SEA Currents: The Global Ocean: New Zealand
February 22, 2015
A couple days ago began phase two of our three-phase process aboard the ship. Phase one was an instructional phase where everyone got the hang of things here on the ship. Phase two is where one person in each watch shadows our watch officer, either the assistant scientist in the lab, or the mate on deck. Then phase three is when we assume the role of a junior watch officer or a junior lab officer and we are in charge of the watch.
February 21, 2015
It is every sailor’s dream to be the winner of a line-identifying competition, in which we demonstrate that we have “learned the ropes.” This phrase was coined by the sailors of old to describe the need to learn the name and function of every line on the ship. However, it should be noted that we have no ropes on the ship, because once ropes have a purpose they are referred to as “lines.” In this sacred game, the ceremonies begin with the students separating into their designated watch groups-A, B, and C.
February 20, 2015
The first navigation stars now open their bright eyes. The fading embers in the sky die down and the ship is becoming quiet below deck. Students now dedicating time to study and sleep. The galley is getting a spruce up, as it does every night after a hard day of work. It needs it! In the good hands of the evening watch it will be shining again at 4:15 when the steward and student assistant get up to begin breakfast.
February 19, 2015
It has been merely 34 hours since we shoved off on our 13-day passage from Bay of Islands to Wellington and the days are already beginning to blend together. Our first night voyage closed with a bow wave glowing with bioluminescent star streaks, met by a “sky that resembled a back lit canopy with holes punched in it” (as described in a song by Incubus). We have been following the Southern Cross that outshines the Milky Way cast in a band around it.
February 18, 2015
Today marked our last day in northern New Zealand. Normal wake up calls sounded below decks at our anchorage in Russell followed by our first all-watch, ship-wide field day. Field day is the crew’s weekly battle against the unending tide of dirt and grime on the ship, where all three watches combine forces to maintain cleanliness onboard for another seven days. Having filtered the solids out of our cleaning grey water and dumped it overboard into the bay there was obviously only one way to unwind after our victorious battle against grime - a swim call!
February 17, 2015
I have the good fortune to be writing this from the bow of our ship the Robert C. Seamans, nestled down with some tea and overlooking the sunset. The boat is blanketed in the kind of quiet that only follows a full day of adventure and excitement. This morning we rose before the sun to catch the ferry to Waitangi across the bay. By the time we arrived the sun was out and shining for our stroll to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, where we reunited with two of our dinner guests from last night—Mori Rapana, a man who has vast knowledge concerning Maori history and tradition, and his mentor Matua Wiremu Williams, a Maori elder whose openness and insight never ceased to amaze us.
February 16, 2015
Hello from our anchorage at the Bay of Islands town of Russell, a former Pacific whaling hub once known as the “Hellhole of the Pacific”! Thankfully for us it looks a lot more like paradise, with turquoise water glittering in every direction and rolling volcanic islands we’ve come to know and love at every point of the compass.
We woke this morning at our anchorage in a cove just outside of the Bay of Islands, a lovely place to sleep after the previous night of adjusting to the roll of Mama Seamans beneath our bunks.
February 15, 2015
This was the first full day we sailed underway without anchoring at night. This means that we had full watch rotations with a complete watch group on deck and in the science lab at all times starting with A-watch from 1900 to 2300, followed by B-watch from 2300 to 0300, C-watch from 0300 to 0700, A-watch again from 0700 to 1300, and B-watch from 1300 to 1900.
February 14, 2015
My last day in Port Fitzroy began with a wonderful 0014 Happy Birthday wake up from Jenny, a traditional apple vinegar birthday shot with our wonderful Steward, Lauren and a birthday hongi from Scoop.
After breakfast and the first happy birthday singing of the day, we took advantage of the nice weather with a “Family Fun Excursion” on land led by Sarianna and Stu. After packing up our pumpkin muffins and water, Will and Willie zipped us over to land in the rescue boats. We first did a transect of the intertidal zone, led by Adelle to observe rocky shore marine species.
February 13, 2015
Although we have been working within our watch groups since day one, today was our first taste of “real” watch life. At 0600, the Morning Watch (C Watch) was woken up for the first breakfast and began their first 6-hour watch! Following Morning Watch began another 6-hour watch called Afternoon Watch. Then three 4-hour watches are held throughout the night until Morning Watch begins again.
On this first Morning Watch, the mains’l, the main stays’l, and the fore stays’l, were set