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SEA Currents: SSV Robert C. Seamans
March 21, 2016
Seals, Penguins, and Little Critters!
Docked at Victoria Wharf, Dunedin, New Zealand
Clear, NW winds at 12 knots, 19 degrees
It is just our second full day in Dunedin, but I have already developed a new love for this city! We keep getting reminded by the locals that the weather is normally not 75 degrees and sunny and that we are just getting lucky, but it seems pretty perfect to me. We’ve had a very busy past 24 hours that have been full of visitors on the ship, an extensive all-day field trip, and storytelling from members of the Sense of Place class on deck.
Last night we had dinner with Dr. Hauiti Hakopa and other members of the Māori community in Dunedin who have all come together with the common goal of protecting the ocean and sharing the importance of it with the next generation. It just so happens that we overlap with a similar passion as members of the Robert C. Seamans. It was great to welcome them to our ship and share a meal and converse with these wonderful members of the community.
Today we woke up to some butter bombs and fresh fruit for breakfast! Butter bombs are essentially buttery muffins tossed in cinnamon sugar. It was a great start to the day to say the least, but things only got more exciting. We hopped on a bus and began a beautiful bus tour of Dunedin. There was water on one side of the bus and mountains on the other at all times. We arrived at the New Zealand Marine Studies Centre and took part in their citizen survey of the coast line. We counted snails, hundreds of green chiton, a few big crabs, and many spiny starfish. It was exciting to get our hands dirty in the field and pick up and identify critters of the New Zealand shore.
After eating lunch at an albatross nesting ground (no albatross siting today), we hopped back on the bus and continued our tour to the Penguin Place Reserve! We were told that we were not promised penguins, but we all had our fingers crossed that we would get lucky enough to see some. We learned after arriving that the birds we would be looking for, yellow eyed penguins, were endangered and only four pairs were seen on the penguin reserve nesting this past season. I was beginning to think that we might not see any of these penguins on this large reserve.
However, we did see penguins! We saw three penguins in fact! One of which was my penguin namesake, Maggie, who was with her mate Jim just a few yards away from us. Under the jungle-like trees and hot sun, penguins did not seem to fit in, but Jim and Maggie seemed very happy as we watched them quietly. We also saw penguins in the penguin hospital recovering from recent wounds and being nursed back to health. We also saw many seals out sun bathing on our hike around the reserve!
It was an exciting and informative field trip day! We arrived back to the ship in time for a pizza dinner and storytelling from a few of the students. Story time was amazing and I wish we had time to hear everyone’s story on the ship. The stories were about one’s sense of place, and it made me think how we will soon be leaving the ship, a place that has grown special in everyone’s heart. We finished the night with words from our Captain, reminding us that we sail out at 0800 tomorrow and it’s time to readjust back to being at sea for the last leg of our unforgettable voyage on the Bobby C!
P.S. Hi family! Miss you all so much!