Keeping our Heads Together

May 2, 2024

Author: Duane Keohane, Assistant Engineer


Ship's Log

Saturday, 27 April 2024

Noon Position (Lat and Long): 148°27.5 W’ 24°7.0 S’

Ship Heading (degrees):

Ship Speed (knots): 5.6

Taffrail Log (nm): 3385

Weather / Wind / Sail Plan (from 1300 Watch Change): Sunny with evenly
scattered clouds, SE x E winds, sailing on a starboard beam reach under the
four lowers

Friends, Roman(o’)s, Land dwellers, lend me your ear!

I am Duane Keohane, also known as Dewey, I am an engineer aboard the Robert
C Seamans. I am from Sanibel Island, Florida. I studied environmental
engineering at Florida Atlantic University and I have meandered my way on to
this lovely & healthy ship. It seems I may be the only staff member
contributing to the blog. All the students were extremely eager to write. I
barely squeezed my name on the list. I’m sure you land dwellers have a
decent sense of student life aboard by now; allow me to provide a new
perspective. Join me on a short walkthrough of my day on the RCS. Friday,
April 26 will be the setting. Every day is melting together, sorry if I mix
things up. Firstly, it is important that I inform you, with all our efforts
to live & learn the tall ship life, the two most critical things to do are
1. hangout &  2. have fun. Lucky for us that’s as easy as sitting next to
your favorite Other (non-watch stander) at second seating of dinner, or
standing between your watch mates hauling up the main to a sea shanty, or
for me piecing together a porcelain head (toilet) using epoxy and other
toxic adhesives substances with my chief engineering buddy Clare. The high
spirits aboard the Robert C. Seamans make most everything tolerable &
enjoyable. All though some events may seem stressful and definitely strange,
we truly have a great time! Now for Friday, ‘twas the morning after boat

0600: I am awoken by Amelia. I live in the lower bunk of Nick & Dewey’s
Cabin Of Awesomeness. Located aft of the mountain, starboard side, aboard
the Robert C. Seaman’s, about 400 miles south of Tahiti (In case anyone
wanted to send a letter through The Robert C. Seaman’s postal service). Big
Boss Mike Romano (3rd Scientist) lives above me. Although I live a
semi-normal schedule opposed to the rest of the crew, I still sleep through
breakfast most mornings. Amelia included in my wake up that there were eggs
being served for breakfast. I sprang out of bed as if a head were
overflowing. Crazy Props to Murph the steward. She is the backbone of the
ship, and keeps us feed with amazing meals!

0645: Morning coffee on deck. Those who know me well know I never drink
coffee, well on a boat you kind of have to. I like to head straight to the
helm as soon as I step on deck to lean on the other side of the wheel and
take in the morning air as well as say good morning to the helmsman and mate
standing watch. There I’ll usually get roped into some early morning sail
handling. This morning was setting the main to Matt chanting Boom Boom Pow.
I no longer needed the coffee.

0900: After the standing watch finishes chores, I receive a “friend-gineer”
one lucky watch stander gets to hang out with me for the entire morning.
This morning it was Zahra. I walk through our daily preventative maintenance
with them, and Clare and I explain the systems on the ship. Later we start
projects; today’s project will never be forgotten.

1000: Snack time. You’ll always catch the engineers promptly on time for
morning snack. Maybe because we both skip breakfast most days but I couldn’t
tell you for sure. I’m always hungry. The students decided today is
Halloween, because yesterday was Christmas therefore we skipped the spooky
day. I just go along with it. Zahra painted a scar across my face, it looked
super real. Captain Allison wasn’t thrilled to find me walking up on to deck
with it at first. So I decided I was David Bowie from there on and we added
some blue and white to my Ziggy Stardust. Others joined the holiday spirit;
there were sharks, ogres, mice, and a minion.

1300: Clare and I decide it’s time to look at the midships head after lunch.
Rocky had informed us that the head was rocking a bit. We both thought it
would be an easy fix. Maybe a lose fastener or what not. Not the case. We
identified cracks in the porcelain underneath the bowl, following all the
way to the base. I carried it on deck. We took off the epoxied T-shirt that
had been wrapped around it years ago, just for the entire head to fall into
pieces. We have no spare heads sitting around. It was time to get our head
back together, that or a bucket. We had to try.

1430: Class time. A break to get our heads out of that head; a new headspace
if you will.

1530: Back to it. We moved into the stand-by generator room our new
workspace. Still announcing at class that the head was also out of
commission in its new spot, trust me sometimes you got to make announcements
like that, just in case. After going through the entire paint locker for the
correct adhesive we decided to use Marine Tex, which JC informed me is so
corrosive he’s seen it burn just by opening the jar. Sick.

1700: The adhesive has set and the head actually looks like it will hold up
another few hundred pounds again. Knock on wood.

1730: Workout time on the quarter deck with Captain Allison. We’ve been
consistent about every evening even with the a few time changes. It’s always
fun to share our exercise updates and have others join in. Tonight the sun
was setting clearly, spreading a beautiful sky with sweeps of rays. Matt &
Amy were playing their string instruments and singing some of my favorite
tunes. Workout club had turned into a dance club.

2130: After galley cleanup, the Staff Shenanigan Committee (SSC) gathers in
the Salon to discuss silly schemes of sorts. Recently Big Boss Mike and I
have been playing Star Realms (a fun card game, but confusing to
bystanders). The SSC thought we should incorporate Star Realms into our
prank. The plan was to have an hourly “boat checker” run into us all playing
star realms in unreasonable areas on the boat. So we all gathered in dry
stores, a space covered by a hatch with entrance down a ladder. We found
ourselves waiting longer than 20 minutes in the dark with our red lights. I
actually thought about playing the game for real. Sam eventually turned the
lights on and came down the ladder to a surprise. Little did he know we all
followed close behind and took a secret “engineers only” shortcut to the
machinery space, the final engineering space checked every hour. We
continued where we left off since the last time Sam had seen us and waited
for him to interrupt our game again. Sam, not phased by our goofiness, asked
me for the water pressures for his boat check, and made his way back to
deck. I praise his boat checking abilities. We all got a kick out of it.

22:30: After the shenanigans, I found myself exhausted from the day and went
up to deck to cool off before bed. I always check for stars before I head to
my “self shelf” (as Izzy calls it). From Orion to the Southern Cross was
fully visible and I stayed a bit longer than I should have. I eventually
made it back to the Cabin of Awesomeness. Falling asleep with a grin and
thinking about all the hanging out and fun-having that will be taking place

Hello to all my friends and family back home. Miss you all.

Big Boss Mike Romano (Nick), Izzy the Postmaster, Ali(quot), etc. say hello
to Nick’s parents and all the other parents and family members awaiting our

Duane Keohane, Assistant Engineer

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