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 19, 2014
S251 Weblog 20 February 2014
Vaitahu Bay, Tahuata
Course and Speed
Hot and humid, with a light breeze and little cloud cover
On the night of the 18th, the Robert C. Seamans motored quietly into Vaitahu Bay besides the main village on the island of Tahuata. Amid the inky darkness we could faintly see the outline of mountainous peaks looming above us. The light of the next morning gave way to our sight of the landscape, rising well over 1,000 meters in some places with scatterings of palm trees, sandalwood and foraging goats. With this new day we were greeted with a very hectic yet very exciting schedule. It began with 13 educators from across the archipelago of the Marquesas joining us on board for a day sail filled with scientific demonstrations. Students and crew alike were greeted with gifts of flowers and a traditional welcome song from our guests. After a quick round of introductions, we hoisted the anchor and set out.
Once we were significantly off shore, a group of students and scientists demonstrated several of the common deployments that we carry out here on the Seamans. This included a phytoplankton tow, a hydrocast and a Neuston net tow. It was our goal as a shipboard community to share with these educators the knowledge that we gather about the ocean environment that surrounds them. After completing our deployments the ship quickly returned to anchorage where every enjoyed a satisfying lunchtime.
Our afternoon would be just as busy, with over 20 elementary aged kids joining our ranks to take part in a variety of activities on board. Before they arrived, the visiting educators allowed students time to ask questions pertaining to our individual research projects. As always, the locals proved to be valuable resources on a wide variety of subjects. Before the arrival of the children, we were taught a traditional Marquesan song that we would perform as a group. The song, accompanied by an age-old dance, told the story of a bird soaring above the sea searching for a fish to eat. The dance was equally informative as the song, which shared the bird’s process of diving for a beautiful fish and finally capturing it.
Once aboard, the children were treated to a variety of activities with their student guides that included knot tying and creating beautiful fish-shaped crafts made from palm fronds. As a gift, we presented the kids and their teachers with a variety of samples that lab students had collected on our voyage to the Marquesas. The collection, which included everything from pyrosomes to crab megalops and even cuttlefish, will hopefully give their community a better understanding about the dynamics of this incredible environment which their island is a part of. It is truly such a blessing to be able to share our discoveries in such a meaningful way. Tonight, they whole village will be welcoming us ashore for a great dinner. The kindness and hospitality of Polynesia is never ending. I better go put on my cleanest clothes!
Sending all my love back home to my family/friends on Cape Cod and everywhere in between! Keep working hard Amanda!