SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans
We wait on Tonga, no longa
Neiafu, Vava’u, Tonga
Ship’s Heading & Speed
Force 2 Winds, Clear, and Beautiful
This morning we wove through a series of narrow channels and brilliant green islands to find our new home on the docks of Neiafu, Vava'u. The Robert C. Seamans grabbed the attention of the harbor as its two masts walked proudly into the town's waters. As triumphant the ship seemed, her crew's pride surpassed her by ten-fold.
The students and staff took positions on the port side with rubber fenders and docking lines to guide the Seamans safely to her resting place. Without a hitch the boat slide into the wharf and extended the gangplank, reuniting the crew with solid land for the first time in five days. A number of us crossed with wobbly legs to secure the boat and buffer lines against the chafe of the wharf. Finally, the first of us had stepped foot on the Kingdom of Tonga.
The story of the last week of our lives has been filled with hard work, sea sickness, and intensive learning. We have pushed through sleepless nights and sweltering days. Now, the sense of reward we all feel in reaching our first port stop is immense.
We spent the afternoon being processed through customs and tidying the ship. Thankfully we all "made the grade" and have been permitted to stay; a fortunate outcome because these islands are beautiful. Teams of roving students took to the streets, following our clearance, to scope out the town of Neiafu. We found outdoor markets filled to the brim with local and fresh produce. We found taverns and markets and churches nestled into hillsides. Most spectacularly, however, we found from the hills of Neiafu an unparalleled view of the harbor and greater Vava'u stretching before us, with the Robert C. Seamans sitting preeminently amongst a fleet of yachts and pleasure boats.
The most resonant aspect of today, for me, is the sense of accomplishment and honor we all feel in regards to our trip and our shipmates. Today feels like a day that each of us will reflect upon fondly for the rest of our lives. This truly special time is cast in shadow by the fact that this is just one of many of these days that we'll all experience together. It is
this beast, the one that that throws us in shade, that excites us most and propels us onward across the Pacific.