Current position of the SSV Robert C. Seamans. Click on the vessel to view position history. Use the tools, top right, to change the map style or view data layers.
SEA Currents: SSV Robert C. Seamans
Four days away from Tahiti and the end of our sea component, I can’t help but think about how much we’ve experienced and accomplished over these past weeks. As each of our classes begin to wrap up, I can now see how together they’ve created a complete experience. Nautical science will be the first to end, as our deck practical and sheet anchors are due tomorrow.
As I sit on deck writing the blog post this evening, I can’t help but to feel rather discontented that the sailing component of our trip is quickly coming to an end. I have really enjoyed living at sea and on board the Robert C. Seamans for the past 5 weeks and I’m just not quite ready to leave! There are just so many incredible things to experience while sailing. Although we are all hard at work on our various papers and projects, I was convinced by my shipmates, Nanuk and Jerusha, to take a break and climb aloft with them during our transit from Mangareva to Hao.
Todays blog is coming you direct from the engineering department on the SSV Robert C. Seamans. Some people may wonder why we need to have 2 engineers onboard a sailing vessel. To answer such an inquiry, let me take you through an average day in the engineering department.
We have now visited six of the some 109 islands making up the country that most Tahitian speakers simply call Te Fenua. Fenua in literal translation means land or ground, the bits of terra firma in this the biggest ocean on the planet. It is a remarkable thing, making a country out of the ocean with just these little slivers of land. The islands themselves play an equally remarkable part in this; their shapes, reflecting their geological history, in turn shape the lives of their human inhabitants in profound ways.
Having just a bit more than a week left in our voyage, thoughts on the ship have seriously turned to writing papers. If your first reaction is that this must be the boring part of the trip, after our exploits as sailors and adventurers have been so well described in this blog, I‘m here to argue that our role as scholars gives a deeper meaning to the whole experience.
After waking up to a radio update ready in the chain locker right outside my bed, I am certain that falling back to sleep is no longer an option and the rest of the focs’le is about to be woken up by the loud hauling away of the anchor. About 20 minutes later, the familiar bob of the ship reassures all those below the deck that we are indeed leaving Mangareva and setting sail towards Hao.
Today is our last day in Mangareva before we head off to Hao and eventually end our trip in Tahiti. As you’ve probably read in prior blog posts, the weather has been iffy at best in Mangareva.
The first full day was absolutely gorgeous and a couple of us had the chance to hike Mount Duff, a steep local mountain.
This morning we woke up with the expectation of taking a boat tour of the lagoon of Mangareva. The plan was to visit the various islands and motus, have lunch on the beach, and perhaps do a little snorkeling. When the time came to go, we learned that our boat driver had canceled on us. The squalls passing by caused him to cancel because of weather, a disappointing decision.
Yesterday morning I went ashore with a number of my classmates to attend the Sunday morning catholic mass at the local church. I really had no idea what to expect and hadn’t quite decided the extent to which I was going to participate in the service. Although I spent a good portion of my Sundays at church back in the day, I’m not religious now and wasn’t interested in my own prayer so much as the cultural aspects of the mass that were unique to Mangareva.
It is always feels a bit strange to be on shore after a long period at sea. Not that a week is that long, but it certainly feels that way after our island-hopping in the Marquesas. As it is Sunday, the morning started with a sizable number of students heading off to mass at the local Catholic church. From what I heard, it was extremely crowded and had some great music. I decided to forgo this particular activity in favor of something more adventurous.