SEA Currents: Sustainability in Polynesian Island Cultures & Ecosystems
Today we departed Suva, Fiji to start our final two weeks on the ship! It is crazy how quickly time passes here on the ship!
Yesterday morning, we visited the community of Korova which is home to traditional sailing canoes called Drua. I’m doing a project on traditional navigation techniques and architecture of these canoes and to my excitement, they kindly welcomed us on their small, single sailed wooden Drua.
As the assistant engineer aboard the good ship Robert C. Seamans, you may not be surprised that I often frame the world around me in numbers. I tend to like things that are quantifiable and measurable. The ship around me is full of these numbers, and it’s our job in the engine department to track them, record them, make sense of them. We use these numbers to know when it’s time to perform critical maintenance - the starboard generator has run 168.9 hours since its last oil change, and will be due for another in 31.1.
Another day, another meal. Like most people’s lives on the boat, my daily routine revolves around food, but to a higher degree than others, because I’m the Steward. My day tends to begin around 0430 when I rise to make breakfast, followed by the baking of midnight snack and the preparation of morning snack to be served by 1000. I catch a break before starting lunch prep at 1030 and putting out afternoon snack after class at 1600. All of this before starting dinner prep at 1630, with my day ending around 1900.
In latest episode of our SEA Stories podcast, join the students of S-275 as they participate in an Umu, a traditional Samoan feast prepared in an earth oven. Visit a tropical garden and learn about the importance of tattoo in Samoan culture.
We are now underway and a little less than two days away from docking in Fiji. This means that all of us students are working hard to really understand all of our responsibilities and know our skills for being on deck and in the lab. I am still struggling with boxing the compass, or knowing all of the different names for the 32 points of direction on a compass, but practicing during watch helps. We have our lab practical tomorrow as well, to see if we understand all of the procedures and protocols for lab deployments/safety.
Hello from back at sea! After two full days of sailing, following our departure from Tonga, I think we are all finally starting to regain our sea legs! We have had beautiful and breezy weather as we head towards the outskirts of the Fijian Islands, and will soon (aka Thursday) make our way to Suva!!
Malo e Lelei from Nuku’alofa! We are enjoying our last day here before we head out to sea again tomorrow evening. We woke up early to a misty morning, all excited to take part in projects with a few representatives from the Tongan Ministry of Environment, whom we all got to meet and talk to over a lovely dinner last night. I, along with 12 other students, hopped into a couple of vans to make our way to the Hoi mangroves, where we went to learn about, and participate in, the planting of these trees along the lagoon of Nuku’alofa.
When you’re a kid, you dream of seeing certain things-a shooting star, a really cool car, maybe even some sort of paradise like Hawaii that you always saw in beautiful magazine ads. When I was a kid, I dreamed of touching the Great Pyramid of Egypt, of walking along the Great Wall of China, and I badly wanted to find Cleopatra’s Tomb or discover a lost city made of gold in the Amazon. To clarify, I never thought I would be lucky enough to do any of those things, but an archaeologist has gotta dream right?
I think back to this past summer, having that same conversation over and over again. “Where are you studying abroad?” Someone would ask. Happy to share the details of my upcoming trip, I would let those who asked know of my plans to sail from American Samoa, to Tonga, Fiji, and then New Zealand with SEA Semester. With a sarcastic smirk many people would respond, “Wow, sounds really tough.” While there have been plenty of leisurely moments, full of relaxation and exploration, most of the work we do is not what I would call easy or infrequent, but it is certainly what I would call rewarding. Let me walk you through the past 24 hours of life on the Seamans to paint a picture of the rigor and reward.
We have once again lost sight of land and are somewhere sailing in the South Pacific ocean. The only thing that we can see are the clouds passing by with an occasional whale tail flopping out of the water during the day, and countless shooting stars at night. We are underway, heading south to our second destination in Tonga, Nuku’alofa where we will dock for a few days.