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SEA Currents Blog

SEA Currents: s261


July 31, 2015

Disconnection

Taylor Smith, Harding University

Protecting the Phoenix Islands

Many things have changed since we boarded the Robert C. Seamans. Our hair is lighter or in some cases shorter. Our skin is darker. Our hands are callused. We now know the names of all the sails on the ship and how they are set and struck. People will never be able to watch Pirates of the Caribbean with us ever again without us muttering about which sails they are using and being plunged back into memories of the sea.

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July 30, 2015

Lookout is a trap.

Nikki Caspers, Connecticut College

Protecting the Phoenix Islands

I’m going to tell you a secret. It’s a secret that all the students on this ship keep and though this could be taken as an act of betrayal to my fellow peeps, I’m in desperate need of a good blog story. So here it is The Truth.

Lookout is a trap.

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July 29, 2015

Effects of El Nino

Jan Witting, Chief Scientist

Protecting the Phoenix Islands

As we sailed from Honolulu, we knew we were headed into a Pacific in the midst of an El Nino episode.  During these episodes that occur every three to four years some unusual winds allow warm water from the extreme Western Pacific manages to flow toward the Americas.  We are now in the middle of this pool of much warmer than usual water that, acting in conjunction with the atmosphere, rules our daily weather.

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July 28, 2015

Pitzer Student’s Phoenix Islands Voyage in the Spotlight

SEA Semester® in the News:
“Pitzer Student Karl Kiser Sets Sail to Explore the Pacific”
Pitzer College | July 28, 2015

Pitzer College student Karl Kiser ’16 is spending the summer sailing on one of the first scientific research voyages to the Phoenix Islands, a largely unexplored region of the Pacific Ocean. Through an eight-week Sea Education Association (SEA) Semester summer program, Kiser and 21 classmates are gathering data that will help scientists and policymakers better understand one of the last remaining coral wildernesses on Earth.

Read the full story here.

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July 27, 2015

Mauri From the Island of Orona!

Emily Callan, University of South Carolina

Protecting the Phoenix Islands

We arrived in Orona last night during the evening watch (1900 - 2300). Unfortunately, since it was pitch black out, save for the light of the stars, we could not see the island very well. So by dawn, when the sun finally began to peak over the horizon, everyone on dawn watch was in awe of the beauty of the island. From a distance, we could see an atoll full of trees and uninhabited by people since the early 2000s. After an all hands meeting after breakfast, it was decided that those who were on the dawn watch were allowed to be part of the first group to go ashore, which meant me!

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July 26, 2015

Climate Change in the Phoenix Islands

Krystina Lincoln, Williams College

Protecting the Phoenix Islands

A major theme of both our science and policy work has centered on climate change, specifically how small islands nations like Kiribati can proceed in the face of quickly changing oceans. We’ve talked about the consequences of coral bleaching, acidification, ocean temperature increase and, most interesting to me, how the sovereignty of the small islands nations could be effected if the atolls are submerged by sea level rise.

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July 25, 2015

A Birthday at Sea

Julia Chavarry, Johns Hopkins University

Protecting the Phoenix Islands

There’s something to be said about celebrating your birthday on a ship in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. It will probably serve as one of my most memorable, especially because it included chocolate cupcakes with fish-shaped sprinkles.

Today as I turn 20 I realize that I’ve experienced incredible things on this voyage. Just to mark a few:

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July 24, 2015

Anchor Watch

Nathan Kemp, Knox College

Protecting the Phoenix Islands

Blue is her color
Blue is the color of the woman who controls the winds,
The winds that blow fiercely, churning the midnight blue waves that crash the bow,
The bow that splits the midnight waters from the sapphire blue sky that is the canvas of the winds,
The winds that bring her tales of wonder past the twinkling stars,
The stars that shine their light on both her and me,
Me who looks out over the wide, separating expanse, thinking about the woman whose color is blue.

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July 23, 2015

Witnessing Kanton Island

Andre Price, Elizabeth City State University

Protecting the Phoenix Islands

This has been an amazing and exciting experience thus far.  The work is tough, but days like today make it all worthwhile.  Today I stepped foot on Kanton Island for the first time with some of my shipmates.  We explored part of the island that still carries ruins of relatively recent human occupation.  This used to be an airfield for PanAm airlines, as well as a hotel site, and some of the remains are still on the island.

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July 22, 2015

A Day at Kanton Island

Maddie Beattie, Albion College

Protecting the Phoenix Islands

My day today started at 5am with my hour of anchor watch.  When we are at port, pairs of students stand watch for an hour at a time over the course of the night completing boat checks, weather observations, and making sure our anchors hold fast.  Taking an early morning watch meant I had almost seven hours of uninterrupted sleep, a rarity during life at sea.  After watch, I joined Captain Pamela and several other students for a 6 o’clock dawn run on Kanton Island.

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