Dawn Watch in the North Pacific

April 27, 2023

Josefine Wallace, B watch, deckhand

Greta shooting the stars

Ship's Log

Noon Position
08° 37.4’ N, 150° 17.7’ W

Ship Heading

Ship Speed
5 knots

Taffrail Log
2278 nautical miles

Weather / Wind / Sail Plan
Sailing on a starboard tack under four lowers and jib topsail with shallow reef in the main

Description of location
Northern Equatorial waters

Souls on Board

All blogs from S-308

0100 this morning found B watch taking over from A watch, under a sky of stars and an ENE breeze. We divvied up positions – two to lab, one to helm, one to plot our position. I went to lookout, forward on the bow, clipped in to the forestay and riding the swell. I scanned the horizon – dark sky, dark sea – looking for deeper shadows that may herald a squall, or for the lights of other ships ghosting along the horizon. The bow sliced through waves, sending spray cascading over the foredeck, illuminated green by the starboard running light. I was glad for my foul weather gear jacket, glad for the easing of the temperature that allowed me to wear the jacket without breaking a sweat. Hundreds of miles from land, perched on a pitching deck in the middle of the night, I caught myself thinking about a cup of coffee and idly wondering what breakfast would be; not for the first time I marveled at human adaptability.S308 students and staff have been aboard for almost a month now, immersed in a new ship, new routines, new terminology, new geography, new weather patterns. Consider the breathtaking difference between a classroom in Wood’s Hole (or a hospital rotation in Wenatchee, WA, which is where I came from), and being a watch stander on a sailing ship halfway across the Pacific Ocean. But at this point we are settled in. The new has become familiar, the nerve-wracking has become routine. Between watches we go to class on the quarterdeck, we do chores and fret over dishes, we spend time with friends. This is something I love about sailing on ships like Robert C Seamans – the mundane reproduced in this austere and alien setting, the routine juxtaposed with the ever-changing sea.My nightly routine involves wielding a sextant and shooting the stars at twilight (weather permitting), a practice that still blows me away with its simplicity. Imagine measuring an angle to some stars and planets rotating across the sky, and with a few calculations (ok, quite a few calculations if done by hand), coming up with the ship’s precise location! I’ll sign off now to go participate, and with any luck will plot a celestial fix on the chart by 1900 tonight.Wishing a very happy birthday to our student Olivia, and also to my mom – mom, I am safe, I am happy, and I’m missing you!Josefine Wallace, B watch, deckhand

Venus emerging in time for evening star frenzy

Subscribe for Blog Updates

Share This Blog

One Comment

  1. Nicholas April 30, 2023 at 12:58 - Reply

    Josefine, what an evocative and beautifully written update for all of us back at home on terra firma. I really enjoyed reading your entry. Kudos to you.

Leave A Comment

Sailing Into Yesterday

2024-02-22T14:32:51-05:00February 22, 2024|0 Comments

Author: Chelsea Moody, B Watch, Bowdoin College ’25 Ship's Log February 21, 2024Position: 38° 54.312’S & 179°28.060’WHeading: 100° trueSpeed: 7.7 KnotsDistance: 567Weather: Today we’re riding [...]

Appreciating the little things

2024-02-21T13:23:50-05:00February 21, 2024|0 Comments

Author: Ava Roche, A Watch, Barnard College ‘25 Ship's Log February 20, 2024Position: 39° 01.987’S & 178°13.324’EHeading: 45° trueSpeed: 3.5 KnotsDistance: 449Weather: South East Winds with a [...]

Dreaming About Pin Rails

2024-02-21T11:56:22-05:00February 21, 2024|0 Comments

Author: Delphine Demaisy, C Watch, College of the Atlantic Ship's Log February 19, 2024Position: 38deg26.860'S ; 178deg33.080'EHeading: 215Speed: 6.9 knotsWeather: Today's weather was enjoyable with winds coming [...]