Ready for an adventure with a purpose? Request info »
  • Search SEA Semester, Summer and High School Programs
  • View SEA Semester campus visit calendar

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 04, 2015

Kowabunga in Whangaroa!

Erin Jones, B Watch, Mount Holyoke College

The Global Ocean: New Zealand

Above: Nick Monica in flight from the bowsprit. Below: View of Whangaroa and the Duke’s Nose (top left) from Robert C. Seamans

Ship's Log

Noon Position
35° 00.46’ S x 173° 44.378’ E

Ship Heading
At Anchor

Ship Speed (knots)
At Anchor

Taffrail Log (nm)
851.5 nm

Weather / Wind / Sail Plan
Calm winds from WNW F1, cloudy, but sun breaking through, 23.5° C. Anchored through to Sunday, December 6th.

Description of location
Pekapeke, Whangaroa, New Zealand

Souls on Board

The Robert C. Seamans sailed smoothly into Whangaroa Bay late this morning and anchored with a stunning 360-degree view of basalt rock formations, calm Pacific waters, and green treetops. The wave protection here is outstanding; I don’t think we’ve been in such calm waters even when previously at anchor. One of the rock formations in view is known as The Duke’s Nose, named after the Duke of Wellington during the period of overwhelming European influence. From the water you can clearly see the aquiline profile of the Duke’s face and the robust nose protruding from the cliff. According to Mark, one of tomorrow’s adventures will include the 3-hour hike up to the Duke’s Nose—better bring my camera! New Zealand is really killing it with the natural beauty and endless scenic vistas. Needless to say, hundreds of photos were captured throughout the morning and afternoon. We all had a relatively easy-going day; after sails were furled and the anchor was set, the rest of the day was spent on rotating anchor watch, listening to a captivating history lecture about Whangaroa from Mark, and a surprise Sierra Charlie.

The bay we are situated in is incredibly secluded and as we learned from Mark’s lecture this afternoon, when Captain Cook was voyaging to New Zealand, he completely missed the entrance to the bay due to its deceiving blockade appearance from the sea. When Europeans eventually discovered the entrance, the Whangaroa region was overexploited in a matter of years. For example, seal populations were gone within five years of European arrival. Today, Whangaroa is the home to a mere 500 people and is 1/12th the size the town used to be.

Among the beaming rays and balmy breezes, we gathered on the quarterdeck this afternoon for an undisclosed reason. While all of us students eagerly awaited for the big reveal of what this next hour had in store for everyone, Captain Bill took the floor and announced that next up was a good ol’ Sierra Charlie i.e. Swim Call! We’ve all been chomping at the bit to jump into the blue ocean and now we finally had the chance. We were even able to climb out to the bowsprit and jump from there. Naturally, we all made a B-line for the head-rig after throwing our swim trunks on. One after another, we all splashed into the 72° F water and cheered with joy. Some students even soaped up before leaping into the sea for a makeshift salt-water bath.

The rest of the afternoon was filled with music, knitting, cocoa, and oatmeal cookies; not much else can top off a day as well. Finally, with warm food in our bellies and anchor watch proceeding, we’re all winding down for the evening. After our fun day in the sun and the sea, I think we are all pumped for our adventure on land tomorrow. Duke’s Nose, here we come!

Lastly, a couple shout-outs to family and friends of the crew and students:
Hey Dad, we’ve caught four tuna, we’re so forTUNAte! – Bex
To all of Gabo’s friends and family back home, she wishes you well and sends her love.
From Lucy, Hi Mom Dad and Emma, miss you guys and tell Riley and Sumo I say hi.

- Erin

P.s. To my friends, family, and Hannah Kate, I’m thinking of you all throughout this adventure at sea and can’t wait to share my sea-tales with everyone back home!

Previous entry: Half Way    Next entry: Full-Blown Barf-O-Rama


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 Jonathan Jones on December 09, 2015

Hello Dearest Erin, classmates & crew. We all do so enjoy reading the blogs, tracking the ship’s location and broadcasting the updates out to friends and family. What an amazing adventure for you all. Soak up every moment and value this extraordinary time in your life. We miss you and wish for kind seas, favorable winds and calm stomachs. All our love, Dad, Mom, Lila & Thea

#2. Posted by Grandma and Dick on December 12, 2015

Your Dad has kept us up to date. What a wonderful Experience, soak up every second
:Love Grandma and Dick



Add a comment:

Notify me of follow-­up comments?

I would like SEA to keep me informed about news and opportunities.