Ready for an adventure with a purpose? Request info »
  • Search SEA Semester, Summer and High School Programs
  • View SEA Semester campus visit calendar

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, 2018

Successful First Sailing Leg to the Bay of Islands

Jessica Duong, B Watch, Trinity College


S-277 admiring the intricate craftsmanship of Ngātokimatawhaorua, the world’s largest ceremonial canoe.

Ship's Log

Current Position
35° 18.719’S x 174° 07.272’E; Opua, NZ

Ship’s Heading & Speed
Docked at Opua

Sunny, clouds 4/8, Winds N, Force 3

Souls on board

Over this past weekend we completed our first sailing leg of the trip, navigating northwest of Auckland towards the Bay of Islands. Working in a six hours on watch and 12 hours off watch schedule, we gained introductory experience in various watch duties (boat checks, lookout, steering at the helm). While we motored for the first portion of our voyage, we eventually turned off the engine and set the four lower sails (jib, fore stays’l, main stays’l, mains’l) to truly sail the Seamans. Along the course, we performed gybes to change the direction of the boat and deployed buckets and the Neuston net for science data collection too.

After sailing for about 44 hours, we arrived at Opua in the Bay of Islands on Sunday around 1000. Being at port again, we shifted back to a schedule with more down time and various landed outings.

Of note, today, we took a ferry northward to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds. In 1840, the Treaty of Waitangi was signed at the grounds between British Pākeha (European settlers) and Māori chiefs, establishing New Zealand as a nation. While the document was crucial to the founding of New Zealand, issues with its translation led to resulting clashes between Pākeha and Māori, and Waitangi continues to be controversial to this day.

Nevertheless, the grounds seemed to depict a united front between Pākeha and Māori, combining both European and Māori elements to illustrate New Zealand culture and history. On top of that, the grounds showcases Ngātokimatawhaorua, a Māori ceremonial canoe constructed in the late 1930s to commemorate New Zealand’s centennial, as well as an hourly Māori cultural performance in a Te Whare Rūnanga (carved meetinghouse). Jury is out as to whether this proves good relations between all Māori and non-Māori folks of New Zealand, but at the very least it shows strides towards greater justness.

Following the mid-morning visit at Waitangi, we had the rest of the day free to explore neighboring towns and beaches. For myself and many others, this entailed walking from Paihia back to Opua, a 6 km trek along the scenic coastline. The trail meandered along numerous bays as well as up towards picturesque lookouts, allowing the chance to both wade in the cool marina water and to trek through the tropical landscape. In the evening, our visiting scientist and SEA alum Will Howard gave a lecture on southern ocean water circulation and its cooling effects on New Zealand weather. Almost prophetically, by the end of the evening, stronger winds and rain clouds blew into our port area. Knowing that Plan A is never a guarantee on a weather-dependent voyage, it’s a good thing we brought our foul weather

- Jessica Duong, B Watch, Trinity College

Categories: Robert C. Seamans,The Global Ocean: New Zealand, • Topics: study abroad  s277 • (0) Comments
Previous entry: Kiwi weather guru visits Seamans    Next entry: Last Day in Opua


Leave a public comment for students and crew to read when they reach their next port and have access to the internet!



Add a comment:

Notify me of follow-­up comments?

I would like SEA to keep me informed about news and opportunities.