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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

March 11, 2015

Happy Birthday SSV Robert C. Seamans!

Helen Dufel, C-Watch, Stony Brook University

The Global Ocean: New Zealand

Above: Conor, Charlotte, Jenny, Tyler, Scoop, Megan, Matt, Hayden, Kyle, Sienna, David, Claudia, and Eric. Singing and playing instruments on the “doghouse” roof top during our last night in Wellington. Below: “Tiki” who sits at the entrance of the “doghouse” to greet visitors.

I would like to use this blog to give a very big Happy Birthday to our classroom, our music studio, our home, the Robert C. Seamans! Momma Seamans is turning 14 today and even the dolphins and seals have come out to wish her a great day. On March 10th, 2001 the Robert C. Seamans was launched in Tacoma Washington. Our very own Mary Malloy was there to witness the first adventure of this fine vessel. On this historic day the ship was only a hull, which was held fast to the pier by steel plates. Mary recounts that the plates were being welded off and Gene Seamans was standing by ready to break the bottle of champagne ceremoniously on the hull of the ship, but she didn’t get the chance. Just as it was released the Seamans rocketed away from the shore ready and roaring to start exploring.

Robert C. Seamans (Bob Seamans) was an important trustee of SEA and a huge supporter of the program from the very start. He was known for his love of travel and discovery, a spirit of adventure that has most definitely lived on through the Seamans as it travels to distant and exotic places. The Seamans is SEA’s Pacific ship and has never travelled to the Atlantic Ocean, but has travelled as far north as Sitka, Alaska and as far south as Dunedin, New Zealand—which we will reach tomorrow morning!

Along the way the Seamans has been home to about one hundred university students a year. That’s about 1,400 students plus a couple hundred high school students, crew, and local visitors. The Seamans has left its mark on all who have walked its deck and climbed its rigging. The people onboard and places it has ventured have also left something behind. Gene is still the name of the original lifeboat and an old print of the port of Tacoma, Washington hangs over us as we eat our meals.

I will now take you on a tour of the collection of artifacts from the Seamans’ many adventures that line its walls and tell its story. As you walk into the doghouse (also known as the charthouse) our Tiki statue creatively named “Tiki” greets you. He was purchased in Fatu Hiva in the Marquesas Islads.  In port, visitors and locals are often welcomed on board to learn about the program and its many projects. They are often given a tour of the ship as well. On a second stop in Fatu Hiva years later a woodcarver came aboard and recognized the Tiki as one made by his father.

As you begin to venture from the doghouse and below decks there is a wooden carving of a Northwest Coast Indian salmon hanging above the ladder. This was contributed to the ship by its students on a much more northern trip than ours. As you continue into the galley, there is a beautifully carved Marquesan ceremonial paddle, which was a gift to the ship. These are just a few of the physical memories collected as the Seamans has travelled throughout the pacific.

I think it's safe to say that you cannot walk away from your time on this ship without an attachment to the way of life on board, the things you have learned, and the people you've met. I myself can vouch for this, as it is
not my first time aboard the Robert C. Seamans. I participated in a program off the coast of California as a high school student and could not wait to return. Many of the crew were students themselves at one time and have been hooked ever since. Life on board is something extraordinary and completely unique. It allows you to create a community like no other. Happy Birthday Robert C. Seamans and thank you for housing some of the best times of our lives and memories we will carry for a long time.

- Helen

Categories: Robert C. Seamans,The Global Ocean: New Zealand, • Topics: None • (0) Comments
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