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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

September 27, 2014

The Hokulea

Mara Scallon, C Watch, Northeastern University


Above: The canoe and its rowers after we disembarked. Photo credit to Susie. Below: L to R: Holly and Susie pose with the captain of the racing canoe in the middle of our ride. He was very excited to have us on board and kept whistling at his rowers to pick up the pace to impress us. (It worked.)

Ship's Log

Current Position
14° 16.476’S x 170°41.600’W

Course & Speed
Docked in Pago Pago

Sail Plan
Continue to dock until 28 September

Cloudy and sunny throughout the day. Humid. (Tropical, in other words.)

Today was our first full day aboard the Robert C. Seamans and all of us were excited, though some were grumbling through the 0600 wakeup this morning.

To begin the day, we walked over to the Hokulea boat and spoke with the crew of the vessel. The boat is a modern-day version of traditional Polynesian navigation canoes used to explore Pacific Islands. What makes the Hokulea so unique is the fact that it is navigated using traditional Polynesian techniques and no modern-day technology. They are in the middle of a 3 year world tour, so we were lucky to catch them in a port stop.

Next we ventured out to the National Marine Sanctuary Sunia Ocean Center to hear about the great work they do in engaging American Samoans in ocean conservation. After this, we headed to a nearby park where some sort of huge public fair was happening, complete with live music, BBQ fish, and raffled barrels of cheese puffs. But one of the best finds at the fair was a traditional racing canoe. A few of the students were told to try getting a ride on it, since this was the only time non-racers are allowed in the canoe. That was all the encouragement that Holly, Susie, and I needed and we sprinted off down the beach and clambered into the canoe. The racers immediately took off and we began talking with the captain of the canoe and a very friendly woman sitting near us. She kept telling us how lucky we were to have this opportunity since she has lived on American Samoa her whole life and she has never ridden in this canoe before today.


Though we recognized this, by the end of the day, we really came to realize that the friendliness of the people was what made today so remarkable both for my group, and the rest of my peers who had explored the fair and surrounding area on their own. We found the canoe ride fun but the good nature of the people in the canoe had us laughing the whole time. We found our post-canoe milkshakes refreshing, but it was talking to some Mormon missionaries in line that made the experience so unique. Once back on the boat, many of us swapped stories that revolved around the kindness of the people we had met; I feel fortunate that the wonderful people are not limited to American Samoans but can also be found among my shipmates and crew members. I’‘m excited to see what the rest of this trip can show about the people of this region, and the people of this ship. For now, though, there is a lot of excitement for tomorrow we set sail!

- Mara

Previous entry: Safely Aboard    Next entry: Departing American Samoa


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