Greetings from the SSV Robert C. Seamans! I am currently seated in the galley with a cup of hot tea beside my computer. Through the portholes I see waves roll up against the ship as we rock side to side. How does this not spell disaster regarding my computer and my hot tea? The answer is a work of architecture called “tables on a gimbal.” The table is rigged such that it moves to horizontal as the angle of the ship changes, thereby allowing my computer and my tea to coexist peacefully.
Moving tables are just one of many everyday things that are different at sea. For instance, a regular daily schedule does not exist onboard the Seamans. One day I have watch in the afternoon, the next I have watch at 7am, and the next I get to wake up at one in the morning to survey the boat, stand on lookout, and steer the ship along its course. I may be tired, but at least I get to enjoy a light pollution-free night sky!
Activity on the Seamans is constant. In addition to setting four sails, students in lab deployed a conductivity-temperature-depth machine, started processing our first water samples, and conducted a net tow to capture zooplankton. Yesterday morning a tuna was caught on a fishing line and eaten for dinner the same night. The tuna reminds me of how closely people are connected to the ocean, and that we have a direct impact on the ocean and its ecosystems. I hope that this voyage is not only an opportunity for personal growth, but also that that the research we do and the data we collect contributes to a movement towards a healthy ocean-human relationship.
Micah Strike, B watch, Carleton College