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SEA Currents: SSV Robert C. Seamans
February 13, 2015
A Day of Firsts
36° 10.981’ S x 175° 21.382’
At Anchor off Great Barrier Island in Kaiarara Bay of Port Fitzroy, New Zealand
Partly Cloudy but still plenty of sun! Not a lot of wind today however.
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! Unfortunately, the lack of wind and other circumstances kept us from setting more sails to propel us to our point of anchorage. So rather, we cruised to Kaiarara Bay with our engine, but the watches remained busy with various daily duties and sail work. Once we left the Hauraki Gulf, the beautiful ocean scenery, rolling waves, and gorgeous sunshine brought nearly everyone aboard to the deck for some reading, relaxing, and simply good conversation with good company. At one point, our vessel passed a large flock of birds, which we later came to find signaled the presence of whales. Many of those on deck were able to spot the whales’ flukes and spouts from a distance.
In addition to soaking up the sun, those on watch executed the first Neuston Tow (in which we tow a fine-mesh net along the side of the ship to collect phytoplankton, fish, and micro plastics) for class S-257.
By around 1430 we dropped anchor. Although we all loved the fact that “Mama Seamans” got to stretch her legs in some open ocean, the best of the day was yet to come. After our on-deck class at 1530, we received word from Captain Elliot Rappaport that we could take a quick break to swim in the bay off the port side of the ship! After a long and sunny day, the students and some of the crew were ready in their togs (the New Zealand term for bathing suit—courtesy of Adelle, our New Zealand local) in a matter of minutes to jump off the side of the ship into the beautifully blue water. Even Adelle’s traditional—and extremely delicious!—New Zealand Pavlova was scarfed down (not a single crumb was left) so we could rush to the deck for our precious swim time. It was just the right temperature. And for many of us, we would hop into the water, climb out, lather up with some soap, and hop right back in—it made for an easy and very enjoyable shower!
Tomorrow it sounds like we will be doing some exploring on the Great Barrier Island, but stayed tuned and read what we have posted for tomorrow’s adventures!
Also, we are all wondering how New England and other home states are coping with the weather. Feel free to comment on this to keep us updated about the snow and other conditions. We hope everyone is safe and keeping warm!