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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

October 20, 2014

Research in Fiji

Rebeca Murillo, A Watch, Boston University

Above: Downtime on the ship. Music time with Ray, Susie, Moohono and Hatesta, our visiting faculty, Holly, Bryn and Yaz. Below: Students Mara, Susie, Faculty Hatesa and Moohono have a discussion with our guide in Futuna.

Ship's Log

Current Position
18° 07.9’S X 178° 25.6’E

Course and Speed
Docked in Suva, Fiji

Sail Plan

Hot with evening rain

For the last three, almost four weeks the students aboard the Robert C. Seamans have been busy learning the language of sailing, getting use to standing watch and becoming accustomed to ship life. In addition, we have been working on student projects because after all this is a sailing school vessel (although sometimes we forget). Usually all we want to do when we first dock at a new island is explore every foreign inch, yet time has to be set aside to find individuals who will answer our burning questions about all sorts of subjects. From Troca shells to sharks and religion to traditional artifacts, our interest range is broad. So venturing off with a buddy to find helpful locals has been a part of this experience.

In Samoa we had many planned group activities where we were given ample opportunities to ask lots of questions and get tons of information about our specific interests. Since not all of us are writing our papers on the same island, some of us hadn’t started looking into things until we arrived in Fiji yesterday. I, for example, am interested in Fiji fisheries, so while I bid my friends farewell and they ventured off to see some of Fiji’s natural beauty, I grabbed a willing buddy and set off to find the Department of Fisheries in Suva. It was about a 20 minute walk uphill, but the most difficult part didn’t come until we arrived and were ushered around to different people while they tried to find us the person that would best cater our needs. That person was out of town. But not to worry because another willing individual could be found a short taxi ride away. After that quick ride, we came to find the second individual that could help us was not in today, so finally the third individual was willing to sit and talk to us for over an hour answering all my questions. She was happy to be helping us and excited that we were interested in her work in Fiji, as we were excited and happy to talk to her.
Research can be a tricky thing. Some students have had mangrove experts emerge from trees to talk to them (true story) and others have traveled all the way here but the church they wanted to visit was under construction and closed (also a true story). At times it can feel overwhelming to try and capture all the angles of information we are given and many of us are realizing that no matter how much material we gather, we are simply scratching the surface of all the secrets these islands have to share with us. This experience has only begun to open our eyes to all the culture and ecosystems that live thousands of miles from us.

Rebeca Murillo, A Watch
Boston University

P.S: Sending lots of love to Dad, Jose, Ale, Brian, and especially you, Mom, hope you have the best birthday today!  Shout out to all my friends reading this; hope you don’t miss me too much. Y un gran abrazo a todos en Costa Rica, los quiero mucho!

Shout out from Bryn: Happy Birthday Mom! I love you and miss you.

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