SEA Currents: s252
Catch of the Day
We are anchored for Day 4 in Nuku Hiva and split time ashore between the Port and Starboard watches. The morning began early as many of the crew of the RCS went to speak with local fisherman and watch the morning catch be fileted and sold. This turned into an exciting marine biological learning experience when scraps from the cut fish were thrown into the water and quickly eaten by the local shark population.
Those onboard the RCS spent most of their time performing boat and anchor checks and preparing for the next leg at sea, during which we will transit from Nuku Hiva to Hilo, Hawaii.
We need the ship and the ship needs us
Day 3 in Nuku Hiva: Students are divided into two groups, the Starboard and Port watches. One watch hurries to wolf down breakfast, pack an adventure bag, pack a bag lunch, and slop on sunscreen before being whisked ashore. They spend the day exploring the landscape and talking with local people. There are tropical fruits to be selected straight off of the sun-warmed tree and beautiful Nuku Hivan wood carvings and bone carvings to be contemplated.
Namaste! Followers of Robert C. Seamans’ blog,
Here we are anchored in Nuku Hiva after 1000 miles of sailing. As I am writing this blog entry, I am thinking about our first encounter with Captain Doug in Woods Hole when he asked us to imagine our third week at sea. Reflecting on those feelings of excitement, anxiousness and uncertainty after two weeks of sailing, I must say that this experience has surpassed my expectations in every possible way.
Setting Foot on Nuku Hiva
Ahoy! (Hi Mom, don’t worry I’m still alive)
Waking up after a satisfying two-hour night’s sleep was met with delight after realizing we had arrived at Nuku Hiva. Stepping out onto deck during sunrise to see the towering cliffs of the island disappearing into the clouds was an amazing way to start the day. Today would be an exciting day for the entire crew because we would be stepping foot on Nuku Hiva for the first time.
Approach to Nuku Hiva
Today the mountainous outline of Nuku Hiva finally rose from the horizon to greet our waiting eyes. Late last night at the end of Dawn Watch, it was announced that we should officially be within a viewing distance of Nuku Hiva. Unfortunately, the island was in the direction of the rising sun, so our sight was limited until the sun was higher in the sky. But it was worth the wait!
After days of rolling swells and choppy whitecaps, any new shapes and sounds stand out brightly.
Living Up the Sea Life
On the Robert C. Seamans we are living up the sea life! It’s very different from you landlubbers out there. Sleep is short, but very refreshing. I woke up at 0230 for my watch at 0300, Dawn Watch! This is my favorite watch time. Who guessed it? I’m turning into a morning person. Lily and I wake up at the same time since we are both on B Watch and live in Shellback Alley, aka The Turtles! We get dressed, grab our harnesses and catch a midnight snack.
Ahoy from the Robert C. Seamans!
It’s been just over 5 days since the last palm tree on Rangiroa faded from sight in an approaching squall and we’ve seen no land since. We’re now dancing over swells nearly 400 nautical miles as the albatross flies from Rangiroa and have over 200 nautical miles to go to Nuku Hiva! With distances measured in hundreds of miles and travel time measured in days, it’s so important for our little community aboard the Seamans to live and work cohesively together all of the time.
The Seafaring Life
It seems everyone is settling deeper into the seafaring life aboard the Seamans. I have observed more and more people awake when they are not on watch. Perhaps because for the most part we have all gained our sea legs and are no longer exhausted from sea sickness and the new sleeping routine. Today, I got closer to accomplishing one of my lifetime goals of learning how to use the sextant. Many of us took advantage of the clear skies and used the sextants to ‘shoot some sun lines’, precompute our local apparent noon and then find our angle at that time to ultimately try to find our latitude.
Sleep of Kings
After a sleep of kings night I am ready for today as we continue to sail to Nuku Hiva. Yesterday was a really fun day as a lot of us got pranked for April fools. A Watch had a morning watch (0700 to 1300) and as always we met on the quarter deck for watch turnover. Jay, our Watch Officer and Chief Mate, came on deck with a harness sized for a 7 year old boy and we all had a good laugh. In spite of the pranks, we had a really busy day since we wanted to shut off the engine and go back to sailing.
Science + Sailing
As we continue on toward Nuku Hiva, is has become clear that science stops for no man. Just about every 12 hours we stop the ship’s forward progress, a process known as heaving to, and deploy gear to collect everything from water samples at 400 meters depth to phytoplankton at the surface level. Although we are working together in small groups on our research, we all do our part to help prepare data for other projects. Our duties include working during our on-watch lab hours to deploy the carousel, the neuston net, and the meter net, as well as processing the results.