SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans
Tutus and toothbrushes - A Day in the Life
43° 51.3’S x 173° 00.9’E
Partly cloudy, winds easing in the afternoon
Sail Plan & Course/Speed
Motorsailing to Lyttleton under the storm trys’l, mainstays’l, forestays’l, and jib; course ordered 040.
Let us begin with the tutus. Junior Watch Officer (JWO) and Junior Lab Officer (JLO) phase has begun, which means we are each taking turn with the responsibility of coordinating deck and lab operations, respectively. This morning’s watch (0700-1300) was my turn to coordinate the lab – a nerve-wracking but exciting time. The symbol of pride for any JLO, I have learnt, lies in a frayed but elegant affair of a tutu made out of Neuston net material. This fashionable item is worn from beginning to end of watch, and then transferred directly to the next JLO, so that it is worn at all times. The grey tutu looked beautiful wrapped around the outside of my bright yellow foulies, and put a spring in my step as I went about the watch.
The wind and swells were very strong this morning – during class, the gimbled tables were swinging back and forth so vigorously that they came right down to our knees, and then up to our chins. Jason (who was teaching) went to get his camera, and documented slight absurdity of teaching us about whaling communities in Alaska while the saloon swung back and forth in the swells, accompanied by the hearty crash of pots and pans in the galley. Post-lesson, we successfully deployed a Neuston tow and surface station, and managed to process pH and chlorophyll-a before handing over to the next watch. Thusly, the JLO tutu came and went out of my life.
And so on to the toothbrushes. Saturday is the jolly day wherein the boat is cleaned from top to bottom, in an occasion of great pomp known here as “Field Day.” Different types of music blast from different parts of the ship (classic rock aft, sea shanties at the helm, pop in midships…) to accompany us as we scour the ship, using toothbrushes, butter knives, squeegees, and other everyday household items to make sure no mung (ship-dirt) remains. Today, B Watch pumped us all up before watch with a beautiful rendition of “The Twelve Days of Christmas:”
On the First day of Field Day, my true Mung gave to me, A rinse bucket, and a squeegee…
And so, another busy day passed by in a flurry of Neuston-tulle and the temporary vanquishing of mung. It’s hard to believe that there are less than two weeks left - time is flying by so quickly, with every day busy, quirky, amazing.