at sea, last day of cleaning, last watches tonight for most, last chance to say goodbye to the crew.  It is also my last day in the galley.  I have been riding that mechanical bull all day while dodging renegade pans, hot pizza, and flying fruit.  It’s been an adventure.  But after that long day, we had Swizzle to look forward too.  At least the parts we could do inside the main salon.  It began with toasts to Neptune, the crew, the students, and to our tireless captain, Colleen, followed by a hilarious hosting of our at-sea talent show by Patrick and the distribution of superlatives to each member of the staff and crew.  Some were fantastically hysterical, others sweet, some with inside jokes that will fill us with nostalgia years down the road. 
I am hesitant to go to sleep now, even though it is after 9 and I have been up since 4:30.  I am not ready for this life at sea to be over.  Not even the rolling waves and restricted deck access can put a damper on the last six weeks we have spent aboard the Robert C. Seamans.   There are so many things to say, so many experiences I will miss.  As I often do when trying to come up with the words to express something momentous, I will quote someone else.  I am a big fan of the movie Muppet Treasure Island, and in that movie there is a song called “Sailing for Adventure” that starts the voyage to sea.  But in it are lyrics that sum up my feelings perfectly, here at the end of ours: “Our mates will always be just like a family, and though we may put into port, the sea is always home.”  The Seamans has become our home, and I know we will all miss our time aboard.  I will leave with one last quote, one that I have thought about a lot since we left Woods Hole in January: “The cure for anything is saltwater: sweat, tears, or the sea.”

- Rachael




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