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SEA Currents Blog

SEA Currents: The Global Ocean: New Zealand

February 27, 2020

Honest Discussions on Authenticity

Amy Phung, Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering


One of my favorite hobbies that I’ve picked up from my time at Olin is spinning poi, which I was pleasantly surprised to find had Māori roots. Poi are a set of two weighted balls at the end of strings with handles on the other end, and at Olin, poi are one of several different props people could choose to learn how to spin.

February 27, 2020

Human Uses of Ocean Space Census: Russell, or Kororareka

Allison Klei, Franklin and Marshall College


Tucked away in the Bay of Islands, Russell and its port have a layered history, from Māori settlement to whaling and debauchery to more recent recreation and big game fishing. The town’s first Māori-given name, Kororareka, translates to “sweet penguin,” after a tale about the sweet meat of the local blue penguin.

February 23, 2020

A Melting Pot of History and Culture

Lily Danna, Carleton College


Every place, whether a city in New Zealand or the average grocery store, has its own unique culture, notable features, and general vibe. One of the many aspects that made me so drawn to SEA Semester was that it allowed us to visit and experience many different cities and regions of one country.

February 22, 2020

The Sights and Sounds of the Waitangi Treaty Grounds

Tom Rubino, Carleton College


Greetings from the Bay of Islands! My name is Tom Rubino, and I am a junior at Carleton College. We have been at anchor in Kororāreka Russell Harbor since Friday at our first port stop. Consequently, this also marks the first time in 72 hours we have walked on a surface that doesn’t sway. More than once, I have had to remind myself not to anticipate and brace myself for a swell!

February 21, 2020

When We See Whales

Matthew Watowich, Carleton College


It is so hard to contextualize and transcribe this experience. How do I describe the ephemera of events transpired? The excitement of witnessing a whale breeching at sunset? The feeling of leaning over the bow to watch dolphins at 1:00 AM? These are the thoughts racing my mind as I type this entry while we begin to pull into our anchorage in the small town of Kororareka Russell, our first stop since our departure from Auckland roughly four days ago.

February 21, 2020

Prince’s Wharf in Auckland NZ

Lindsay Agvent, University of Rhode Island


For their Conservation and Management elective course, S-290 students have continued a long range study in which they are tracking usage of the ports we visit regularly, a project Professor Erin Bryant has termed the Human Uses of Ocean Space Census. We photograph the location each time we visit and quantitatively record what we observe.

February 20, 2020

Mermaids and Bed Time Stories

Julian Murray-Brown, UNC, Wilmington


When I was younger my dad, an alumnus of SEA, would tell my siblings and I one of our favorite bedtime stories. A story about the time when he was at watch on the quarter deck of SEA’s Westward somewhere in the Caribbean when something magical happened. In the dead of night, he and the other crew saw two lights approaching the side of the Westward. The lights moved with immense speed and were making a beeline for the vessel. My dad describes the

February 20, 2020

Marine Life in These First Few Days

Marija Miklavčič, University of Rochester


Today, as I write this, it’s our third day underway aboard the SSV Robert C. Seamans and things are going very well. Sometime during the night, we were even able to turn off our engines and now we are moving only by the power of the wind. Despite only having been on the move for a few short (but wonderfully long-feeling) days, we have already seen creatures I only ever hoped to see on this trip. Among these animals are sharks, penguins, and dolphins.

February 18, 2020

The International Date Line is Confusing

Lilli Dwyer, University of Rhode Island


The last two weeks have been filled with a whirlwind of emotion. From leaving our cottages in the quiet town of Woods Hole, with the weird feeling of separation from some of my now closest friends, to getting on a Hawaiian Airlines direct flight from Boston to Honolulu, spending 21 hours in Hawaii, and then magically ending up the next day in Auckland, New Zealand.

February 16, 2020

Boat Checks and Māori History

Leif Saveraid, Luther College


Overnight we started our first watches. A watch had evening watch, followed by hour-long dock watches divided up amongst us. These watches were used to continue our training on boat checks. Boat checks are extremely important because they allow us to catch any problems that should arise before they are a threat. Boats checks involve going throughout the Robert C. Seamans, ensuring that everything is in order.

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