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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

February 20, 2018

Last Day in Opua

Duncan Jackson, C Watch, University of Oregon


Nate capturing a picturesque shot of the Bay of Islands

Ship's Log

Current Position
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

Souls on board

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

Categories: Robert C. Seamans,The Global Ocean: New Zealand, • Topics: study abroad  s277 • (2) 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 Duncan on February 23, 2018

What an eloquent and wonderful blog entry! I hope you are keeping a journal of all these magnificent experiences!

#2. Posted by Duncan Jackson on March 05, 2018

Love checking out the daily blogs from the good ship Bobby Seaman, which bring back memories of my own days at sea sixty years ago on a destroyer escort with the U.S. Navy.  It was a bit different:  North Atlantic storms vs South Pacific tropical cyclones, dropping depth charges over the side vs scientific instruments, and Scandinavian ports-of-call vs Kiwi but the thrills of sailing the great oceans (and losing your cookies over the lee rail) is no different.  Hope the rest of your cruise goes well and we wish you fair winds and following seas.  Papa (and Nana)



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