SEA Currents: research
Update on Current Elsaesser Fellowship Research
SEA Semester alumnus Michael Jacobson (W-72), the recipient of the 2018 Armin E. Elsaesser III Fellowship award, is currently in southern Taiwan documenting the indigenous Tao people’s traditional boat building and fishing culture. He recently sent us his second update on his activities.
Update: I have left Lanyu and have been in the southern part of Taiwan. I learned so much about the current boat culture on Lanyu and how the tatala still retains a singular status for individuals and families. I was able to participate in four fishing summoning ceremonies, two tatala launching ceremonies, and even went out fishing for flying fish one night using lights to attract them.
It was a bright and beautiful day in paradise today! Off in the distance, the island of Culebra was appearing in the distance through fog. If the plan works accordingly, Culebra is our snorkeling stop for a bit of fun exploring in the Caribbean waters…fingers crossed!
Caribbean Reef Expedition: Week 10 (At sea, Barbuda)
Gretchen Beehler, of Purdue University, describes snorkeling the coral reefs around Barbuda as part of SEA Semester’s Caribbean Reef Expedition.
“Wire ready!” I shout as I stand by the hydrowinch and prepare to lower two pantyhose stuffed with decorated Styrofoam cups into the ocean. It may not sound like it, but our last science deployment of the voyage is quite an emotional event. Students and crew alike spent the last day adorning their own cups with depictions of various sea creatures, coral reefs, beautiful Caribbean sunsets, and treasured memories from our journey
Marine Spatial Planning Update
As ocean resources gain value to various different groups, a variety of stakeholders are vying for access and control of these ocean goods. Interested stakeholders range from fisherman to recreational users, conservationists, and industries such as shipping and oil acquisition. As the limited oceanic space becomes congested with these different interests, comprehensive planning is needed in order for them to co-exist safely across the marine environment.
Caribbean Reef Expedition: Week 8 at Sea
Bryan Jew, of University of California, San Diego, describes his research in the Tobago Cays as part of SEA Semester’s Caribbean Reef Expedition.
Sharks and Sights of Montserrat
So there I was, done with my first transect for the day. Steph and I finished our sampling early in Rendezvous Bay and instead of doing another as professional scientists would, we decided to explore. The reef in Montserrat was one of the best we’ve seen so far, even better than the Tobago Cays I’d say. The diversity of coral was surprising and exciting to see, as were the fish. Some big sights of the day include a lionfish, two sea turtles, and a big fat barracuda.
A big “Ahoy, matey!” from the deck of the Robert C. Seamans! As we reach the 3-week mark of our open ocean cruise, your favorite pirates are getting comfortable with life at sea and the trappings that come along with work on a tall-masted ship. Although we are scraping the dregs of the reefer and pining for fresh vegetables, don’t fret – unlike voyagers in the 17th and 18th centuries, we aren’t suffering from scurvy quite yet!
After dinner last night, Captain Bill called a mysterious meeting to discuss an exciting activity that we would be participating in today.
This morning I got my wake up with the news that we were starting our Anchor Watch (1 hour rotations instead of a full 6 hours), and that the anchor was just now getting dropped. I stepped out onto the deck greeted by a clear sky full of stars, dark masses of land bordering our ship, and the sound of 3 shots (each shot is 90 feet) of chain being let out as our ship tethered to the sea floor. It is a bitter sweet mix of feelings seeing land again.
Towards the Smoking Sea
Today we continued our sail to the volcanic island of Montserrat, hopefully arriving tonight to deploy our science equipment off the coast. While waking up at 6 has never been something I’d plan for back home, such is life on the Cramer.
Snorkeling in the Cays has been the highlight of the trip so far. It had by far the greatest variety of fish, and the urchins I’m looking at for my project are almost carpeting some areas.