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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

March 06, 2018

Rambunctious Reindeer Receive Respite and Rejoice

Claudia Davis, C Watch, Brandeis University


Nick and Merlin, our fearless first assistant scientist and assistant engineer rescue injured baby dolphins with ease in the midst of the already high demands of bringing the ship to the dock

Ship's Log

Current Position
41 17.1 ’ S x 174 46.8 ’ E

Ship’s Heading & Speed
Docked in Wellington

Overcast with occasional light rains. Winds of force 5 and calm seas coming from the Southwest.

Souls on board

It's been a busy day that started bright and early for the Robert C. Seamans as we've made our way across the Cook Strait from anchorage in Point Underwood to the long-awaited port of Wellington. When we departed Opua for this leg fourteen days ago-two weeks that were somehow both long and lightning fast-we were given a guiding analogy of the caribou and the reindeer by our captain. One might be interested to learn that reindeer and caribou are in fact the same species, the only difference being that reindeer are domesticated. We could all understand the expectation that we do our best to tone down any caribou tendencies but for many of us the tall order of the tall ship was almost too distracting to throw an analogy in the mix.

This morning I came up on deck to find my classmates running the ship like a well-oiled sleigh: steering at the helm, coiling dock lines, navigating our course, and sorting out morning chores. Tasks and commands that once required the constant supervision of a crew member or reference to a laminated instruction sheet were being performed with ease and confidence. Eventually everyone was outside with the students on duty as we motored into the harbor to watch the events unfold. First there were just a few hazy hills in the distance, then huge islands dotted only with green, yellow, and the occasional lighthouse. Finally we found ourselves surrounded by homes, skyscrapers, cars, and even planes, our first promises of human existence outside of the ship that we'd left behind in Opua. Excitement was building as we neared the docks and students shared their laundry list of ambitions for the brief time on shore. Some literally doing laundry, others, shopping, eating, dancing, walking, screaming , or all of the above. Our caribou was starting to show but we kept it together long enough to see the docking through, tying up the ship and preparing our gangway.

By midday we were finally set free to roam Wellington like the wild animals we are. After only seeing and speaking to the same 40 people and walking no farther than 100 ft at a time, I expected to start my visit to Wellington with some solo time and a long hike but instead I romped around the city gradually running into and collecting other Seamans folk until we all ended up doing karaoke before rushing back to make curfew. The nice thing about reindeer is that they get along well and they make a good team. Sometimes being a caribou is tempting but the truth is I love being a reindeer and I think I'd like to stay that way if it means these people are part of the deal (even if sometimes they eat all the peanut butter.) After all, reindeer have the best job in the world. Maybe second.

- Claudia Davis, C Watch, Brandeis University

Categories: Robert C. Seamans,The Global Ocean: New Zealand, • Topics: s277  study abroad • (3) 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 Mary Meyers on March 07, 2018

Enjoyed your commentary. Great to read and track your adventure. Love you lots. GM

#2. Posted by Amy Young on March 07, 2018

Thanks for allowing us parents this vicarious experience! Here’s to the caribou and the reindeer, the karaoke and the peanut butter (Eliza, did you eat the last of the peanut butter?)

#3. Posted by Elizabeth Davis on March 08, 2018

So good to hear about all these experiences! Glad everyone is well. “Reindeer” reminds me that we managed to get the outside Christmas lights down last weekend. Whoever put them up is a real comedian. Much love to you and hope you all have a safe rest of the journey.



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