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SEA Currents: SSV Robert C. Seamans

November 26, 2015

An American Thanksgiving Abroad

Hayley Kushner, B Watch, Colby College

The Global Ocean: New Zealand

Ship's Log

35°00.1’ S x 174°25.4’E

Bay of Islands, New Zealand

Partly Cloudy

Souls on Board

Ahhh, Thanksgiving, the quintessential American holiday in which we overindulge with the ones we (hopefully) love. Just kidding (maybe not). For me, Thanksgiving is a holiday that I feel very specific about. My family and I have many traditions surrounding Thanksgiving that I hold very near and dear to my heart. So, as you can imagine, the idea of celebrating this special holiday abroad was quite a daunting one.

During the shore component, when I learned that we would be having a Thanksgiving celebration while at sea, I was cautiously optimistic. I hoped that it would be fun but I knew that it wouldn’t be everything that I was used to. However, these feeling changed completely upon setting sail from Auckland. Thanksgiving began for me at 2:30am when I was awoken for my 3:00am-7:00am dawn watch. Upon my arrival on deck, I was hopeful that my watch would be the first one to spot land after a week of only water. However, these hopes were dashed when a dense fog rolled in, severely restricting our visibility.

All members of B watch were glad to get below for a delicious pancake breakfast (shout out to our amazing steward, Bex!), and maybe not so glad to do some sole scrubbing (Sole: the nautical term for floor). After mama Seamans was nice and clean, we had the chance to go above and watch our approach to the beautiful Bay of Islands. By then, the fog had cleared to give us an absolutely magnificent view of the Bay of Islands. Being used to Thanksgiving with fall foliage, this landscape with its aquamarine water and pleasant sunshine was quite different, yet beautiful.

The crew spent the day giving the ship a thorough cleaning and getting ready for our Thanksgiving festivities. Bex woke up at 4:45am (I know because I was the one who woke her up) to start preparing our feast (more to come on this later). While some of the crew took some time to get on land and explore the quaint town of Russell, others continued to cook and make traditional Thanksgiving decorations including hand turkeys and paper chains.

We were lucky enough to be expecting visitors for our dinner including historians and locals involved in sailing. This created much excitement and the ship looked neat and festive by the time we were ready for the guests to come aboard. Putting the final touches on our feast, everyone rushed to change for dinner. To understand the significance of this, one must first understand our usual daily attire. Life at sea is full of hard but rewarding and often dirty work. Thus, our clothing often reflects this. Speaking from personal experience, I tend to favor many layers of athletic-type clothing on a daily basis. Throw limited showers in to this mix and you get a pretty awesome-looking crew (in our opinion, anyway).

So, it was pretty exciting for everyone to put some “real people” clothes on. After some mingling, we got down to the serious business: eating. Our feast was unbelievable and included turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, gravy, creamed spinach, corn, roasted carrots, assorted roasted veggies, rolls, honey butter, pumpkin pie, blueberry pie, apple pie, whipped cream, and chocolate mousse (like I said before WE LOVE BEX! <3). It was everything I could have asked for from Thanksgiving. I spent the day with new friends who I already feel as if I have known forever, on a beautiful boat, in a beautiful bay, in amazing New Zealand. If this description of food, friends, and New Zealand doesn't make you jealous I don't know what ever will. I hope that everyone out there had an amazing Thanksgiving as well!

Cheers and fair winds,

Categories: Robert C. Seamans,The Global Ocean: New Zealand, • Topics: s263  life at sea • (1) Comments


Leave a public comment for students and crew to read when they reach their next port and have access to the internet!

#1. Posted by Maureen Hirsch on December 01, 2015

Celebrating holidays at sea have become a part of Matt Hirsch’s life.  We miss you Matt!  Everyone was here for Thanksgiving this year, Kai can sit up now!  Grey is still Rollercoaster crazy, and Bella and Pop won the Badminton tournament.  You can see some of our photos on my facebook page.  See you next year!  Love, MOM and DAD



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