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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

December 07, 2015

Mola Mola

Sarah Baker, A-Watch, College of William & Mary

The Global Ocean: New Zealand

That tiny black fin is totally a mola mola in all its lazy glory.

Ship's Log

Noon Position
34° 58.2’S x 173° 49.4’E

Description of location
just north of Whangaroa

Ship Heading
055°

Taffrail Log
857.7 nm

Weather
rain

Souls on Board

To family, friends, and any and all other readers – Hello from Mama Seamans!

Today we left our most recent port stop of Whangaroa a little more sunburned and scratched up than when we arrived. We’ve spent the last few days getting some much needed R&R, whether it was hiking through underbrush where there may or may not have been a trail, or spending a day on the beach. I know a lot of people are a little sad to go. Part of that is because Whangaroa was so incredible. It was, in the wise words of Sara, “stupid pretty.” If you picture Jurassic Park, it looks like that (dinosaurs included, obviously). And it was nice to have a break from academics and the watch schedule, and to just have some time to relax. The other reason people are a little sad to leave is that we’re now starting our first leg without Travis. I know a previous blog post talked about this, but we all miss him greatly, and will for the rest of the voyage.

That being said, we’re all still really excited about getting back to sea, and to start the next leg of our journey. Next stop – Napier (not Gisborne, it was changed in the past week because of some sketchy looking weather
around Gisborne). For me, leaving was especially cool because it was my turn in the engine room. When we left Russell, A- watch was on duty so I got to see the deck side of preparing to leave port. Today A-watch was again on duty, but I got to see the engineering side of leaving port. I even got to start the main engine! It’s surprisingly similar to starting a car. You turn a key and press a button. It’s basically impossible to mess it up, and yet the whole time I was so afraid of doing it wrong and making the ship explode or something. Totally irrational and impossible. But still, I was sure there was some way I could mess it up.

Now, some of you may be wondering about the title of this post. Mola mola. What the heck is a mola mola? Well, it is the largest bony fish in the ocean, sometimes growing up to 1.5 tons! And it’s also one of the laziest fish. Seriously, they spend all their time either eating jellies that drift to them, or sunbathing on the surface of the water. They have actually evolved to be as efficiently lazy as possible. And it’s awesome! And today as we were leaving Whangaroa, we saw around 6 of them just floating in a clump, basking in whatever sunlight made it through the rainclouds. We got so excited by this sighting that we turned the ship around to go back and look at them.

Why were we so excited by the mola molas? Here’s a quick bit of background info. We saw one sunbathing a few weeks ago, and Faye, Tuna, and myself did a Creature Feature (daily science presentations on cool animals we’ve encountered) on the mola mola. In the form of a rap. To the tune of the Air New Zealand in-flight safety video (find it on YouTube, it’s the Men In Black themed one). And since then, “mola mola” has kind of become a kind of catchphrase on the ship. Then on our way into Whangaroa we thought we saw another mola mola, and were actually a little disappointed when it turned out to be a shark. Yes, we were disappointed by a shark sighting. And today we saw 6 molas! And one of them leaped out of the water like a derpy, uncoordinated dolphin! Needless to say everyone on board was a more than a little (too?) excited.

That’s all for now folks,
Sarah

Categories: Robert C. Seamans,The Global Ocean: New Zealand, • Topics: s263  megafauna • (0) Comments
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