SEA Currents: The Global Ocean: New Zealand
Well, we’re back to the city of windy Wellington after 24 hours with some crazy waves. What better way to start off being at port again than cleaning the ship, so we kicked off today with field day. We all swept and scrubbed and scraped our designated areas of the ship until it was shining clean. We then had a fire drill before sitting down to a couple of hours of study hall. Some of us had procrastinated with our projects when we were docked here the first time and promptly forgot how it felt to try and do work when were underway.
Our journey along the NZ coast has been shaped by the diverse perspectives, aspirations and experiences of SEA Semester students, crew and faculty aboard the Robert C. Seamans (RCS). We’ve found some common threads – an all-encompassing love for hot chocolate, for example (almost to the point of needing to ration said beverage – tragedy of the commons anyone?), or our general appreciation for swim calls a stone’s throw away from an active volcano.
Yesterday was one of the best field trips yet, especially for the science nerds! NIWA, New Zealand’s version of NOAA, invited SEA Semester to tour their research vessel, RV Tangaroa, and their facilities in Wellington. NIWA was super generous, and a new connection for SEA was made.
First off, I’d like to say a huge I love you to a rather wonderful man named Brett Phinney, as this marks our two year anniversary. I still can’t believe I was lucky enough to find you. I’m sorry we can’t spend this day together, but know that I’m still loving you and missing you from the other side of the world.
Now, on to the blog post.
It is now Day 3 in Wellington and I am becoming quite attached to our temporary home here alongside Queen’s Wharf. Elliot chose a great place to dock the Seamans because we’re right next to a playground with a slide that must have been built for adults. It’s so tall. I was honestly scared to go down it at first but thanks to Sophie2 and Ben I finally conquered my fears. Our prime real estate got even more prime today when a mini-donut food truck decided to park on the sidewalk right by our boat. We’re all really hoping that it’ll stay a while.
Ah…let me begin by saying how lovely rain is. It is a mysterious thing. It has the power to slip into clothes and most annoyingly, you guessed it, my socks…again. We braved the Cook Strait (a.k.a. the vortex of doom…well…not really…but the ocean laughed at me when it sent a wave over the rail and soaked me). This trip has mostly been about trying to find new ways to keep my socks dry. Have not found a solution yet…I should just stop wearing socks altogether.
We sailed through heavy winds the past couple days, but made it through Cook Strait last night and anchored in Port Underwood. Since we hadn’t seen land in 12 days, all hands were on deck celebrating as we pulled into the scenery; a sheep farm was up on the hillside, and birds were flying over the green cliffsides, swooping down towards the water. Much of our celebration was silent appreciation; some were cheering.
If someone had asked me one year ago what I thought I would be doing in a year’s time, ‘steering a boat all alone in the Pacific Ocean’ probably would’ve been one of my last guesses, but that’s where I found myself this morning. I applied to this program because I wanted to do something fun and unexpected and so far both requirements have been fulfilled. Since it seems like most other people have already covered the ‘fun’ part I’m going to talk about some of the things I didn’t expect.
Periodically throughout the day the watch schedule must be checked in order to know where you are to report ten minutes before your allotted shift.
Deck, Lab, Engineer, the dreaded Dish, or the once in a blue moon blessing from above (Sabrina) Steward.
My number fell under engineering on Thursday. 22 report to Clare. That’s me reporting to Clare for whatever the engine room may hold for me. When my mate and scientist learned I’d be in engineering they immediately made ooos and ahhhs of how lucky I was; Thursday is valve day.
Today was a big day aboard the Bobby C. Just passed noon we officially have sailed over 1000 nautical miles since leaving port in Auckland!!! Day 9 of our journey from Russell to Wellington and we are surrounded by the deep blue ocean on all sides with no land in sight. We’ve settled into our many routines: watch (six hours on, twelve hours off), eating (six meals a day), showering (every two days), sleeping (whenever possible), reading (when you can’t sleep), journaling (a way of life at sea) and tea time (with a spoonful of peanut butter because we don’t eat often enough).