Today we set sail from Papeete, Tahiti; a momentous occasion. The moment we have all been waiting for, planning for, dreaming of these past many months
full of anticipation and preparation. We were escorted offshore by several species of seabirds, marking our first oceanographic observations of the cruise; and we all watched admired the shifting ocean colors; from hues of green in the harbor to the deep blues of the tropical Pacific. This moment in time was built upon months of planning and preparation by the faculty and crew, weeks of online course work by the students, and most recently, by a day full of training for the newest members of the crew - the eager, curious, and hard-working students of Pacific Reef Expedition. For those of you following our humble blog, please stay-tuned, you will have a chance to meet each of our adventurous students in the days and weeks to come. But for now, let me tell you of our busy day.
A gorgeous sail along the north shore of Mo'orea.
Days on the Robert Seamans begin early, 0600 wake ups for a 0620 breakfast of sausage, eggs, papaya, and muffins. This was followed by a round of 'chores' to keep us looking ship-shape including a sweep and wipe down below decks, clearing and cleaning breakfast dishes, and scrubbing the teak deck so we can leave all the dirt from shore behind. Then we launched into a round of training stations, where each of the student-crew practiced their responsibilities during three possible emergency scenarios:
- Fire/Flooding/General emergency
- Prepare to Abandon Ship
We talked through each situation, we walked through each as a drill and we talked again about all that we had learned. Only then did our esteemed captain deem us ready to set sail. But not before we had morning snack! Thanks Sabrina!
Our sail to Mo'orea from Tahiti was just a little more than a 'three hour tour' with the winds on the starboard quarter and a following sea. Sailing into Opunohu Bay is like sailing into a postcard. The lush, volcanic island surrounded by coral reefs and a brilliant blue sea. Simply stunning. Soon we will be jumping into said water for a Swim Call to cool ourselves off before dinner and an evening set aside for additional training. Tonight students will learn how to:
- handle lines safely when under strain,
- operate the hydrowinch and hydraulic J-frame for scientific deployments, and finally...
- record sailing and weather observations in the deck logbook.
A busy night ahead for our newest crew members onboard the SSV Robert C. Seamans!
Stay-tuned, our adventure is just getting started and there is much to explore and discover; so join us.
Dr. Jeffrey M. Schell, Chief Scientist and Associate Professor of Oceanography
PS To friends and family ashore, and to my darling rose...sweet dreams!