A Day Below the Deck

July 4, 2022

Cam Ragland and Patrick Robichaud, The Assistants


Patrick and Cam at Sunset

Ship's Log

Noon Position
33 38.508'N x 159 33.191'W

Ship Heading
092 degrees

Ship Speed
7 kts.

Weather / Wind
NE Wind, Force 3, Partly Cloudy

Sail Plan
Motor sailing under the stays'ls.

Souls on Board

While today is a day typically spent with family and friends watching large explosions in the sky, we aboard the Robert C. Seamans are doing everything to avoid such a spectacle. Today we are celebrating the company of one another as a shipboard community.

Of the 36 humans aboard this ship, we are comprised of 21 students, 6 watch officers, and 7 others. While most of the ship's company stands watch, the 7 others are the exceptions to this schedule. Our sleep schedules is more consistent than most, but our days are packed full.

Patrick: As the assistant engineer, my primary role is to assist Henry with the maintenance of machinery and systems onboard as well as is to learn from his wealth of experiences.

Cam: I work with Nevin, the steward, in the galley to make three meals and three snack every day for the ship's company. It's always a team effort to plan meals and make sure all they get out on time for every seating.

The engineers and the stewards are categorized as others, as we do not stand watch. So, we thought we would give you a little insight to the interior of ship life. Here is a day in the life of "the assistants."

P: 02:37 - I woke up to turn on the main engine because the wind had dropped and the ship's speed was only 2 knots, with the engine on and turning at 1000 rpm we were making 6 kts, an acceptable speed.

C: 0440 - I woke up to a quiet galley and a fresh pot of coffee, before it was time to make breakfast. This morning was pancakes and grapefruit with the help of today's student assistant steward, Audrey.

P: 0600 - A good morning wake up for the first seating of breakfast.

C&P: 0620 - With the ring of the ship's triangle, it was time for the first meal of the day. The others gathered with A watch for breakfast.

P: 0650 - I drank my tea on the quarter deck. Today was the first day since we left Honolulu where we saw another ship; it was a large container ship passing us on the port side, an exciting moment.

P: 0800 - Olivia N, today's student assistant engineer helped with the daily and weekly preventative maintenance tasks, along with cleaning the plastic site tubes for the fresh water tank sight glasses.

C: 0900 - I woke up from my post breakfast nap just in time to prep the snack for the day with Audrey. We landed on a festive menu of watermelon for morning snack, ice cream sundaes in the afternoon, and rice krispies for midrats.

P: 1000 - I helped Kat deploy her profiling pump to measure microplastic at different depths and enjoy a snack of watermelon on the quarter deck.

C: 1100 - I watched the science station and enjoyed time on deck while Nevin was cooking lunch with Audrey.

P: 1220 - I ate a delicious lunch of baked potatoes with red, white and blue drinks. I then took a quick afternoon nap before class.

P &C: Class began at 1430 and today was the line chase! This is a team sport/competition by all the watches to identify lines all over the ship.

In their watches, the students lined up and raced to find the line on their index card, an exciting time.

C: 1600 - We celebrated the end of the line chase with ice cream sundaes! A treat of a snack, as it was the end of our ice cream for the trip.

C&P: 1630 - Captain Rick then said that we are turning east! We spent the past eight days sailing north so it was a big deal to turn to the east. And we are finally making the turn towards San Diego. This required the turning on of the 'd-sail' (main engine) as we are heading into the wind.

C: 1645 - It was time to start making dinner. Audrey and I made a delicious meal of peanut noodles and veggie spring rolls with the help of Amy, 3rd Assistant Scientist. The typical amount of pre-dinner chaos happened tonight with the peeling and chopping of veggies, a fair amount of laughs and lots and lots of noodles.

C&P: 1900 - It was finally time for us to eat dinner at second seating with the rest of the others and B watch. Our table had a noodle eating competition that brought some excitement to the typical dinner conversation.  Ella, Assistant Scientist, won first prize as the bowl was scraped clean.

C&P: 1930 - We are both consistent members of the Sunset Appreciation Club.

We have typically been meeting on the port side each evening to watch the show because we have been heading north. But with our change in course, tonight was our first meeting on the aft side of the quarter deck! A HUGE change of scenery.

C&P: 2000 - Sunset Appreciation Club was interrupted by a holler from the charthouse that we had hit 1000 nautical miles! SO many things to celebrate today!

C&P: 2030 - We are unwinding in the salon with shipmates and midrats to snack on. The lovely background noise of the ship pounding against the waves every few seconds is a reminder that our dear main engine is hard at work.

And then we do it all again tomorrow! Of course each day is interesting in its own way. For Patrick, there is a never ending list of things preventative maintenance or things that need fixing. For Cam, there are always 36 hungry mouths that need feeding six times a day.

--Cam Ragland and Patrick Robichaud, The Assistants

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  1. Susan Ragland July 5, 2022 at 16:07 - Reply

    This is so cool to read. Thank you Patrick and Cam. Sounds like a fabulous time at sea with just your ship family and nature to entertain and enlighten you. Enjoy the lack of the world’s “interruptions”! You are in a great place. Love Gigi, Cam’s grandmother PS Cam, I invite you to cook for me ANY TIME!!! Meals sound yummy.

  2. J. Ragland July 6, 2022 at 09:04 - Reply

    Great post Cam and Patrick. Thanks for sharing. Best wishes for a safe and amazing experience on the Pacific.

  3. Martha Lovett July 9, 2022 at 18:44 - Reply

    I love reading a post like this that talks about some of the details if ship life! So nice to read how you both are contributing to the smooth running of the ship and supporting the crew and students by prioritizing strong positive relationships along with your duties. I am impressed with the amount of effort everyone puts out and the great attitudes I read about! Having a smooth running ship and good food on the table while on a Pacific passage is pure poetry!

  4. Izzy Stewart July 11, 2022 at 15:33 - Reply

    YAY CAM!! You are the coolest 🙂

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