After about ten days sailing on the SSV Robert C. Seamans, we’ve all pretty much gotten into the ship’s daily working routine. As we are now much more comfortable with life aboard the ship, we are starting learn more skills, and take on more responsibilities with the hope of eventually reaching the Junior Watch Officer Phase where the students mainly take over running the ship. Part of working up to this phase has been learning ship skills like tying specific knots, knowing our jobs in case of emergency, knowing the important aspects of each job done on watch, learning relative points of bearing, and all knowing all the compass points. Up until our dawn watch this morning, my watch mates and I had learned many of these skills but had not yet officially verified our mastery of said skills. Therefore, much of this morning’s watch was spent showing Hila (our watch officer) the skills we are confident in and studying those we are not. By the end of watch I was able to get check marks for about six of our required skills in addition to the three 100 counts, chlorophyll bottle labeling, and hourly data recordings my watch mates and I completed in lab. Such a productive day already and it was only 0700!
Another activity that comes with increased skill level and responsibility on the ship is that of going aloft. For our watch meeting this afternoon, my watch group and I became the first on this trip to climb aloft and see our ship from a whole new angle. Six at a time, we climbed the shrouds and ratlines to reach a platform where we could sit and look out. What a view it was! No land anywhere in sight. Just ocean, ocean, and more ocean for as far as the eye could see. When I shifted my vision downward, I could see the entire deck. Shipmates on lookout, at the helm, doing science, or even just taking a nice deck nap all looked like ants (which was fun for me because, as the shortest person on the ship, I’m usually looking up at everyone). It was one of the most breathtaking moments I’ve had thus far.
After watch meeting was our 14:30 class, as usual. Today we all had a lab practical. There were 22 questions posted at different locations around the deck that had to do with deploying equipment, processing and storing samples, and the hourly observations we do in lab. We each started at a different question and rotated to the next every ten minutes until we had answered them all. One of our assistant scientists (Janet) explained to us that this practical would be a benchmark for each of us to see what we have learned in lab and identify areas we may need to focus on more. It was great for me to see just how much science I’ve learned in the short time we’ve been on the ship. I look forward to continuing my learning both in lab and on watch. If ten days at sea has taught me this much, who knows what the rest of this journey will bring? Whatever it is, I know I’ll be ready for it!
I’d like to give a quick thank you to my parents, friends, and family for supporting me in my love of marine science and for putting up with my endless spouts of facts about the ocean and its critters. I never would have had the courage to pursue an adventure this great without the confidence you have given me that I am on the right path and that I can achieve anything if I am determined and work hard enough at it. I miss you all and I can’t wait to tell you all about this amazing journey!
- Michaela Guy, B Watch, Smith College Class of ‘22