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SEA Currents Blog

SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans

April 02, 2015

The First Sun

Ari Eriksson, A Watch, Syracuse University

Oceans & Climate

Sunrise from the Seamans

Current Position
44° 8.2’S x 176° 42.0’W

Course & Speed
188° at 4 Knots; Dipping south under the Chatham Islands and continuing East

Sail Plan
All four lowers plus topsail and raffee

Beautiful, sunny, and clear

Souls on Board

Today we were privy to the very first sunrise that April second would see. The International Dateline takes an easterly dip to avoid cutting the Chatham Islands off from mainland New Zealand time, putting it on the cutting edge of every new day. Anchored in Waitangi Bay this morning, the dawn watch’s numbers were nearly tripled as camera wielding sailors rushed the quarterdeck to bear witness to the first sun. I found a personal connection with this particular golden explosion of light. Of all the things Wi-Fi brought within finger's reach, the ability to reach out to loved ones on special days is absolutely the most important. Happy birthday Jessica! I told you I would find a way. As the sun that would eventually bring Jessie her 22nd birthday rose before me I sent a variety of messages with it, hoping they would be deposited as they passed over my friends and family back in the states.

We set sail again today, shortly after sun-up, and resumed our journey eastward. Abruptly, ocean life replaced anchor watch. Being underway brought about a variety of activities that had been put on pause for the previous two days. Water samples from various depths are brought on board to be analyzed, and nets are drawn from as deep as 500 meters (once we reach deeper waters), bringing strange and familiar creatures alike to satisfy our queries. We fell back into the irregular series of events that consists of a day at sea with practically no friction at all.

The mouth of Waitangi Bay took nearly all morning to escape, but as we turned east and prepared to shoot the gap between the main Chatham Island and Pitt Island, a collective mental image was taken of the last land we would see for the next 25 days or so. Ochre bluffs rose out of the ocean topped by vibrant green and dotted with small puffs of white cotton. Our time in the Chathams was brief but filled with incredible information and magnificent vistas. As we departed the safety of the bay, the gentle lapping was gradually replaced by deep ocean swells. The saloon tables likewise resumed their gyroscopic dance, and I steeled myself for the impending apprehension that I assumed would accompany the start of a four week voyage into the unknown; instead, I was greeted by a different emotion. With gusto in my veins, and a mid-morning snack of warm pumpkin bread in my stomach, there wasn’t a damn thing that could stand between me and my Tahitian hammock.

No matter how far the distance, we will cross it. No matter the obstacles, we will overcome them. No matter how vast the ocean may be, our community aboard the Seamans will occupy and bring light to it.

From the South Pacific,
Best wishes home,

Categories: Robert C. Seamans,Oceans & Climate, • Topics: s258  science • (5) Comments


#1. Posted by MONICA DURAN on April 02, 2015

OMG, I love this article.

#2. Posted by Martha Pavlakis on April 02, 2015

I am so proud of you, Ari - the beautiful imagery and emotions presented in today’s blog have brought tears of happiness to my eyes.  Love Mom

#3. Posted by Erik Brynjolfsson on April 02, 2015

What a terrific post. I can almost smell the salt air and feel the rolling waves as I read your description of the first dawn of April 2.  Almost but not quite—there’s nothing like being there for real. I’m sure you’ll remember this day forever. Enjoy!

#4. Posted by Roberta-Michaels Mom on April 03, 2015

Beautiful photo

#5. Posted by Elissa on April 04, 2015

Awesome article Ari! You’re going to have an incredible time out there. Please stay safe and keep writing as much as you can! Your writing is amazing. Miss you and love you cuz <3



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