Current position of the SSV Robert C. Seamans. Click on the vessel to view position history. Use the tools, top right, to change the map style or view data layers. Dates and times use GMT (Greenwich Mean Time).
SEA Currents: SSV Robert C. Seamans
December 10, 2016
A Rugged Wild Coastline
6 nm north of Napier Harbor
Ship’s Heading & Speed
Wind: force 2; clouds: cumulo-stratus, 8/8 coverage
The past few days of coastal sailing brings new a different challenges as well as joys to us onboard the R.C. Seamans. In one watch cycle I went from seeing not a single light at night to monitoring multiple lights from other ships, lighthouses, and navigation aids. Three weeks at sea, and we thought we were experts, but now with shoals to watch for, land and lights to take bearings off of, and other ships to navigate around, we feel like novices again. And in addition, we are entering into the phase of greater responsibility in the role of JWO. Along with these new challenges to adapt to there are many wonderful aspects about nearing land.
After almost three weeks of blue water sailing I was excited to see trees again. While the first sight of land and shout of "land ho!" from the look out brings almost everyone on deck to see the now less empty horizon, what enthralled me most were the new smells! Even before we sighted land and air began to smell more like the "sea", briney, like the beach and seaweed. Out in the open ocean, surprisingly it doesn't really smell like the sea.
Yesterday on dawn watch the cool breeze brought all the delightful smells of land, damp tropical forest smells, fresh flowers, and the overwhelming smell of spring. For the first time since coming to New Zealand I finally believed what season we were in, early summer, not just some bizarre warmer December. As we sailed down the coast towards Napier the smells have changed to more like summer sun on warm grass near the beach, reminding me of summers spent in the San Juan Islands in Washington.
Besides the new smells the views of rock and trees and sand beaches are all new and unfamiliar to us. The rugged wild coastline along the East Cape is spectacular. The steep green cliffs rise up from foaming breakers. Where the land is too steep to allow grass to grow the bright white volcanic rocks shine through. Everything about the landscape is young and dynamic, in both human and geologic time.
We went to sea as novice and apprentice sailors, and now are returning to land as salty sailors. Much line the changing coastline, we had to adapt to our constantly changing environment, learning leadership and practical skills that we will take from sea to shore and then back to sea again.