Setting Sail

June 27, 2023

Rich King, Visiting Associate Professor, Maritime History and Literature

IMG-0070

Students after arriving aboard the SSV Robert C. Seamans, Honolulu

Ship's Log

Location
Pier 35, University of Hawai’i Marine Dock, Honolulu, Hawai’i 

Weather
Northeasterly winds, 20-25 knots, occasional light rain 

All blogs from S-310

Just before leaving the three-week shore component in Woods Hole and flying from Boston to Honolulu (which meant getting up at 0330), Hallie Rockress, a senior from Boston University, summed up the way all of us are feeling this late afternoon Hawai’i time: “I’m excited and nervous, and I’m looking for better more descriptive words for that, but that is what it is, excited and nervous.”  

Now, after a weary day of travel, the students of the summer 2023 voyage, officially known as cruise track and class S’310, have actually arrived, taken their covid tests, settled their gear in their bunks, and are now all smiles and awe and excitement and nervousness as they get settled into their three watch group meetings and learn how to live aboard.  

My name is Richard King. I’m a visiting professor at SEA, and for this trip I’m teaching the conservation and management class. Most are too distracted to look around, especially the students getting settled in aboard this tall ship of oceanography trying to learn how to do dishes and use the head. But the green peaks of Oahu feel close in the background and regular clouds of light rain blow across their ridges. These winds breeze down past us and flutter our flags and strain our docklines. They then head out to sea. At our dock, beside us, not in use, is an enormous wave-powered generator the size of a small oil platform. Across the channel are multiple fishing boats, long-liners perhaps for tuna, and on the other side are small containerships loading and offloading all day and all night long. Pearl Harbor is around the bend in one direction, the cruise ship terminal is in the other, and all the while we float in the presence and history of over a thousand years of Native Hawaiian voyaging, traveling, migrating, and ocean stewardship. On shore students had been doing research on a range of topics about the region we’re sailing—deep sea mining (Hallie), ocean acidification policy (Olivia), and the status and management of tuna (Elijah), whale (Abby), and shark (Julius) populations. Others have done studies on sea level rise education (Autumn), ballast water regulations (Sam), the status and policy of ocean plastics (Noah), and alternative energy initiatives in the South Pacific islands (Caleb). Our scientific sampling and research, for which students also have individual projects that we’ll discuss later in this blog, are not only for our own learning and long-term data sets, but also for mission of providing data to inform outside research partners, notably Boston University, Blue Nature Alliance, and the agencies and people of Kiribati. While we were studying on shore, we had the tremendous honor to host the former president and current ambassador from Kiribati to the United States, Mr. Teburoro Tito, whose visit and words impacted and inspired all of us quite deeply.  

We will try to post a blog entry each business day, except weekends, usually written by students, but also by other members of the crew. I am a parent, inclined to worry, so I do want to share that if we don’t post a blog for a couple days or the AIS tracker is down, that has nothing to do with our safety aboard! All family members will be notified immediately if there were any concerns about the ship’s crew. We are in daily contact with the office in Woods Hole via satellite phone and other means, as well as an onshore medical team if at all necessary. 

The students are finishing up their watch meetings now, the smell of grilled onions is seeping up from the galley (we have two stewards—the hardest job on the ship after the captain), and we’re getting ready for an all hands dinner before going to bed early, ready for a day of safety training and recuperation at the dock tomorrow before our anticipated departure of Wednesday morning, bound southwest with the trade winds. We have a total of 33 people on board, led by Captain Rick Miller, who has sailed this particular voyage multiple times before and is a recently retired professor at the Maine Maritime Academy. His specialty and strongest interest is in marine meteorology, forecasting, and celestial navigation. The full ship’s company is listed below, on board together for the first time, each and every one of us feeling excited and a little bit nervous. 

 

Captain Rick Miller 

Chief Scientist Blaire Umhau 

Maritime Studies Professor Rich King 

First Mate Rocky Bonner 

Second Mate Holly Graf 

Third Mate Olivia Le Blanc 

First Asst. Scientist Supi Vallas 

Second Asst. Scientist Hannah Gerish 

Third Asst. Scientist Carly Cooper 

Visiting Scientist/Fish Specialist Abby Grassick 

Visiting Scientist/Fish Specialist Allie Cole 

Maritime Studies Teaching Assistant Mallory Hoffbeck 

Chief Engineer Marshall Thomas 

Assistant Engineer Duane Keohane 

Steward Ashley Look 

Asst. Steward Meredith Arlotta 

Program Asst/Medical Officer Thomas Devereux 

Deckhand Tadhg McKay 

Deckhand Gabe Packer 

Deckhand/2nd Medical Officer Izzy Lardner 

Deckhand Emily Bensen 

Deckhand Sil Kiewiet de Jonge 

Deckhand Becca Cox 

Deckhand Morgan Hayman 

Student Caleb Fineske 

Student Elijah Busch 

Student Hallie Rockress 

Student Abby tenBroek 

Student Sam Barresi 

Student Autumn Crow 

Student Julius Gabelberger 

Student Noah van Aardenne 

Student Olivia Patrinicola 

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3 Comments

  1. Anonymous July 3, 2023 at 15:54 - Reply

    Hello and thank you so much for the update Rich!
    We are looking forward to tracking the journey, hearing about the adventures everyone will have, and learning about the discoveries made.
    Be well and happy sailing to all aboard!

    Ellen and Jason Crow (Autumn’s parents)

  2. Ellen Crow July 3, 2023 at 15:55 - Reply

    Hello and thank you so much for the update Rich!
    We are looking forward to tracking the journey, hearing about the adventures everyone will have, and learning about the discoveries made.
    Be well and happy sailing to all aboard!

    Ellen and Jason Crow (Autumn’s parents)

  3. Maya Gabelberger July 5, 2023 at 03:09 - Reply

    Beautiful description – Thank you for sharing! I love hearing about what everyone is experiencing. And, as a parent, I have to say that not being able to communicate with my child for 2 months is a stretch so I am really going to rely on these blogs to let me know about her/his days! Big hug to Julius/Sophia 🙂 And well wishes and Ships Ahoy (or whatever you say, LOL) to everyone! Warmly, Maya

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