SEA Currents: s258
The excitement of getting to land after three long weeks at sea since we left the Chatham Islands has been building aboard the Robert C. Seamans. We have all been feeling a lot of pressure lately as JWO/JLO responsibilities have heightened and we are finally putting together our manuscripts for our research projects. It is clear that sleep is becoming more and more compromised, especially when you see fellow shipmates looking a bit dazed for their late night watches or when the breakfast table has a few less attendees than usual. But amongst all of this, everyone has been in great spirits.
With the glorious arrival of tropical weather, certain worms have been spotted coming out of the woodwork to bask in the warmth of our sun-soaked deck. It seems some still prefer the coziness of their lair, but the majority are brave enough to expose their wanderings to the crew. They don’t feed off our hull like the menacing shipworms feared by tropics-bound wooden boats, but they have found their fuel in the libraries’ shelves. That’s right, the book worms are among us!
Expectations vs Reality
Expectations are an inevitable part of life. They shape the way we experience life, and can make a moment better or worse just from the state of mind you come in with. This program is a perfect example of how expectations can color your experience. I had never sailed or had any experience with boats before starting this semester back in Woods Hole.
Penny for Your Thoughts
Well, here we are sailing (and rolling) along under the full stack and mainstays’l, with Ile Rapa faded into the distance behind us and our sights set to our next stop: Raivavae. The transit from New Zealand has been exciting, rewarding, and even a little stressful at times, but overall the ship’s company is in good spirits.
The Ingredients for a Perfect Day
There aren’t many perfect days in life, but living aboard the Robert C. Seamans certainly provides opportunities a plenty. On land, one might not usually associate being woken up at 0230 by a friend whispering your name and giving you a brief weather report with a good day, but after you groggily put your harness on and stumble onto deck, the first thing that greets you is a night sky full of stars.
The Importance of Being Silly
One of my favorite stories of exploration is that of Ernest Shackleton, who sailed to Antarctica three times in the early 20th century in an attempt to lead the first team to the true South Pole. On his final voyage, Shackleton’s ship became stuck in the sea ice, and hope of making it home safe seemed all but lost. But Shackleton knew that survival was possible, and successfully led every single man out of the Antarctic ice alive.
A Steward’s Perspective
I would like to dedicate this blog post to the parents of the students and staff on board. I am the Steward on the RCS and I have the amazing opportunity to spend one on one time cooking with each of the students. Some of my favorite questions to ask them are about their cooking experiences, where they learned, what they grew up eating, and what their parents are like. I know my own love of cooking, as well as many others’, started by watching and helping their parents.
Night Watch, Eyes Open
Greetings and Salutations!
Things continue heating up on the Robert C. Seamans, both literally as we creep toward the tropics, and figuratively as our science project deadlines loom and we approach the end of the ominous-sounding “Shadow Phase” and the beginning of slightly sillier sounding, but much more stressful, JWO/JLO phase. (More as it develops.)
A Day of Culinary Trials
Another lovely day under sail. Thanks to a little help in the form of wind from a low pressure system to the south, we were able to shut off the old ‘iron sail’ (the engine) for most of the day today. Although as Assistant Engineer this piece of equipment is fairly central to my role here, I much prefer the sound of the wind in the rigging to the rumble of cylinders.
A Beautiful Day on the Water
Today was the second day in a row of absolutely beautiful weather. Not too hot or cold, with only scattered clouds. The sun seems to be bringing out everyone’s happy side, and on the deck (even more than usual) people are all smiles. There are musical jam sessions on top of the doghouse, relaxed readers resting up against a furled sail, smoothie consumers on the quarterdeck, and generally jovial people all around.