SEA Currents: sailing
Hello from the Pacific!
Today is another beautiful day on the Robert C. Seamans. It’s beginning to feel like summer here in the Southern Hemisphere and shorts and sandals are becoming more common than fleeces and hats. We have now passed the final islands in the Kermadec island chain and will be out of sight of land again for the next week and a half or so until we get to Napier.
Dear blog reader,
Today marks the beginning of our first phase change. Prior to today, our watch officers and assistant scientists were responsible for ensuring sailing and science were happening according to plan. In phase 1 we proved ourselves capable of taking on the next big challenge. What will this challenge look like?
Well, our first 24 hours has gone quite well since leaving Grenada. So far we have conducted two science stations and sampled with our hydrocast, meter net and neuston nets. Additionally, we have used flow through sensors to get readings on all kinds of water properties as we sail northwest of Grenada.
The Pinrail Chase: May the Best Watch Win!
Greetings from aboard the Robert C. Seamans, which is currently sailing northwards along the Kermadec Ridge! We were blessed with wonderfully sunny weather today - quite a stroke of luck, as we spent part of the day on the deck of the ship. Why, you may ask? Today was the PINRAIL CHASE, a lively inter-watch competition to see which of the three watches had best mastered the ship’s lines and their locations.
Useful Tip: It’s All About the Wide Stance
As I write this, the Seamans is sailing over thousands of meters of water!!! S-276 is extremely fortunate to be sailing over the Kermadec Ridge on our journey northward to Raoul. Our constantly sounding CHIRP instrument (which is pretty annoying) has been gathering data on the bathymetry (topography for the layman) of the ocean floor beneath us. So far we’ve sailed over some sea mountains and the saddle (the highest point) of the Kermadec Ridge which then drops to over 10,000 meters deep at its lowest point!!
A Sailor Survey
As we settle into a comfortable routine and get accustomed to the constant rocks and rolls of the boat, our focus can shift from some of us trying to keep our lunches down (there are fewer new members of the Fish Feeders Club every day) towards navigation, science deployments, and group discussions on cultural heritage. Our watch groups have been setting and striking sails, working in the labs and eating as one unit, so it’s fair to say we are getting to know each other pretty well.
Sailing for Science!
Our first full day at sea! Waking up to a gorgeous sunrise at anchor this morning, we set the sails and continued towards Russell. Throughout the day, we’ve been rotating watches focusing on applying all of our newfound skills in navigating, plotting courses, and catnaps. Around 1400, all hands gathered for our first actual class of the voyage. We discussed our current position (roughly 60 nautical miles North of Auckland), sail plan, and weather forecast before diving into sail handling 2.0.
So Here We Are
“SO, here we are, running before the wind under the topsail and course…” Jesse, sailing intern and current C watch J-WO says to A watch clustered around him on the quarterdeck. His voice comes from a silhouette plastered against a backdrop of stars. “The wind is from the East, force 4. Course ordered is 300 degrees….” he continues. And so began last night’s evening watch.
A Life Changing Adventure Coming to a Close
“The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon for each day to have a new and different sun.” –Jon Krakauer
Where do I even begin? It’s crazy to think that this is our last week aboard the SSV Corwith Cramer. It is truly bittersweet.
To set the scene of a dawn watch not long ago: Still foggy from my 00:30 wakeup, I rolled out of my bunk, made a mug of tea, and ascended the ladder through the dog house to read night orders, familiarize myself with the deck, and receive turnover information from the off-going watch. Directed to take the lookout position, I walked forward to the bow to relieve Mercer, who was looking out and singing “Lean on Me.” I joined him for a chorus, then as he left I situated myself between the rail and the forestay, and I began to watch.