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SEA Currents Blog

SEA Currents: Dec 2014


December 13, 2014

Tutus and toothbrushes - A Day in the Life

Nina Whittaker, C Watch, Kenyon College

The Global Ocean: New Zealand

The wind and swells were very strong this morning – during class, the gimbled tables were swinging back and forth so vigorously that they came right down to our knees, and then up to our chins. Jason (who was teaching) went to get his camera, and documented slight absurdity of teaching us about whaling communities in Alaska while the saloon swung back and forth in the swells, accompanied by the hearty crash of pots and pans in the galley. Post-lesson, we successfully deployed a Neuston tow and surface station, and managed to process pH and chlorophyll-a before handing over to the next watch.


December 13, 2014

Dominica Stories

Megan Lubetkin, B-Watch

This morning was our last round of anchor watch in Dominica. I was up for the 5-6am shift, a beautiful time of day when the sun haze begins to glow behind the lush green rain-forested mountains that surround Prince Rupert Bay here in Portsmouth, Dominica ~ the Nature Island. After launching the small boat with Tanner, our trusty assistant engineer, a gaggle of eager students and voyagers followed Nina, our super-chef, and Cap’n Sean to the morning market in Portsmouth. During a peaceful quiet sunrise hour on deck, I nestled up on the elephant table with my favorite 4-stringed boat guitar to play a few parting tunes to what I’d easily call my favorite island (so far).


December 12, 2014

Gybing, an unexpected treat, a Shipek and aloft!

Karissa Vincent, B Watch, Wheaton College

The Global Ocean: New Zealand

Though we only left Dunedin yesterday morning, that seems like ages ago to me as I am awoken from my slumbers by a voice informing me that I have 20 minutes until watch starts, that it’s slightly chilly on deck, but there are no signs of adverse weather. I grumble some semblance of “alright I hear you,” and as the voice walks away I slowly get out of bed. It seems as if I just went to bed not too long ago…


December 12, 2014

Idle Minds and Free Time

Rebecca Hadik, C Watch, Clark University

For the past three weeks we have been kept to a strict schedule, a schedule that is required for the safe operation of the vessel, but today, for the first time in three weeks, I found myself without a schedule. Being in port changes almost every aspect of ship life that many of us have gotten used to and grown fond of. The watches change from A watch, B watch, and C watch to Port watch and Starboard watch. The sleep schedule changes, as night watches require fewer people on deck allowing each person to stand for only one hour each night, rather than the traditional four.


December 11, 2014

Ship Work Day

Emma Hayward, A-Watch, Eugene Lang College, The New School University

Colonization to Conservation in the Caribbean

After an all-hands breakfast of strata and chocolate-chip muffins, it was time to get to work. Students spent the morning writing and drawing in their academic journals, while the crew brainstormed shipboard projects to be accomplished while in port.  Nina stayed busy all the while, stewing up delicious snacks and meals to get us through the day.  It did not take long for Willy and Kevin to concoct a list of to-dos.  There were projects to help with in the engine room and the lab, and plenty of maintenance work
for the ship. 

Becca and Missy set up on the quarterdeck with a set of blocks that were in need of a good sanding down and a fresh coat of paint.  As they got busy with that, I harnessed up and headed aloft.


December 10, 2014

Class S-256 Featured in Otago Daily Times

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SEA Semester class S-256, The Global Ocean, was featured in the December 8 issue of the Otago Daily Times!

“A group of international research students are turning their eyes on Dunedin after setting sail for southern waters. The 23 undergraduate research students and 12 crew sailed into Otago Harbour aboard the SSV Robert C. Seamans yesterday.

The 134ft steel brigantine tall ship, operated by the United States-based Sea Education Association (Sea), was on its first visit to New Zealand waters….”

Read the full article


December 10, 2014

Portsmouth, Dominica

Chris Bunn, A Watch, Colorado College

Colonization to Conservation in the Caribbean

As I rolled out of my bunk still shrugging off the last vestiges of sleep, my sleepy brain struggled to pin down what was different.  Were the lights a little brighter? Had Nina created some new delicacy for breakfast? Perhaps some new Dominican recipe?  Dominican. DOMINICAN!  The morning sun found us at anchor in Portsmouth.  Everything was different.  The tables weren’t gimbaled, the ship wasn’t heeling, things even smelled different.  Up on deck, land smells wafted on tropical breezes.


December 10, 2014

Hongis and Happiness

Kate Morneault, B Watch, Stonehill College

The Global Ocean: New Zealand

Wow, what a day!  This morning we hopped on the bus and headed to the Karitane Marae, a place of community celebrations and worship for the local Maori tribe (iwi), the Ngai Tahu.  We were first welcomed into an old school building for an introduction ceremony. The ceremony involved a leader of their iwi greeting us in the Maori language, and then the rest of the group joined him in singing us a song.  Kane, a member of the local Maori
community who is friends with our Guest Faculty Jason Mancini, introduced our class to the iwi and we sang a sea shanty for them.


December 09, 2014

Welcome to Dominica!!

Winnie Davis, B Watch, Sewanee - The University of the South

Colonization to Conservation in the Caribbean

Where to begin today?! After our 3-week transatlantic crossing, early this morning, Cramer pushed on westward and the silhouette of Dominica slowly rose up on the horizon under a somewhat cloudy sky. Our first sighting of the island was from 28 nautical miles out, and the silhouette slowly grew bigger with lush, mountainous peaks charging up to the sky. At about 0800, as we approached Dominica, a picture perfect rainbow stretched across the sky and ended on the peak of one of the mountains.


December 09, 2014

With New Friends Comes New Culture

Kylie Sehrer, C Watch, Oregon State University

The Global Ocean: New Zealand

As I sat around the breakfast table this morning, our second full day in Dunedin, I could see the exhaustion I felt on the faces of my shipmates. Port life is hard. We have all gotten used to our watch rotations at sea and sleep better when the ship sways beneath us. I speak only for myself when I say that being in port is equally fabulous and horrible. It provides us with the chance to visit amazing places, meet wonderful new people, and contact our loved ones back home.


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