SEA Currents: polynesia.
S251 Weblog 08 February 2014
Our last full day on Fakarava was spent boating to the Southern pass and snorkeling among beautiful coral reefs. We began the day at 0800 with three local guides picking us up at Robert C. Seamans in their motorboats. Our ship is anchored near the northern pass and our goal for the day was to reach the southern pass30 nautical miles away. Fakarava is essentially a giant rectangle with two passes and a calm lagoon in the middle. Its difficult to grasp the scale of the atoll because when youre standing on land facing the lagoon area you arent able to see the other side of the atoll.
S251 Weblog 07 February 2014
Another day ashore on the beautiful atoll of Fakarava! Today we were up bright and early to make our way to shore for a busy day of learning, sightseeing and fun. Our first stop of the day was Lulu, a pearl farm. Here we got to see how oysters are harvested and their pearls extracted. It was amazing to see the famous French Polynesian black pearls coming straight out of live oysters.
Next up was a visit to Yvonne, a sustainable farm on the ocean side (outer rim) of the island.
S251 Weblog 06 February 2014
Several weeks and seasons ago in Woods Hole, we had our Life at Sea talk during which we learned about the ins-and-outs of living on board the Seamans. Following this talk, I began to realize what a unique mix of comfort and discomfort living at sea would be. We were told stories of people wearing goofy outfits, embracing their personalities, and doing weekly cleanups to blaring music, yet I was terrified by the thought that I would soon be sailing in the middle of the Pacific ocean, having had no previous sailing experience. This dichotomy of comfort and discomfort has proved itself to be absolutely true, as we near the end of our first week in French Polynesia and have completed the first leg of our cruise track.
S251 Weblog 05 February 2014
The journey into Fakarava was bumpy at times, but definitely well worth my occasional bouts of seasickness while on morning watch. At around 1300 we began our last push into the main port of Rotoava, which is the
actual village in Fakarava where we are now anchored. Yesterday, the professors gave a mini lecture during which I learned some interesting facts about this classic coral atoll: for example, rainwater is Fakarava’s only
freshwater source besides imported bottled water, turtles are a traditional source of protein, and the island is declared a UN Biosphere. I expect we’ll learn much more once on shore.
S251 Weblog 02 February 2014
Ground Hog Day is very different in Tahiti, where the sun quickly moves high overhead and no shadows are visible. (Also, it is summer here, so both winter and the promise of spring have been left behind in North America.) The program “Sustainability in Polynesian Island Cultures and Ecosystems” (SPICE) has begun! Nineteen students from seventeen different American colleges arrived in Papeete at the crack of dawn yesterday, having traveled all day and all night from our campus on Cape Cod. It is a very amiable group and was quickly incorporated into the crew of the Robert C. Seamans.