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SEA Currents: SSV Robert C. Seamans
March 09, 2018
Queens Wharf, Wellington NZ
Ship’s Heading & Speed
No direction, 0 knots
Sunnier, with a chance of sporadic rain
Another day in port, another adventure. After our usual port routine of breakfast and chores, we took a class trip down to NIWA (National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research), which is pretty much the New Zealand equivalent of NOAA. They are a government-owned research institute that does extensive research on freshwater and marine resources as well as the climate, a combination which they explained fits into taihoro nukurangi, or 'where the sky meets the sea'. After getting an overview of all the work they do, we heard presentations from various researchers on more specific projects--everything from tagging blue whales to track their movements across the ocean, to learning about underwater gliders and sea shelfs, to drawing diagrams to learn about marine food webs research. During our lunch break students either talked further with the researchers, or fruitlessly sat near the water in the hope of seeing penguins, as there was a nesting area nearby.
Afterwards we got tours through sections of the buildings; looking at labs that conduct research on ice cores & greenhouse gases and a large storage facility with top notch marine equipment, some of which we were familiar with on the Bobby C. like the CTDs, but I would say the highlight of NIWA was their Invertebrate Collection. I could have spent a good chunk of time there--stacks and stacks of marine species organized in a way reminiscent of shelves in a library. We got to see a well-preserved isopod, starfish, crabs, and lots of other cool creatures there, but that was only a small chunk of their some 300,000 jars of species.
Our time at NIWA definitely gave me insight as to how extensive their work is and it was great to learn all about special projects they'd done, but during port stops it's also important to go explore and see all of what the city has to offer. For Jess and I, that included checking out Wellington's Night Market, which happens every Friday (at night of course). The night market consisted of lots of food stands and a few art stalls, as well as an abundance of street performers. We enjoyed the hilarity of a basketballing unicyclist, heard the great voice of an amazing singer and guitarist, and finally a round of classic banjo music. Free entertainment, Thai street food & sea salt caramel ice cream, and good conversation made for another great day in Wellington. Though we have an additional day here, it's crazy to think that we're more than halfway through the sea component and won't be on the ship, or in NZ, much longer. Everyone is definitely trying to make the most of it all, whether we're at land or at sea.
- Lindsay Brubaker, B Watch, Oberlin College
To my family: make sure the cats know I can't bring them back fish souvenirs, and that Liam can't have my room just yet!
To Andrew: happy (almost) anniversary, see you soon!