ASCC Students Sail on SSV Robert C. Seamans
September 28, 2015
By Kelley Anderson Tagarino, ASCC Sea Grant Extension Agent
It was a fine day for sailing and learning about marine science on Tuesday, September 22, when the Sailing School Vessel (SSV) Robert C. Seamans set out from Pago Harbor with twenty American Samoa Community College (ASCC) students onboard. Owned and operated by the Sea Education Association (SEA), this is the second time that the SSV Robert C. Seamans has been in-port in PagoPago as part of a new Pacific Ocean route that SEA began offering in 2014. The new route involves ending one semester in here, after which students fly home in May, and beginning another semester in September, when the new students fly in to sail out aboard the vessel. Between May and September the SSV Robert C. Seamans crew has graciously hosted many visitors for tours or day sails, and is committed to doing the same through 2016.
During the day sail, students from ASCC learned about water quality, sediment variation, currents, and plankton, both in the harbor and around the south shore of Tutuila. Students assisted in collecting oceanographic samples that they will analyze later in the ASCC lab. At the end of the sail, the crew were kind enough to allow students to view and drive their remotely operated vehicle (ROV), a type of underwater robot that can take video and collect samples. In addition to learning the science, students also learned the basics of sailing, navigating, and living onboard a ship. Many of the students expressed enjoyment with the day sail. “This day gave me a new appreciation of our beautiful island and how lucky we are to still have fairly healthy reefs,” reflected ASCC student Johann Vollrath. “I also realized how important it is to take care of our oceans, so they can take care of us.”
Experiences such as this would not be possible without the support of the SEA program, ASCC, University of Hawaii Sea Grant, and the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa (NMSAS). The SSV Robert C. Seamans in-porting in PagoPago is now an annual event, which is made possible through a partnership between the NMSAS and SEA. These two programs share important commonalities in institutional missions, history, and current directions. Both organizations recognize that creating deeper and more diverse cultural engagement with the ocean is essential for the world's future. Place and people-based sanctuaries foster a diverse ocean constituency by engaging individuals at an early age and throughout their lives. Both SEA and NMSAS encourage learning about the special cultural and living resources of our oceans.
For more information about the Marine Science program at ASCC, contact Kelley Anderson Tagarino at 699-3353.