SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans
August 01, 2016
2° 74.8’ S x 174° 54.9’ W
180° per steering compass
Weather / Wind / Sail Plan (from 1300 Watch Change)
Winds ENE, Force 4. Seas 5 feet. Light cover of cumulus clouds. Sailing under the four lowers (Mainsail, Mainstays’l, Forestays’l, and Jib) on a port tact.
Another beautiful sunny day in PIPA! As we sail into August, we’re savoring the last days of our journey in this incredible place. With less than two weeks to go, everyone is working hard on projects and perfecting their terrible tans. In a little less than two days we will arrive at our last Phoenix Island, Nikumaroro. We are all excited to do some last minute snorkeling and explore our last stop; if it’s anything like Kanton and Orona we’re in for a treat!
Today has been a great day for sailing with not a squall in sight and we anticipate calm seas for the next few days. We’re all a little sweaty, but happy and healthy. Aside from the normal sail handling and science deployments, we had an exciting opportunity to profile a seamount that had been previously uncharted (great job Victoria!). This incredible finding has everyone thinking a little extra hard today about the remoteness of our location and the importance of our voyage; the discoveries we are making and the data we are collecting has the potential to be groundbreaking and have a real effect on PIPA and its management. Not everyone gets the opportunity to “discover” a seamount!
Sitting on top of the lab last night with just myself and a cool breeze, I had the opportunity to stop for a few minutes and contemplate how this experience has shaped and affected me. I am incredibly grateful to have met this group of people at this time in my life. The amount of support, guidance, and love I have received from the crew and my fellow students is astounding. I have learned so much from so many people, especially the crew, who seem to have endless amounts of not only knowledge but patience and compassion.
Our sense of community only continues to grow, which is not a small feat when you spend all of your time in the same 140 feet. I know that this voyage has been transformational for many of us, whether it was through meeting new people and making new friends outside of school, getting away from our busy and technology-driven lives, experiencing nature through new eyes, or being constantly mentally and physically challenged. I don’t think any of us expected to be this tired or this dirty, but the intense feelings of gratification and accomplishment also came as a surprise.
I’ll leave you with a beautiful story that one of my favorite people on the boat told me last night. She told me about a friend of hers that works with underprivileged children in a large city who thought that stars only existed in storybooks. Not only had they not seen the stars, many of them didn’t have the means to see them anytime soon. Realizing that they had the ability to see the stars, her and her friend decided on a whim to get in a car and drive out of the city until they could see them. We don’t need a car, we need to walk twenty feet out of our racks. I wish I could describe to those of you reading this at home the intense and vivid beauty of the stars here. We can see the Milky Way clearly nearly every night, an abundance of shooting stars, a plethora of constellations, more light and color than you thought possible. Every time I look at the night sky I feel incredibly small and insignificant, but then I remember where I have come from, my future goals, and my purpose here in PIPA and I feel infinitely powerful.
Love and Adventure,
PS: Happy Birthday Mira!! I hope you liked the scavenger hunt, can’t wait to see you soon <3. Also a huge hug to my wonderful grandparents for making this possible, I love you guys.
PS: Dear Jun, Mom, and Dad, this is Panyu. I want to reemphasize that I won’t have internet access until August 13th. I am doing very well and I will be contacting you as soon as I can pick up signal. Jun, you must now be in China. I am sure that you have kicked ass of that bar exam! I cannot wait to see you. Mom and dad, I wish you can invite Jun to our house, and I really wish to see you all at the airport when I land on 17th! Again, do not worry about me and all is well! I love you all!