SEA Currents: polynesia.
Flashback: The Sounds of an Umu
In latest episode of our SEA Stories podcast, join the students of S-275 as they participate in an Umu, a traditional Samoan feast prepared in an earth oven. Visit a tropical garden and learn about the importance of tattoo in Samoan culture.
‘I Ain’t No Hollaback Girl’ and Other Sincerities
Hello from back at sea! After two full days of sailing, following our departure from Tonga, I think we are all finally starting to regain our sea legs! We have had beautiful and breezy weather as we head towards the outskirts of the Fijian Islands, and will soon (aka Thursday) make our way to Suva!!
Planting some roots in Tonga
Malo e Lelei from Nuku’alofa! We are enjoying our last day here before we head out to sea again tomorrow evening. We woke up early to a misty morning, all excited to take part in projects with a few representatives from the Tongan Ministry of Environment, whom we all got to meet and talk to over a lovely dinner last night. I, along with 12 other students, hopped into a couple of vans to make our way to the Hoi mangroves, where we went to learn about, and participate in, the planting of these trees along the lagoon of Nuku’alofa.
Time to Cross It Off
When you’re a kid, you dream of seeing certain things-a shooting star, a really cool car, maybe even some sort of paradise like Hawaii that you always saw in beautiful magazine ads. When I was a kid, I dreamed of touching the Great Pyramid of Egypt, of walking along the Great Wall of China, and I badly wanted to find Cleopatra’s Tomb or discover a lost city made of gold in the Amazon. To clarify, I never thought I would be lucky enough to do any of those things, but an archaeologist has gotta dream right?
Rigor and Reward
I think back to this past summer, having that same conversation over and over again. “Where are you studying abroad?” Someone would ask. Happy to share the details of my upcoming trip, I would let those who asked know of my plans to sail from American Samoa, to Tonga, Fiji, and then New Zealand with SEA Semester. With a sarcastic smirk many people would respond, “Wow, sounds really tough.” While there have been plenty of leisurely moments, full of relaxation and exploration, most of the work we do is not what I would call easy or infrequent, but it is certainly what I would call rewarding. Let me walk you through the past 24 hours of life on the Seamans to paint a picture of the rigor and reward.
A full day in Vava’u
Today was another exciting day in Neiafu. The day started off with another opportunity to work with VEPA (Vava’u Environmental Protection Association). We headed to Keitahi Beach this morning. The beach was gorgeous upon first glance, but the trash up and down the beach soon caught our attention. In only about an hour, we filled 47 bags of trash. We also had a few students filtering sand through mosquito net filters VEPA made to sort microplastics on the beach from the sand.
Snorkeling is school, right?
Today was our first full day in Tonga! We spent the night tied up at the harbor in Neiafu after getting a chance to explore the town. Students stood hour long watches throughout the night, which was our first ‘opportunity’ to monitor the ship without the supervision of the staff. A.K.A the staff finally got a full night’s sleep.
This morning we were able to sleep in!
We wait on Tonga, no longa
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.
End of the Road
Although I know most of your friends and families are reading this, patiently waiting your return from this incredible 5-week voyage, this blog is not so much for them, but rather this final blog is for you, my student friends.
Last night I lay on the deck after swizzle (I will leave this for you all to explain to your friends and families) silently.
George Washington Students take Science to High Seas
SEA Semester in the News
Practicing Science on the High Seas
GW students combined oceanography research on environmental threats with the rigors of seamanship during a 12-week journey aboard a tall ship in the South Pacific.
By John DiConsiglio
Somewhere in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean, about 200 nautical miles east of New Zealand, Lily Anna Segalman got her sea legs.
An environmental studies major at the George Washington University, Ms. Segalman held steady to the rail of the tall ship as 20-foot swells sprayed her head to toe with salt water. For the first time since setting sail 10 days earlier, she stumbled across the wooden deck of the 135-foot Brigantine named the Robert C. Seamans in 25-knot winds without getting seasick.
“I considered that a major victory,” she laughed. “I wouldn’t say I was a sailor yet. But it was a start.”
That winning moment for Ms. Segalman came in the middle of a 12-week journey at sea. Along with 13 other students from 12 different schools, including Turi Abbott, a rising senior at GW, she was participating in the Sea Education Association’s SEA Semester, a study abroad program that combines oceanography research with basic seamanship.