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Sea Education Association | SEA Currents

SEA Currents

Catch up on news, events, and daily posts from SEA Semester voyages in SEA Currents, the official blog of Sea Education Association.

Elliot Rappaport, Professor of Nautical Science

The Robert C Seamans sailed from Opua, Bay of Islands, NZ this morning in moderate northwesterly winds after a successful stop that included visits to the nearby town of Russell and the historic Waitangi Treaty grounds. Yesterday at the wharf we experienced several hours of rain and gusty wind as the remnants of Tropical Cyclone Gita passed to the south of us, but our stay was otherwise unaffected. Gita is forecast to gradually dissipate as she moves away from the South Island over the next 24 hours, and we are looking forward to the advent of some fair weather as we begin our passage towards Wellington.

As always, we are grateful for our local network of friends and colleagues, who were a great resource in planning ahead for any possible contingencies related to this weather event. New Zealand is at its heart a nation of sailors, always willing to assist in adjusting plans when necessary.

Jessica Duong, B Watch, Trinity College

Over this past weekend we completed our first sailing leg of the trip, navigating northwest of Auckland towards the Bay of Islands. Working in a six hours on watch and 12 hours off watch schedule, we gained introductory experience in various watch duties (boat checks, lookout, steering at the helm). While we motored for the first portion of our voyage, we eventually turned off the engine and set the four lower sails (jib, fore stays’l, main stays’l, mains’l) to truly sail the Seamans.

SEA Semester

SEA Semester in the News
MetBob Weathergram
A blog post by noted New Zealand weather guru, Bob McDavitt

My good wishes to the University students who are crewing on Training Tall Ship SSV ROBERT C SEAMANS. The vessel visited Auckland last week and sailed to Opua late in the week. Captain, and Professor in Nautical Science, Elliot Rappaport invited me on deck. I especially like that the students manage a full-time marine lab and also are one of the VOS (Voluntary Observing Ships) that send in regular weather reports using properly calibrated instruments. These observations, around the planet, are part of what helps the global weather models in touch with the real world.

Read the full blog post

Jordan Churchwell, B Watch, Colorado College

Hello friends and family! I think I speak for all of us when I say we wish you could be here with us to see this beauty. My day actually started at 0100 (1am) where I had a quick 1hr deck watch. Since we are at anchor in Francis Bay (surrounded by US and British Virgin Islands), we needed less people on watch, meaning 1hr instead of 4hrs of a night watch. Woo more time to sleep!

The real fun began around 1000 when we took a small motor boat over to St. John for about a 2 mile hike inland to Waterlemon Cay.

Katie Armstrong, A Watch, Mount Holyoke College

Hello there landlubbers!

Today is a very special day for S-277, as this is the first time we are not at dock or anchor while aboard the Bobby C! We left anchor outside of the Auckland marina at about 1500 and have our sights set for Russell, in Aotearoa New Zealand’s Bay of Islands.

Haley Peterson, B Watch, Smith College

Hello all! It is hard to believe that Class C-277 has only been living on the Cramer for 4 days now; it already feels as though we have been here a lifetime-in a good way! The theme for the past few days has been adjustment, with everyone adjusting in their own time to the challenges of life at sea, including sea sickness, small living quarters, and the ever-present elements.



Annie Roberts, B Watch, Boston College

Hi there, friends and family!

Today began earlier for B Watch than it did for the other watches, as we were assigned to the first dock watch. Dock watch was done in pairs for two-hour shifts. It involved doing boat checks each hour from 2100 through 0700 in the morning, when we ate breakfast.

Jeffrey M. Schell, Chief Scientist


For those fortunate among you to have set sail on a long voyage nothing more need be said.  You can share in the exhilaration of this moment that is encapsulated by the beaming smiles worn by each member of the ship’s company.  All the planning and preparation, hard work and sacrifice have led to this moment.

Summer Stafford, B Watch, University of Redlands

Hello friends! Today not only marks Valentine’s Day here in NZ, but also our first full day on the ship. We started the morning off by splitting up to do some more training. We spent last night doing the “orientation station rotation” at which we filled our brains to the brim with new boat knowledge, including how to do an hourly boat check and check the engine room.

Craig Marin, Maritime Studies

Our second day in program was an exciting mix of exploration of the port environs of Old San Juan, continued orientation/safety training and first-hand accounts of life in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of this year’s devastating hurricane season.

To start the day, we took a walk into the historic district and examined the fortified aspects of this 16th century port city that was so integral to Spain’s early colonial economy, acting as a gateway to the colonial possessions in Central and South America. Indeed, the deep and protected bay, now lined with modern port infrastructure, highlights the continued importance of San Juan to the economy of Puerto Rico and, indirectly, to the Caribbean as a whole. The morning walk ended at the very impressive fortifications of El Morro, overlooking the entrance to San Juan Bay. After exploring the many levels of the fort, students slowly worked their way in smaller groups back to the ship, taking in more of the city sights before lunch.

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