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SEA Currents Blog

SEA Currents: robert c. seamans


February 10, 2019

S-284: The Global Ocean, New Zealand

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The Global Ocean, New Zealand program begins Jan. 2nd at the SEA campus in Woods Hole. After about six weeks of classroom work, students join the SSV Robert C. Seamans in Auckland, New Zealand on Feb. 12th. The voyage ends in Christchurch, N.Z. on March 22nd after port stops in Russell, Wellington, and Dunedin.

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February 19, 2018

Kiwi weather guru visits Seamans

SEA Semester

SEA Semester in the News
MetBob Weathergram
A blog post by noted New Zealand weather guru, Bob McDavitt

My good wishes to the University students who are crewing on Training Tall Ship SSV ROBERT C SEAMANS. The vessel visited Auckland last week and sailed to Opua late in the week. Captain, and Professor in Nautical Science, Elliot Rappaport invited me on deck. I especially like that the students manage a full-time marine lab and also are one of the VOS (Voluntary Observing Ships) that send in regular weather reports using properly calibrated instruments. These observations, around the planet, are part of what helps the global weather models in touch with the real world.

Read the full blog post

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November 27, 2017

Bowdoin Student Celebrates Thanksgiving at Sea

SEA Semester

SEA Semester in the News
Madeleine King ’19 Spends Thanksgiving At Sea, Down Under
Tom Porter, Bowdoin News

While most of her classmates are at home diving into a traditional turkey dinner, Madeleine King ’19 is having quite a different Thanksgiving experience—doing environmental research aboard a tall ship, in New Zealand.

King, who’s majoring in environmental studies and earth and oceanographic science, is among a group of US undergraduates studying and sailing abroad through SEA Semester: The Global Ocean, a program offered by Sea Education Association, a Massachusetts-based nonprofit focusing on environmental education.

After six weeks of onshore preparation in the US, King and her fellow students joined the SSV (student sailing vessel) Robert C. Seamans—described by SEA as a “state-of-the-art 134 foot brigantine”—in Auckland, New Zealand on November 12, 2017 to begin a six-week voyage.

Read the full story.

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April 23, 2017

How to Become an Old Salt

Jacquelyn Wu, Best Watch, Bowdoin College

SEA Semester

Don’t shower – you will literally be salty head to toe from sea spray, along with your sweat from hauling on lines day in and day out.

But actually, have you been wondering what it would take to be a sailor aboard the Seamans? This is a (short) cheat sheet from what I’ve learned so far, mostly in order of importance:

Expect the unexpected. This is by far the most important tip I have! I’ve been surprised at every turn. It pays to be ready at all times, whether it be for a fire drill where you have to head to your assigned station and wait for orders, for a swell that’ll knock you off of your feet, or for when things don’t go quite as planned.

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April 22, 2017

On Shipmates and Happiness

Elizabeth Pieters, A Watch, Simon Fraser University

SEA Semester

I haven’t seen land in 23 days. What a wide, wonderful, watery world it is out there, surrounded by nothing but the ocean, and the ship carrying you across the waves. Of course, on this boat you’re surrounded by more than just the ocean: and no, I’m not talking about the sky and I won’t be waxing eloquent on the majesty of the stars at night, though they are brilliant.

So what am I surrounded by then? If not the ocean or sky or stars?

My SHIPMATES. I am surrounded, day in and day out, by a boatload of salts, jokers, and eccentrics who make my 134.5 foot world go round. You can see how comfortable we’ve all gotten around each other; this photo was taken after parading around our boat screaming “Science!! Science!!” at the top of our lungs for March for Science today, on Earth day. Almost inevitably we wind up learning as much about each other as we do about sail handling or our research projects. Other people, when living in such a tight knit community, are fascinating. How they relate to each other, what their quirks are, what makes them tick. And: what makes them happy.

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April 19, 2017

Peace and Chicken Grease

SEA Semester

Hello there all you land folk and loved ones. 

This is Lauren, the steward, here. 

I’ve been feeding all of your wonderful people on this trip so far, but today was a very special day for everyone onboard, but for me in particular.  The whole staff decided to take over my job for the day and each of them chose their own dish and meal to make for us, so we had 13 different people cooking for us today.  And what a day it was!  Beignets and brownies, toasties and tagines, cappuccinos and date bars!  No one went hungry today.  No one goes hungry any day actually.

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April 17, 2017

Looking out and other (disjointed) musings

Sophia Tigges, A Watch, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

SEA Semester

Lookout is my favorite part of deck watch. As lookout, you gain distance and perspective, both physically and figuratively. Standing at the bow and clinging to the forestay as the swells pass, your job is to look, listen, and report anything that seems amiss.

This blog post is a collection of some of the thoughts that I had as I stood lookout on dawn watch this morning, eating trail mix out of my pocket and watching the clouds gain blush and peach tones as the sun rose. Everyone agrees on a few aspects of looking out from the bow. Firstly, pocket snacks are essential. Secondly, you are going to end up singing regardless of whether you ever wanted to or not. Time either flies or drags on while you are trying to remember the beginning of a song that you never expected that you would forget. Thirdly, you will think strange thoughts. These thoughts fall on the spectrum defined by profound introspection on one end and utter absurdity on the other, but they tend to be closer to either end of this scope than to the center.

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April 16, 2017

Happy Easter from the Robert C. Seamans

Nate Bears, Engineer

SEA Semester

As I was sitting down to write the blog today, I heard a crew member mention that we crossed the 2000nm log today.  That is a long way to sail and puts us a long way from anywhere.  This is perhaps what I love most about this life at sea, the community it builds.  Ship, Shipmate, Self…. it’s a pretty good guideline, and really cool to see all the acts of kindness that unfold each day.

Sunrises and sunsets, the other two reasons I really love doing this, and it was clear enough to see both today. The highlight of my day was working with students on their upcoming engineering presentations.  They will be pairing up and giving 5 minute presentations on subjects such as, “Shipboard Life without Power” and “Water Desalinization.”  Bound to be entertaining and informative, just like what we learned in class today; a blue whale’s tongue is bigger than a bull elephant… the more you know.

- Nate

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April 15, 2017

Aloft for Rig Inspection, Moving into Phase 2

Ross Robinson, 3rd Mate

SEA Semester

We have now settled in to Phase 2, the watch groups having swapped officers a few days ago. Now the students will take turns shadowing their watch officers in lab and on deck, and begin to take on greater responsibilities. They will learn all they can in the next two weeks to prepare for running the watch as Junior Watch Officers (JWO’s) in the final Phase.

Today marked other turning points as well. We have a had a few days of nice sailing without the engine, but the light and unfavorable direction today led to the engine coming to assist in the afternoon. The good news was the return of clear sky for celestial navigation. Today our noon position was fixed by advancing a morning sun line to local apparent noon (LAN).

The sky remained clear for evening twilight, where half a dozen students shot the stars. A Watch was able to turn over to B Watch with a celestial position fix on the chart from evening stars. We are all looking forward to more star fixes in the coming weeks.

- Ross

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April 14, 2017

We Sail For Science

Anna Wietelmann, A-Watch, Sailing Intern

SEA Semester

The wind has filled in the past couple days and we have been able to sail full and bye (as close to the wind as possible) to make our way north and east to Tahiti. It has been wonderful to sail again, the endless thrum of the motor replaced with the hum of the wind as it blows through the rigging.

Yesterday, the students wrapped up their creature features with a presentation on Hyperiid Amphipods during class. Také and Romina presented on amphipod’s parasitic relationship to salps to the tune of “Your Welcome” from Moana.

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