SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans
April 25, 2017
“Wow, what an exciting day!” – me, every day
24° 36.0’ S x 147° 50.0’ W
Wind ExS, Force 5. Seas ESE, 5ft. Sky 4/8 Ci, Cu. Baro 1021.5. Sailing north under the four lowers on a starboard tack.
There truly is no limit to the excitement on board here. I especially felt this way today, which also happens to be my favorite schedule. We (B/Best watch) had night watch last night (1900-0100), meaning we got a semi-normal night sleep and then the whole morning until lunch free to ourselves. For me, that meant starting off with an awesome breakfast quiche made by Angel, even though I slept right through 0700 breakfast (she’s the sweetest). Then I walked up into the beautiful tropical sunshine and received news of two flying fish that were in the lab! I, a scientific photographer, was pretty excited. The fish maybe not so much…
I then set up shop to work on my research project. It involves identifying small bioluminescent fish known as myctophids, or lanternfish. Alongside that, I will be creating a photographic identification book of these fish and various other interesting organisms that we find out here. It has certainly been a challenge photographing to the degree of precision that I need on a constantly rocking boat. I’m pretty excited for how much easier every task will feel once on land and don’t think I will ever take still ground for granted ever again!
Then, I showered!!! Shower days are hands down the best days. We’ve all gotten to do laundry in the sunshine and calmer weather lately and just the smell of laundry detergent puts me in a great mood. When living on a ship like this you definitely learn to appreciate those little things from day to day. So here is a list of the ones that currently come to mind:
- Daily sunrises/sunsets & star gazing
- Apples and peanut butter for 1000 snack
- Evening singing/guitar jams
- Sitting with people from other watches at meals and catching up/sitting as all 14 of us again in class (we really miss each other)
- Trying to remember song lyrics for singing while on bow lookout (S/O to Romina for constantly being on the same musical wavelength as me)
- Meals in general – I have never eaten so much good food in my life. Lauren and Angel are goddesses.
- Journaling in the sunshine
- Reading after a long day
- Taking off the harness after a watch and sitting for the first time in 6 hours
- Not being seasick!! My mind is still blown by this one.
- The constant refreshing feeling of being disconnected – no social media, internet, politics, or anything of the sort. Just books and a tight-knit community.
- Generally being surrounded by some of the most awesome people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. The fact that the 14 of us have spent the last few months in practically 24/7 contact and aren’t tired of each other yet is pretty cool.
Next came watch – I was in the lab and JLO (Junior Lab Officer)! This was the first watch that we did this after graduating from the shadow phase. We always have a lot going on in the lab and today had pH, alkalinity, and a neuston tow to process. Class at 1430 happens during this watch so we took a break and had one of the best classes yet. Each watch was tasked with commanding a man overboard drill in which they tossed the safety ring and pole into the ocean and we had to chase it down, leading the rest of the crew and shouting out the sail handling commands. Our watch was up first and completed it in 24 minutes which we were pretty excited about. It’s amazing thinking about how far we’ve come to be able to sail this whole ship after just a few weeks. Once back in lab, Erin and I went to take some photos of the flying fish with the sunset as the backdrop. Hence the photo chosen for the post! I then grabbed a sextant and jumped into star frenzy! Reading the night sky like this is something I’ve always wanted to understand.
At last it is night time, the midrats (midnight snack) is homemade caramel popcorn and I got to listen to Jay and Lauren sing/play Jolene by Ray LaMontagne (two of my favorite things in one sentence).
Shout out to my family (Mom, Dad, and Adi) and friends (I can’t list you for fear of leaving someone out). I love and miss you all! Life out here on the ocean is busy and sometimes difficult to imagine life back home but I’m thinking about you all! I wish I could beam you to Australia with me.
Oh – and unfortunately no sight of the actual island of Raivavae today which we had a guessing-the-time contest for. I really, really want to shout “LAND HO!” Just a bit ago (current time 2200), a light was seen on the horizon and the island is now on our radar about 10nm away.