SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans
May 17, 2019
Stanford@SEA: Report from the South Pacific
Spirits are high aboard the SSV Robert C Seamans as our Stanford@SEA students are now experienced sailors with over four days and nights at sea. We are very close to Iles Maria, the first stop on our cruise track in the outer islands of French Polynesia. The weather has been super calm and warm with very light winds. We've had a few whales grace our cruise track, leading to a loud call of "Whale ho!" and we have identified short finned pilot whales, beaked and humpback whales.
Our students are now in their watches (A, B and C) and rotate on 6-hour shifts into "Science" and "Deck" watches. Our daily science deployments consist of two CTDs to sample the oceanography below the ship, two neuston tows to sample the plankton for student projects, evening squid jigging and late night meter net tows. The South Pacific Gyre water is relatively low in productivity as promised- crystal blue. We have sampled the mesopelagic with our nets, and caught a small wahoo in the epipelagic that we released by the boat.
Everyone is now in the swing of things and preparations for the first reef stop are being made by students and staff. We had a wonderful discussion in Conservation class on "What is a pristine place?" We realize now that very few people have ever been to the remote island we have in front of us on our chart. Iles Maria is protected naturally.
Pictures provide glimpses of ship life including Nathan deploying the plankton net, the entire class taking a swim on a hot day in the South Pacific Gyre, and Adele and JP planning for the reef projects. Our students are writing blogs, so starting tomorrow there should be regular student entries to look forward to.
From the South Pacific,
- Chief Scientist Barbara Block