SEA Currents: Feb 2016
Currently, I am sitting in the salon with some B Watch friends, Ella, Eileen and Jill and we are deliberating the Bobby C’s most recent hair phenomenon: the Princess Leia buns (a.k.a. the cinnabuns, or Miley Cyrus buns). Our captain, Elliot, cautioned that our hair should always be up to avoid dangerous spinning winches/machines in the engine room, and this was one of the many styles that he recommended. Maggie and I were the first to sport this look and it quickly caught on after we appeared in the salon, a common hang out spot when we are not sleeping and want to snack on any of the baked goods that seem to be constantly available.
Happy Leap Year, friends and family back home! Today was our second day anchored in Samana Bay, Dominican Republic. Yesterday we remained on board, however today we spent a long day out exploring this island. Our day began with a beautiful sunrise and some delicious pancakes that Maddie assisted on, followed by several tours throughout different areas of Samana. Our fantastic tour guide Wilfredo Benjamin Kelly accompanied us all day and taught us about the history of the town (we learned that the majority of the people of Samana have English last names because of the diverse cultures represented).
Our recent adventures through the Bay of Islands brought with them a magnetic visit from a master mariner that many on board thought originated in Middle Earth. Our grey bearded friend paid us a welcome visit to help us adjust the ships magnetic compass. Who was this sorcerer of ships’ compasses, how did we find him on his small island in what is called the Bay of Islands, and why do we need the compass adjusted in the first place?
Ahoy! Today started off with our lovely B watch bringing Mamma Cramer into Samana Bay. I was on dishes, but above deck there were whale sightings all around! Do not worry, there was still much excitement later in the day even after all of the whale action yesterday. This time, though, we were not the only spectators. There were whale watching boats all around. After the excitement of whales, and anchoring, it was time to prepare for our afternoon festivities.
After nearly four days on the open water, all aboard the Cramer have been getting used to the daily view: beautiful blue skies meeting beautiful blue seas, only with the occasional cruise or container ship breaking this sight. But this morning, all were on deck witnessing a change in the scenery: WHALES!
Hello folks back home!
Today marks our first full day of the longest leg of our trip: 13 days until we reach Wellington. As I write this, I am sitting on top of the “dog house,” the room where we do all of our piloting and navigation. The ocean meets the sky in every direction, with no land separating the two shades of blue.
The twelfth day of our voyage was backed by beautiful skies over the constant swells of the sea. I was up for the beginning of the sunrise at the closing of dawn watch after spending the hours in the lab learning about pteropods and conducting the midnight Neuston tow. We were also frequently distracted by the increasing depth of the sea floor as we made our way across the Puerto Rico Trench, with the deepest section of our voyage measuring 8187 meters on CHIRP, the ship’s acoustic depth sounder.
Today was Field Day. “How fun!” you might think. SEA Semester bringing it back to an elementary school day of outdoor fun and games with your friends, just on a boat. Not quite. Field Day is a day where we deep clean the ship from top to bottom. It was our first one of the voyage and it was surprisingly an absolute blast.
This was our first night sleeping on the boat while underway after being dockside in the charming beauty of Old San Juan, Puerto Rico and being pretty much stationary for the past 2 days. Some of us were starting to get antsy to get back at sea because we were starting to get “land sick” to the point that we’d find ourselves on land suddenly walking or swaying like we would on the boat.
Today was a glorious day indeed. We took a ferry from Russell to Paihia. From there we walked along the beach to the Waitangi treaty grounds. The British and Māori signed the treaty in 1840 and the treaty is controversial to this day because the British and Māori versions read differently. For instance, the British claimed sovereignty over Māori land; however, to the Māori “sovereignty” translated to rangatiratanga, or simply governorship of their land.