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SEA Currents Blog

SEA Currents: phoenix islands


July 27, 2016

Ahoy from Orona!

Brooke Morgan, C Watch, Cal State U, Monterey Bay

Protecting the Phoenix Islands

Have we arrived in paradise? I think we may have. We are anchored for the second day offshore of Orona – an island included in the Phoenix Islands Protected Area; a place visited by very few. Due to calm conditions we were able to be some of the few to go ashore. C-watch (my watch) experienced the island first yesterday morning. Climbing into one of the rescue boats, we motored through the crystal blue water to an approachable area of the island.

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July 26, 2016

Orona!

Haidee Chen, A watch, Columbia University

Protecting the Phoenix Islands

Haidee, here again! I realize that y’all have probably already heard enough from me, but here it goes, two blog posts in a row! As Hamilton blares from my laptop, I can see miles and miles of Orona, pristine with its white sandy shore and strip of vegetation running down the middle: my version of happiness. Earlier today, I had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go snorkeling on a dive mission: the first of many that we would have at Orona.

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July 23, 2016

Setting Sail from Kanton

Kevin Freymiller, A watch, Reed College

Protecting the Phoenix Islands

After what seemed like such a short time, our 3 days at Kanton had come to a close. I woke up before sunrise at 5am, for one of the last anchor watches. Shortly after breakfast, A watch took the deck to prepare the ship for departure. We removed the sail covers, and stowed the gear on deck. I was surprised how much had accumulated throughout the ship, as we quickly adjusted to the temporarily flat surfaces. We pulled the extra small boat out of the water from our makeshift dock, and stowed it on the roof.

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July 22, 2016

Taking a Breath in Kanton

Jennah McDonald, American University

Protecting the Phoenix Islands

Today was our final full day in beautiful Kanton. After an entire day exploring the island and last night’s spectacle of food, song, and dance, that we shared with the residents of Kanton, I was left with sore muscles (and vocal cords), burnt skin, mangled toes, and a full heart. After so much activity, most of the Robert C. Seamans crew needed some R&R. When we were told we would be spending half of the day today exploring another part of the island, I was excited but not sure I was up for the task.

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July 21, 2016

Experiencing Kanton

Jinxue Chen, St. John's College

I found it most unexpected in my life on the sea is how people get affected by their surrounding environment. From the perspective of my personal experience, we are deprived from internet and news currently. I hardly read anything every day. But I got used to this new life immediately. The thing I contemplate the most nowadays are food, seawater, zooplankton. Aristotle, Descartes from St. John’s College seem to be so far away from me. From a cultural perspective, I realize how such tropical sea is absent in most cultures. Every time when I see moon hanging aloft in the sky, shedding silver lights all over the sea, I recall some Chinese poetries depicting moon and Yangze River, the swimming prisoner from Mount Cristo, several stops on the journey of Odessey, the young man from Kafka on the Shore.

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July 20, 2016

Kanton, past and present.

William S. Feeney, Macalester College

Protecting the Phoenix Islands

Yesterday morning the Robert C. Seamans arrived in Kanton, motoring into its massive lagoon early in the afternoon. Today we awoke at 06:00 anchored in the lagoon, with a spectacular view of the strong tidal current, and a shore showing the signs of decades of military use: massive fuel tanks, the outlines of bunkers, and the remains of a WWII era shipwreck. Today we split into two groups, one going ashore to explore at 7:30, and another staying onboard the ship to stand watches and snorkel the coral gardens of the lagoon and the barrier reef outside.

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July 19, 2016

Kanton!

Corinna Anderson, B watch, Lafayette College

Protecting the Phoenix Islands

Hello everyone back home, it’s Corinna here, reporting on what your loved ones have been up to for the past 24 hours. Starting at 0100, B watch was in charge when we spotted our first glimpses of Kanton in the dark. It took us a while to see it because of how low-lying it is, but we finally managed to see it just before day break. As per usual at the end of our watch, we were pretty hungry.

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July 16, 2016

Thoughts from the Bowspirit

Alexandra Bonecutter, C Watch, Stony Brook University

Protecting the Phoenix Islands

Two weeks since the forty souls on board this ship have laid eyes on land; not long now until we arrive upon the shores of the island of Kanton.

Indeed, last night we entered the Phoenix Islands Protected Area soon after crossing the equator, leaving behind the oceanic desert of the mid-Pacific and nearing an “Underwater Eden…”

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July 14, 2016

SEA, New England Aquarium collaborate to study Phoenix Islands

Doug Karlson, communications@sea.edu

SEA Semester

Scientists from the New England Aquarium are currently on board the SSV Robert C. Seamans as she approaches the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA) with SEA Semester class S-268. Our students and scientists, together with New England Aquarium scientists, will help gather data to help protect this amazing UNESCO World Heritage Site – one of the world’s last remaining coral wildernesses.  Dr. Randi Rotjan, Associate Research Scientist at the New England Aquarium, Chief Scientist of the PIPA Conservation Trust and Co-Chair of the PIPA Scientific Advisory Committee, recently sent SEA President Peg Brandon the following letter, which summarizes our unique collaboration and explains why it’s so important….

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December 02, 2015

Video: Whales & Tall Ships in the South Pacific

SEA Semester

When you set sail with SEA Semester, you’ll see the world from a whole new perspective.

SEA Semester Professor of Oceanography Dr. Jan Witting captured this stunning footage of a pod of sperm whales while flying a drone camera during the summer 2015 Protecting the Phoenix Islands voyage aboard the SSV Robert C. Seamans.

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