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, 2014
S251 Weblog 20 February 2014
09° 56.1’S x 139° 06.8’W
Course and Speed
Anchored at Tahuata
Remain anchored until later this evening
Very calm, minimal cloud cover and a light breeze
After our first full day in Tahuata, we were able to visit the town of Vaitahu to experience the island’s rich local culture for ourselves last night. The locals had prepared a massive feast for us, including poisson cru, coconut bread, goat meat, and a variety of other Marquesan specialties. We also had the privilege of watching some school children from the town perform traditional cultural songs and dances and were even able to learn a couple of our own. For me, this was by the far the most immersive connection we have had the opportunity to make with another community and I will continue to cherish this meaningful experience in the future.
Today, we returned to the school to meet the mayor, Felix, and discuss his stance on a series of topics related to our research projects, such as illegal foreign fishing, rising sea levels associated with climate change, agricultural practices, and cultural identity. As a thank you for our gracious welcome to Tahuata, we gave the school a collection of samples we had taken from our oceanography studies, which included small shrimp, siphonophore jellyfish, and a squid. In exchange, each of us was given a beautiful necklace featuring pearls, sea urchin barbs, and gorgeous shells.
After our meeting in the schoolhouse, Felix took us to the town’s church, which was a gift from Nuku Hiva. The structure was magnificent, featuring a stunning central piece of stained glass and open-air walls.
The weather in Tahuata has been very calm and comfortable since we arrived and I will be sad to say goodbye to this beautiful and secluded portion of French Polynesia. The people of Vaitahu have been so accommodating and hospitable, making it even more difficult to leave. However, we will be departing for Fatu Hiva later this evening, which will surely have its own unique wonders to offer.