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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

November 26, 2014

How to Make a Ship Look Really, Really, Really Good

Nina Whittaker, C Watch, Kenyon College

The Global Ocean: New Zealand

There are very few things in life more satisfying than two beautifully furled squares’ls.

Ship's Log

Current Position
41°17.1’S x 174°46.8’E

Sunny, few clouds. Gusty with a cool wind developing later in the day.

Sail Plan & Course/Speed
Alongside Queen’s Wharf in Wellington

We mustered on the quarter deck at 0800 this morning to see Queen’s Wharf in the bright sunlight. People were milling around (and inexplicably commuting to work in full suits on scooters), looking at the boat with great interest. Feeling self-conscious, the crew of the Robert C. Seamans sprang into action for an extreme makeover like no other. The two more worn sails (the mains’l and the mainstays’l) were taken down to be repaired/replaced, and the other sails were furled tightly, with the seams folded into cascades of precise white waves. Our watch ventured aloft, climbing up the foremast to furl and tuck the squares’ls. Picture nine people hanging high off rungs (clipped in, of course!), tenderly holding seams and less tenderly punching in rogue folds – it was a good morning.

One of the best kept secrets on this vessel is the cathartic magic of teak-scrubbing. The rails that go around the ship, the deck boxes, and other parts of the ship are made of a sneaky kind of teak wood that tends to absorb the most filthy grime imaginable, turning an ominous grey in the process. Imagine the satisfaction of taking a deck-brush to the teak, releasing layers and layers of grey foam (known aboard as the infamous ‘mung’) to reveal a warm, honey-coloured wood. We spent a number of hours scrubbing the teak thus in a valiant frenzy, and the wood is now so clear and bright that it looks like it is singing. As a result of everyone’s hard work the ship is looking amazing, and we spent the rest of the day trying not to look too proud as passers-by stopped to stare and take photos.

As a reward for a good morning’s work, we were set loose in the afternoon to explore Wellington. We ventured tentatively onto solid ground, testing our wobbly land-legs – a very real phenomenon! Wellington is a beautiful city, with a cosmopolitan city centre wrapped in steep, green hills flecked with townhouses, all strung out by the sea. We are all excited to further explore the city during this port stop, although I must admit that a part of me is already longing to be back at sea, with the salt and the swells.

- Nina

Categories: Robert C. Seamans,The Global Ocean: New Zealand, • Topics: s256  port stops  new zealand • (2) Comments
Previous entry: The Way to Windy Wellington    Next entry: Turkey Day in Kiwi Land


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 Mary Lou Johnson on November 27, 2014

To the Seamans’ Captain & crew - Your friends and families at home so appreciate your well-written posts.  We anxiously wait each day to hear about your adventures.  Our best to all of you as we celebrate Thanksgiving Day in America. I am thankful for this amazing experience for my daughter, Miss Ali. Thanks to all of you who are teaching our young adults and keeping them safe on this voyage.  We wish you good health, calm weather and fun memories to share with us when you return. Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!  Love, Mom (Mary Lou) & Aunt Beth

#2. Posted by David Gray on December 01, 2014

Hello Crew,

Looks great from our vantage point. You can teak off another chore.




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