SEA Currents: s270
November 30, 2016
A few days ago we shifted into phase 2, otherwise known as shadow phase or apprentice phase, where one student on each watch shadows the mate or scientist to learn what they do and how they make decisions. Yesterday we rotated watches, the students and interns stayed together while the mates shifted to a different watch. This was accomplished by having the Captain and Chief Scientist stand the morning watch to push the mates and scientists back 1 watch.
November 29, 2016
Our World in Motion
Sailors have a heightened sense of awareness to the world around them. If there is one thing I observed aboard the SSV Robert C. Seamans, it is that our maritime world is in fluid motion. Winds veer and back, the celestial sphere scans the sky, the ship inhales and exhales with each swell, and the compass sways as we alter our heading from NW to SE.
November 28, 2016
Experience is Knowledge and Knowledge is Power
Intelligence grows when moving from the known-predictable to the unknown-unpredictable. Living and working with 33 different people is definitely a brand new experience that I expect is shaping and molding my intelligence. For the past few days I have been wondering what brought all of us together and the answer I have come up with is the ocean.
November 26, 2016
Sailing for the Kermadecs!
It has been almost one week since we departed our anchorage in Russell and we are approaching the Kermadec Islands. Although the water column is packed with living organisms (biomass) the Pacific Ocean we’ve been sailing through is quite barren above the waterline. We regularly go almost a full day without seeing even a seabird soaring by. The water temperature has been on the rise as we’ve sailed north into the sub-tropical waters; increasing from a chilly 15.7° C to 21.5° C.
November 25, 2016
Today on our ship we have been graced by the presence of five Glaucus atlanticus nudibranchs! A native of the Tropical and Subtropical Seas, these surface dwelling sea slugs are, to put it bluntly: gorgeous and impressive. While small in size, the molluscs we’ve been able to observe are iridescent blue-white and have four mane-like appendages that they use for flotation. My favorite part of the day was observing them in the lab.
November 24, 2016
We do everything a little differently on the Brigantine. We box the compass and shoot celestial bodies. We count the swells and name the clouds. We learn to walk on rocking surfaces and eat on swaying tables. Cardinal directions are our best friends and every hour is accounted for. I guess things have to be done differently when we are floating across the Pacific ocean in a 134 ft vessel. Don’t even get me started on the language - we have the bow ahead of us and the stern behind, we go to the port side when we are on left side of the ship and starboard for right, we walk on soles and when nature calls, we use the heads – it’s peculiarly beautiful.
November 24, 2016
There is a cycle that binds us to her planks and hull. Years ago she was mined from deep earth, her body extracted from its terrestrial footing, to become something of the Sea.
Like all cycles, one day she will return to her beginnings of earth and soil. Iron shavings, chemical reactions.
November 23, 2016
Shooting the moon! And sun! And stars! And even some planets!
Today those of us on C watch had the morning watch. It was a comfortable 19°C as we took the deck with beautiful clear skies. For me, and for most of the rest of the watch, the theme of the day has been celestial navigation.
We were fortunate to have a lovely crescent moon high in the clear sky upon taking the watch, not to mention the sun itself. This gave us an excellent opportunity to get a two-body celestial fix. Fairly shortly after getting settled in, Yen and Kate grabbed some sextants and shot the sun and the moon. Hearts players beware, they both shoot the moon like pros.
November 21, 2016
INTERNtainment on the High Seas
It has now been about a week since the Seamans left Auckland. It will now be about a month before the Seamans returns to Auckland. Til then, we will be sailing for three weeks straight out to the Kermadec Islands before turning back to Napier on the North Island. Life, of course, will be busy for students and the professional crew alike. We’re all still settling into our new 6 hours on/12 hours off watches and our deck/lab routines.
November 20, 2016
Experiments in Time
To test Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, researchers sent an airplane with an atomic clock around the earth. After it returned, scientists found that time passed more slowly when the plane traveled quickly; the airplane’s atomic clock had ticked slightly slower than ones on earth’s surface. Even though our dear ship has been known to reach a whopping speed of nine nautical miles per hour, the SSV Robert C. Seamans does not travel fast enough for us to observe a scientific difference in the way time passes.