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Sea Education Association | SEA Currents

SEA Currents: port stops



Snorkeling is school, right?

Amy Green, C Watch, Boston University

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

Henry Oliva, B Watch, Colby College


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.



Welcome Aboard!

Ben Harden, Chief Scientist

Welcome to SEA Semester aboard the Sailing School Vessel Robert C. Seamans. We’re in American Samoa, some 14 degrees south in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. 21 students and 13 staff are about to set forth on a voyage to Tonga and Fiji, before eventually making landfall in
New Zealand, 2000 miles to our south, six weeks from now.



Celebration, Umu Style

Alison Derevensky, A Watch, Macaulay Honors CUNY Brooklyn College

For our last full day ashore at Pago Pago, American Samoa, S-275 went to a traditional Samoan umu at Reg and Su’a Wilson’s beautiful home. They are good friends of SEA Semester and are educators here on the island where they grew up and currently live on Reg’s family land. An umu is a feast that Samoans prepare typically every Sunday, and it’s kind of like our Sunday dinner or Thanksgiving, depending on how big your Sunday dinners are.



SPICE is in Motion

Jeff Wescott, Anthropology professor, Sea Education Association

All students, faculty, and staff have safely arrived aboard SSV Robert C. Seamans. After a full day of ship orientation yesterday, today’s mission is to enjoy an umu-a traditional Samoan earth oven feast-with our good friends Reg and Su’a Fitiao, at their home in nearby Leone. It is a mission we gladly accept. Tomorrow, we will be underway, sailing on to Tonga.



End of Class S-274

Chris Nolan, Captain
Protecting the Phoenix Islands

SSV Robert C. Seamans has arrived in Pago Pago, American Samoa, and all students have departed the ship bound for destinations as far apart as Europe and New Zealand and everywhere in between.

While this ship’s company will never be the same, we all walk away with a shared experience of visiting a remote marine sanctuary and voyaging under sail to get there and back safely.  The PIPA voyage challenged each person in their own way, and I am proud of all students and staff for their accomplishments, whether academic, professional, or personal.

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End of the Road

Maddi Boettner, B-Watch, Boston College
Protecting the Phoenix Islands

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.

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The Adventures of Smew

Nevin Schaeffer, Steward
Protecting the Phoenix Islands

This afternoon we, the crew of the Robert C. Seamans, departed our anchorage at Nikumaroro and set forth back into the deep blue expanse of water someone named “The Sea” or “The Ocean” quite a few years before I was born. We waved goodbye to Nikumaroro as our view became shrouded by an oncoming squall and our attention shifted to the path ahead, rather than the port stop behind.

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Believe in the Unbelievable

Adrielle Cailipan, San Francisco State University
Protecting the Phoenix Islands

When I applied for this program, I knew I’d signed up for doing research on a sailboat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. I never would have believed, however, that I would be moored to a shipwreck off a deserted island (rumored to be the island Amelia Earhart crash landed on, no less) talking to my friend, Nic, about how to do statistical regressions on my ocean productivity data while reef sharks and tropical fish splashed and prowled in the waters 5 feet below us…

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Reflections on PIPA

Nic Rummel, C Watch, Colorado School of Mines
Protecting the Phoenix Islands

Hello all ye land lovers. Things are going well for us out here in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. We have had a good last few days with our fair share of scientific deployments and sail handling. It has been a particular pleasure of mine to finally participate in the full work load. At first, I had an unfortunately severe amount of complications from sea sickness. guess that is what a mountain man gets for trying to be a sailor.

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