SEA Currents: The Global Ocean: New Zealand
We mustered on the quarter deck at 0800 this morning to see Queen’s Wharf in the bright sunlight. People were milling around (and inexplicably commuting to work in full suits on scooters), looking at the boat with great interest. Feeling self-conscious, the crew of the Robert C. Seamans sprang into action for an extreme makeover like no other. The two more worn sails (the mains’l and the mainstays’l) were taken down to be repaired/replaced, and the other sails were furled tightly, with the seams folded into cascades of precise white waves. Our watch ventured aloft, climbing up the foremast to furl and tuck the squares’ls.
For Immediate Release: October 30, 2014
Woods Hole, MA— This fall, undergraduate students from top colleges and universities nationwide are utilizing the newly created Ocean Health Index to explore environmental issues related to climate change, conservation, and sustainability of the world’s oceans in a groundbreaking new study abroad program offered by Sea Education Association. SEA Semester: The Global Ocean, is the first undergraduate program in the world to incorporate metrics of the Ocean Health Index – a comprehensive, global evaluation of the human impact on the world’s oceans – into curriculum. Following a highly selective application process, these forty-four students are spending six weeks on shore at SEA Semester’s campus in Woods Hole, Massachusetts and six weeks at sea, sailing as crew and scientists onboard SEA Semester’s state-of-the-art ocean research vessels, operating in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
The way to Wellington was not a steady sail, but the day began as all important days do. C Watch came on deck for the 0700 to 1300 watch, greeted by the morning sun driving away the cloud cover and fog banks. But as the cliché goes, it was the calm before the storm. What began as a day beautiful enough for a carousel and Neuston tow quickly became a wet, rolling passage through the eastern side of Cook Strait (the waters that divide New Zealand’s North and South Islands).
Thus far we’ve enjoyed six full days of life on New Zealand’s oceans. I think my peers and I have reached a consensus that we feel like those six days have felt like two weeks. Having a watch rotation each day has been incredibly different from the normal 9-5 day that most of us are used to. Each time we stand watch it seems that we have begun a new day, which is all sorts of bizarre. However, we are all becoming accustomed to this new lifestyle one way or another.
Bright and early this morning, around 0700, my B Watch counterparts and I found ourselves on the bowsprit bouncing up and down in the heavy swells. That’s one way to wake up quickly. After striking the jib because the windy conditions overnight had calmed down, the four of us made our way onto the netting around the bowsprit (clipped in of course; don’t worry parents) to furl the sail, or in other words, tie it down so it would be safely stowed.
Dear Mom & Dad,
When you pick me up at the airport, just look for the red, shriveled lobster. There is not enough sunblock in the world to keep me from burning. Please send help.
But really, today was a great day.
Hello friends and family of the Seamans crew! I write this to you over a steaming cup of hot Gatorade. Hot Gatorade? Yes. Hot Gatorade. It’s only our fourth day at sea but I’ve already learned quite a few tips which promise to prove useful throughout life. One of these tips is that imbibing cold liquids will make the body sad. The other is that consuming electrolytes, suspiciously scoopable and powder-formed though they may be, will make the body happy. These two tips reside under the subheading of “general personal well-being,” which is where the Gatorade comes in. I picked this habit up, I kid you not, from the Captain himself. Thanks Cap.
The days are starting to fold into one another, almost like vacation but we are working harder than any vacation that I’ve ever been on. Today marks the day we round the northern most point of the North Island of New Zealand. This point is called Cape Reinga, known in the Maori language as Te Rerengawairua. I am not the only one aboard the ship to wonder if there is an appropriate tattoo that is coupled with this particular event in our maritime adventure (sorry Mom).
Hello world and happy birthday Nick Matesanz! It’s been a beautiful day at sea - sunny and blue skies with a nice breeze. Today started with a wake-up call at 0230 since I had watch along with the rest of my group from 0300-0700. During this shift I worked in the lab with Kella, Chris, and our watch officer, Julia. There was a lot to learn as it was our first day in the lab. We learned how to do the hourlies and process pH and microplastics.
After much anticipation, today we finally set sail from Auckland! The day started early, with an 0500 wake up to get going by 0600. Once we motored away from the dock, it was all hands on deck to raise a few sails and make use of this perfect sailing weather. The crew wasn’t kidding when they said the learning curve on board was steep. With all of our practice in port and doing it for real this morning, most everyone has gotten the hang of setting and striking sails. Now we just have to remember which one is which!