SEA Currents: celestial navigation
It happens every day…
Since departing Tonga we’ve seen some beautifully clear skies, and therefore had opportunity for the first few star frenzies of the trip. You—dear reader—might well ask, “What the heck is a star frenzy?” and you would not be alone; many students were asking the same question mere hours ago here aboard Seamans. Some of those students are now veterans of two star frenzies, and already eager for more.
3 Things I’ve Learned Aboard Seamans
Hello again from the SSV Robert C. Seamans, and happy May Day! Time sure has flown while at sea, and we are all excited to reach the many milestones of our cruise track which the month of May has in store. Knowing that we will soon be able to cast our eyes on the wonders of Raiatea, Moorea, and Tahiti (which I’ve heard are just lovely) has the ship in good spirits, and the students have been walking around with a palpable sense of pride and excitement as rotations through the JWO and JLO responsibilities continue, giving everyone a chance to have control of the deck in 6 hour increments, which means giving the necessary commands and always abiding by the ship’s standing orders to get ourselves where we need to go safely, happily, and responsibly.
Mike Oscar November Delta Alpha Yankee
The Sargassum is back! Kind of. Today we found the most Sargassum on the whole trip thus far, but it still wasn’t a whole lot. We wanted to take advantage of the find, so we were hove to all the way until class time at 1400. We got plenty of samples, and they are now being processed. Since being hove to means not too much action of the watch crew on deck, we decided to practice some celestial navigation.
The Salty Adventure Continues
To the possible dismay of my parents, it has taken a nautical adventure for me to learn how to enjoy cleaning. During morning watch today, I and other members of A watch had a great time cleaning the deck, using the saltwater fire hoses, dish soap, and brushes to keep Mama Cramer happy and clean. Getting sprayed (usually accidently) by cold saltwater was a great way to wake up in the morning.
Approaching Boca Chica
I just came below deck after a beautiful sunset, an equally beautiful moonrise, and watching a student (Hailey) lead our ship through a tacking procedure to get us pointed closer to our destination of Boca Chica, Dominican Republic - the end of the voyage for C-264.
Of Stars, Sunrises, and Megafauna
We’ve rounded East Cape of the North Island and are steadily making our voyage to Napier. With some balmy, high-pressure weather, we’ve soaked up some sun during the warm days and gazed upon the constellations displayed on the clear starry night skies.
All Downwind From Here
The last twenty-four hours have been marked by strong winds as we make our way down the East coast of New Zealand toward Napier. A Watch was particularly excited to discover, in preparation for our daily Navigation & Weather report, that as more seasoned sailors, we managed to have our rhumb run exceed our log run by 6 miles over the last 24 hours—an indication of efficient sailing.
Keep the Sun over the Life Ring
As I am writing this, we just finished our final hour of non-instrument sailing. I was both excited and slightly apprehensive when we first covered up the compass and stopped using sextants to get fixes multiple times a day. This experiment in navigation was not only completely new for all of our students, but it was also new for me and the other mates. I have to say that I think most people enjoyed it and learned immensely (there was a chorus of boos at class today when Captain Jason announced that the non-instrument run would be ending at 1700 today).
Taking On All Deck & Lab Responsibilities
Today marks the day that we entered the third and final phase of our deck and lab responsibilities. We’ve begun to acquire the fond titles of “J-WO” and “J-LO” to signify the shipmate who will be the designated junior watch/lab officer for the watch. That’s right- the location and safety of 30 people rests on alternating students that began their sailing experience about a month ago. Luckily, our mates, scientists and trusty captain assure us that they will swoop in should something seem wrong. It’s crazy to think how much we’ve learned in this past month and how much more there is to learn!
Location, Location, Location
We’re sailing along and I think everyone is finally used to the rhythm of life at sea - the strange sleep schedule and frequent snacks. However, there have been some changes this week. We’ve transitioned into phase two of the program, in which one student shadows the mate and scientist each watch. Each watch also is working with a different mate and scientist now. I think we’re all sad to leave our original watch officers, but as we start taking the lead, it’s good to see different styles and learn new things from another person.