A mahi-mahi (Coryphaena hippurus) that we caught and examined the
stomach contents (two flying fish and one unidentified, perhaps a species of
needlefish?).That is deckhand Sil Kiewiet de Jonge with the fish and student
Noah van Aardenne to the right.
Noon Position (Lat and Long) 8° 18.5' N, 167° 09.0’W
Log (nm) 981 nm
Weather / Wind / Sail Plan ENE Force 4 Winds and Cumulus clouds
Description of Location Palmyra Atoll is the nearest land, 300 nm away.
Happy Fourth of July from SSV Robert C. Seamans! I’m Noah van Aardenne, a student from the University of Hawai’i Hilo. Today we will surpass 1,000 miles traveled since our departure from Honolulu! Also exciting is that we are passing within a few hundred miles from Palmyra Atoll, a very special place I had the pleasure of spending a few months on right before covid began. Captain Rick as well as Rich (maritime studies professor) and Ashley (steward) have also been there; it’s rare to meet someone else who’s been to the remote atoll, even rarer to meet three others. Currently it’s the closest land to us. A few of our booby companions that have been traveling with us on the masts and in the rigging departed from our vessel and headed in the direction of Palmyra, home to the second largest population of red-footed boobies in the world. Their departure likely decreased our shipboard bird population to around a dozen and a half. We’ll know for sure next time an hourly bird survey is conducted. These red-footed boobies that accompany us get a free ride on the ship, only briefly departing for a few seconds at a time to chase down and capture flying fish with impressive accuracy and diving abilities. I’ve also spotted two red-tailed tropicbirds so far!
We’ve been getting into the flow of our watch rotations, lab time, and scientific deployments. The dawn watch (0100 - 0700) wasn’t nearly as difficult as I thought it would be; there’s so much to do that I didn’t even think about needing to sleep. Tomorrow will be the mark of one week on the water, and it’s been smooth sailing with no major squalls. A few days ago we were lucky enough to catch a beautiful mahi mahi that Ashley did a great job cooking!
Thank you, Eli for making this trip possible for me. I wouldn’t have been able to do this if it wasn’t for you taking care of everything back in Hilo. Thanks also to my sister Aliya and most of all my parents. Thank you for supporting my education and this trip out to the Central Pacific Ocean. I can’t wait to call from Fiji and tell you all about it.