Robert C Seamans and her crew sailed into December this morning with A Watch taking the dawn shift (0100 - 0700). They reported calm seas and tons of bioluminescent creatures in the water! B Watch took over bright and early to complete several scientific deployments. With lots of sail handling, we were able to heave to (to deploy to CTD) and then sail at 2 knots (to drag the Neuston Tow). We sent the CTD (Conductivity, Temperature, and Density sensors) to 500 meters and collected water samples both at 65 meters and the surface. Picture attached! Highlight of morning watch was definitely what we caught in the Neuston Tow. After unscrewing the container at the end of the net, globs and globs of brilliant blue copepods spilled into the bucket and over my hands (despite washing my hands many time, I can't seem to shake the zooplankton smell!). Along with millions of copepods, we caught tiny fish, multiple species of jellies, and a Portuguese man-o-war!!
We are officially plotting on a blank chart - no land in sight! The CHIRP a scientific instrument that maps the ocean floor - has increased from a faint chirp to a loud ping. Having left the continental shelf, that ping is now traveling down over 2500 meters before returning to the ship's detectors. The constant pinging is definitely going to take some getting used to, but we are tired enough that falling asleep - even with the many odd noises about - comes easily to almost all of us. Winds increased from clam to strong around noon, in typical fashion for New Zealand's infamously erratic offshore weather patterns. During afternoon class, we practiced emergency drills for fire and abandon ship. Personally, I resumed taking preventive seasickness medicine in preparation for what could be a sporty dawn watch (0100 - 0700). Currently, we are seeing roughly 5 ft seas with a strong swell coming from a NW low pressure system. I walked around and asked a couple of my shipmates to say a word describing how they've felt today. I got a range of answers: tired, present, abundance, *scream*, alive, flowy, stir-crazy, awestruck, grateful, homesick, intrigued, sleepy, content, ecstatic and stoked. Both positive and negative, lots of these words describe strong feelings. Life on board is hard - plain and simple. But by overcoming this hardship, we earn the joys of being at sea. The sunrises, Ashley's delicious bread, bioluminescent sightings, and much more. Animal sightings have literally brought me to tears twice in the last 24 hours (baby dolphins playing on the bow of the ship and a pair of albatross gliding right along the quarterdeck). I feel so blessed to be here. Being a member of Robert C. Seamans crew is special. There is someone looking out for me 24/7 and I have the honor of looking out for my shipmates. The reciprocity of this care is uplifting! P.S. fun fact about being at sea┘ No elbows on the table!! Not for manners - for the gimbaled tables! The tables in the salon tilt with the heel of the boat to stay upright, so causally leaning against a table means everything sliding and crashing onto the floor (or someone's lap). To my crew on land √ miss you all! I'm stoked about all of the seabirds. An albatross followed us for around 2 hours today circling the boat it was incredible. I haven't been seasick and I'm really enjoying sail handling. Can't wait to share stories of our adventures. Aly Gallagher, B Watch Claremont McKenna College