The Home Stretch

December 10, 2019

Jessie Sheldon, Colorado College

George and Derek

The birthday boys: George and Derek, 21 and 23, ponder our new terrestrial surroundings.

Ship's Log

Current Position
36˚10.83’S, 176˚21.37’E

Ship’s Heading & Speed
189˚, 0 knts

*now* calm waters, clear skies, warm winds

Souls on Board

All blogs from S-289

Greetings from Great Barrier Island! While we are now anchored, our final 24 hours of JWO sailing ensured that we got one last taste of every kind of natural phenomenon including erupting volcanoes (from a distance), wild squalls, torrential downpours, our “sportiest” winds yet which allowed us to sail a whopping 10 knots at one point-in addition to TWO birthdays! My day began with counting jelly fish in the on-board lab amidst said torrential downpour. Squalls can typically be seen moving on our radars, and draw us into a game called “dodge-squall.” The morning’s weather brought on a big collection of squalls that were rather un-dodgeable, and made for a very exciting dawn patrol for C watch; all aboard were grateful for hearty foul weather gear and gimbaled tables.

Over this final stretch of our journey, we had a cross-watch 24 hour mission: work together to get our ship to Great Barrier Island, and to collect biodiversity data along the way as we passed through an area marked “explosive dumping grounds” on the navigation chart. The staff aboard stepped back, and the watch teams worked together to move our ship safely onward. An additional part of the mission was to do some aboard research on “S-289 by the numbers.” Below are some of the highlights that quantify our journey aboard the Robert C. Seamans:

  • 1,742 nautical miles traveled
  • 516 hours stood by students on watch
  • 20 lbs of coffee consumed
  • 340 gallons of water used per person total (which is pretty neat, considering that the average  water use in the US is about 70 gallons per person per day).
  • 77 scientific deployments conducted
  • 7,635 meters of wire sent down and retrieved from deep ocean deployments.

Sailing up to our island destination proved to be bittersweet. Our arrival marked a successfully completed JWO mission, a safe journey, and waters calm enough for an evening swim call. But it also indicated an end to our open ocean voyaging, deep water deployments, and endless horizons.

After setting the anchor, afternoon activities included celebrations for two of our shipmates’ birthdays: Derek and George! Festivities for these two Sagittarians included cupcakes with delicious chocolate frosting and a
round of happy birthday from the Robert C. Seamans Chorus. The day settled down with guitars and songbooks on the quarterdeck, accompanied by new sounds of forest birds from the surrounding shore.

Sending love to family and friends back home. Wishing dearly that the semester weren’t drawing to a close, but nonetheless looking forward to catching up in a few short days.

- Jessie Sheldon, Colorado College

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