SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans
The Beginning of the End
26° 39.6’ S x 147° 52.0’ W
Wind E, Force 4. Seas SE, 8ft. Sky 2/8 Ci, Cu. Baro 1021.5.
Hello world! To you, it’s Day 26 of our ocean voyage…but our watch rotations make for 18-hour days, so today feels more like Day 35 for us. It’s been one crazy rollercoaster ride having weathered out the effects of two cyclones but thankfully, the weather has finally steadied up a bit and both air and water temperatures are on the rise as we go farther north. Also, we broke 3000 nm today and are currently within 150 nm to the island of Raivavae!!!
Today was the last day of the Shadow phase, and tomorrow morning we begin the Junior Watch Officer phase. It’s pretty unbelievable how far we’ve come in just a month…from learning how to plot positions on nautical charts in a classroom in Woods Hole to calling the setting and striking of sails in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean.
We’ve also all been really involved in shooting the sun and stars as the skies get increasingly clearer in the nighttime. Star frenzy, which happens at morning and evening twilight, is especially thrilling. It’s been really cool to learn to use sextants and then reduce your own sights. If your sight ends up precise enough, it might even be plotted as a celestial fix, from which the ship will continue navigating from. I have come to really enjoy shooting and reducing and am bummed in my realization that this skill is mostly pointless for a life on land.
Not only have we made incredible strides in our sailing abilities, but this week marks the beginning of the end of our oceanography research projects. By tonight, we’ll have submitted our findings from the data we’ve collected as well as the first half of our research papers, and this weekend we’ll all be presenting our final products. It’s an incredibly rewarding feeling as we approach the end and I know we’re all looking forward to being able to relax during our last week in and around Raiatea.
The last of the engineering reports happened today and we ended with a bang. Carina and Turi got up and explained the “Suck, Squeeze, Bang, Blow” of internal combustion engines, with the aid of a very special prop. The Bucket Engine has been a project that Nate has wanted to do for a while, and came to fruition with Carina and Turi’s enthusiasm. With the careful handiwork of several people over the last couple of weeks, featuring my drilling skills this afternoon, it made for the perfect visual aid for their presentation.
On a more personal note: the class of S-272 and the RCS crew has granted me an absolutely unforgettable first month of being 21. This program has made me a better student, scientist, and seafarer, and has made me a stronger person, both mentally and physically. Thanks to the boundless love and support from my family and friends on this infinite quest to conquer my wanderlust that was instilled in me by my Mother from Year 1. Shout-out to my eastern hemisphere friends, see you all soon!