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
February 20, 2018
Last Day in Opua
35° 18.719’S x 174° 07.272’E; Opua, NZ
Ship’s Heading & Speed
Docked at Opua
Scattered showers and bouts of wind, clouds 7/8, wind NNW, Force 2-4
Today brought answers to a silent anticipation much of us have felt since the weekend. Today Tropical Cyclone Gita was expected to (and did) cross New
Zealand's path at full force. For this reason, we had altered our voyage plan, opting to dock in the small town of Opua as opposed to Russell, in order to retreat further into the Bay of Islands, where we would be better protected from the path of the storm. While several South Island areas such as Christchurch and Buller declared states of emergency in preparation, the storm passed here in Opua with only varying and intermittent showers and gusts of wind, a somewhat refreshing relief from the sticky heat of the last week.
This morning we gathered on the quarterdeck for our third and final talk from our guest lecturer Will Howard, a former SEA Chief Scientist and current Assistant Director in Australia's Office of the Chief Scientist. Previous lectures from Dr. Howard had included topics such as ocean acidification and the cooling of Antarctica, but today he reflected more on his career to give us an idea of the bigger forces that direct decision making surrounding environmental issues. After his talk, Dr. Howard answered our multitude of questions, probing issues of civic engagement and stakeholdership in the face of the jargon with which most citizens are met today. The talk helped to widen our scope for a moment, allowing us to remember some of the greater issues of our time, and reminding many of us of what drew us to our current studies here at SEA. It was a bittersweet farewell to say goodbye to Dr. Howard and to his son, one of my watch-mates, Ben, but we were happy nonetheless to have had the time that they shared with us.
Other than our morning lecture, today was somewhat of a day off for most. Being our last day on land for the next two weeks, many took advantage of the situation to visit a local laundromat, for a well-deserved clothes-washing. Others took the time to learn the names of the various working ropes on the ship, known as "lines", in preparation for an upcoming quiz. I, along with my classmates Eliza, Adam, and our Professor, Jeff Wescott took a ferry across the bay to the small town of Russell to visit a small museum. While our examination of the museum proved to be less than fruitful in terms of gathering research information, we enjoyed our time exploring the town, which was surprisingly charming given its past nickname "the hell-hole of the Pacific", due to the rampant crime that thrived there during the early 19th century.
After waiting out a particularly torrential downpour, we jumped aboard the next ferry to Paihia, where we grabbed some dinner and took advantage of wifi, so as to momentarily reconnect with the outside world before heading back to the ship. The entire SEA experience has seemed so surreal thus far that sometimes it is hard to believe that we are living in the same world that we left in the U.S. Tomorrow marks the beginning of the longest leg of our journey, who knows what it will hold in store for us.
- Duncan Jackson, C Watch, University of Oregon