SEA Currents: Sep 2017
I am happy to say that S-275 is officially at sea! We are just wrapping up an eventful first day out on the water. However, it doesn’t exactly feel like the day is through as we’ve quickly fallen into the routine of rolling 6-hour watches. Myself and the rest of C-watch, for example, are expecting a wake up at 0040 so we can be out on the deck at 0050 for dawn watch.
It was a very exciting morning aboard the Seamans. In order to be a fully functioning ship, every member of the crew (including all twenty-one students) participates in a rotating six-hour watch schedule. This means a group of people is always awake to be on lookout, do boat checks, stand at the helm, and make sure everything is working smoothly. Today was the first day of our regular watch schedule, and there was certainly a lot to see.
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.
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.
Greetings from Belfast! The Cramer is currently floating alongside a dock here at the shipyard, and we are all SO excited. Here’s a quick recap of everything that had to happen to get to this point!
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.
Well, the RCS blog has been hard to keep up with, with all of this hard work! We’ve been attacking all sorts of projects here and there, and just about everywhere. We’ve travelled all the way up the masts, to loosen the bottle screws in order to re-tension the stays. We’ve tarred the highest stays. And we’ve worked down to the depths, finishing stowing the food and lashing it in dry stores, getting everything sail-ready. And even to under the bowsprit, climbing and tarring the bobstay.
The students of S-275, Sustainability in Polynesian Island Cultures & Ecosystems, will join the SSV Robert C. Seamans on American Samoa by Monday, September 25th. They will depart around Monday November 6th to begin their second shore component in Auckland, New Zealand, after port stops in Tonga and Fiji.
Together with the rest of the world, we at SEA have followed news of the hurricanes that have caused such widespread destruction and loss in the Caribbean. Our hearts go out to our friends and collaborators and to the communities affected by the devastation.
Because communications have been interrupted, we still don’t have complete information about the well-being of our Caribbean friends and the condition of many of the places we regularly visit, though we are working hard to find out more. We can report, however, that the SSV Corwith Cramer was not in the region (it is currently in Belfast, Maine) and so our own SEA students and crew were not directly affected.
It’s getting exciting here in Belfast, as we prepare to move Cramer out of the shed. Currently, she is scheduled to emerge from the shed on Tuesday! She will greet the sunshine with her newly painted hull, which is looking very sharp.
While Cramer no doubt gets excited to get out and about, the crew are very busy getting everything ready. Mickey spends his hours in yard running around directing projects, and his hours outside of yard doing odd jobs to keep up with the work. When I asked him what engineering was up to, he replied, “reassembling the boat,” before hurrying off to another task.