SEA Currents: News
SEA Semester in the News
by Emily Duggan, Staff Writer, The New Hampshire
Ella Cedarholm, a University of New Hampshire student, always knew she wanted a “unique” study abroad experience, but never thought she would do so on the SSV Robert C. Seamans, a 134’ tall ship.
From Lee, New Hampshire, Cedarholm has sailed all her life, both competitively through the UNH sailing team, and with her family up the coast of Maine on their 26’ Bristol.
We, class S-278, have reached our final day here on the SSV Robert C. Seamans. And what a day it has been! This morning, we anchored in Moorea, an island so insanely beautiful it adorns the French Polynesian currency. After a long day of scrubbing the boat, we were rewarded with a swim call. Amongst the stark mountains and intermittent downpour, our lives hardly felt real.
And that has been a common theme throughout this trip — beauty, emotions, and experiences that are so rich and complex that they defy reality itself.
Allow me to describe a remarkable thing to you. So there I was, exhausted and anxious after hectic rescheduling of flights from the wintery northeast somehow managed to work out at the last minute and get me to the quaint New Zealand port of Lyttelton, where Shackleton had been before. Stepping out of the taxi with ol’ Doug, the cold rain started pouring down as I was ready to begin my first hitch with SEA and my first ocean passage as a sailing mate onboard the Robert C. Seamans.
This morning we left the dock in the community of Uturoa, Raiatea and motored through the lagoon between the islands of Raiatea and Tahaa to scout out an anchor spot so the ships company could go snorkeling. The channel wove between reefs through a gradient of blue glassy water. The smell of tropical flowers was strong in the air.
After having sailed more than 3000 nautical miles, we arrived at Raiatea today. Soon we are going to have to say goodbye to the Robert C. Seamans, the home from which we saw a moonrise and a night rainbow for the first time, where flying fishes, dolphins, albatrosses and bioluminescence in our nets became part of a daily basis all of a sudden, and where we got to love the sound of a sail being set.
Waking up for morning watch today, there was no question that we have experienced a change in our horizons here on the Robert C Seamans.
I, and I am sure a majority of my fellow students, were tired from the day before as we worked furiously to finalize the research projects into which we have put so much time over the past 10 weeks.
Wow, what a day this has been. I started the day off with two hours of sleep before Dawn Watch, which probably wasn’t the best idea, but I was able to get a lot of things done the night before. The watch itself was amazingly calm and finished itself off with a stunning, cloud-scaped sunrise that I got to experience firsthand from the bow.
There are brief snippets of time in my life when everything aligns, there is a lightness in my heart and smile on my face, and I experience what I call “capital ‘G’ Good moments.” They’re not always the moments that get photographed, but those that I carry with me wherever I go. In order to understand the best of the best of times on this boat and the people who live on it, I have compiled a list of these moments from our community aboard the Robert C. Seamans.
Last night marked our entrance into the French Polynesian EEZ, meaning a point of land is just a short 200 nautical miles away. This is the closest we have been to land since leaving the Chatham Islands three weeks ago. Almost as if in celebration, the wind and the sea cooperated for a brief few hours last night and we were lucky enough to have what many of the staff called “the best sail the Seamans has to offer.”
Well hello there. This is the ship’s cook, Lauren. Dinner is currently being eaten in the main salon so I’m taking a minute to see if I can express myself in words instead of food.