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SEA Currents: SSV Robert C. Seamans

February 12, 2015

Underway!...and some serious science-ing

Conor Mook, B Watch, Williams College

The Global Ocean: New Zealand

Getting ready for our first class at sea

Ship's Log

At Anchor West of Motuihe Island, Huraki Gulf, New Zealand

36° 48.73’, 174° 55.932’

Partly Cloudy

Souls on Board

First and most importantly, Happy Birthday Mom!  Since we are one day ahead here you get two birthdays!  I hope you have a great day and that the snow isn’t piling up too much.

After another calm night of dock watch alongside Princes Wharf in Auckland, we at long last prepared to cast off and hit (somewhat) open water.  First in this preparation was a series of safety drills—the highlight of which was an opportunity to once again don our immersion suits (a.k.a. Gumby suits)—to make sure we all know what to do in the case of an emergency.  Don’t worry…we all did very well.  Following the successful completion of all our drills and a pretty spectacular steak ‘dilla (steak quesadilla) lunch, we were called to general quarters and began taking in our dock lines, hoping to quickly motor off of the wharf into Auckland Harbor.  Shifty winds and current made this process a complex one, but while Kiwis and cruise ship passengers gathered on the wharf to watch, we managed to fend ourselves off, pivot the ship, and reverse into the harbor.

It was then a peaceful trip upwind to our anchorage for the night, at the extreme easterly end of Auckland Harbor.  Along the way we began our Human Uses of Coastal Areas census with which we are tracking, as the survey suggests, the ways in which humans have exploited the coastline.  It was amazing to see the diversity of ways New Zealanders have used Auckland’s coast including container shipping facilities, military bases, parks, beaches, and recreational sailing facilities.  We also saw plenty of interesting boats including a retired America’s Cup boat, (outsailing us even as we motored!) a RO-RO ship, and New Zealand Royal Navy Vessels.

Upon arrival at Motuihe Island, anchor watches began immediately and were only interrupted by our first session of classes at sea.  I don’t think there could be any better setting for academics.  We sat in the sunshine on the quarter deck of the ship and talked with our professors about all the aspects of our academic program at sea.  With classes finished, we continued our watch schedule and enjoyed another spectacular meal. 

Another highlight of the day began promptly after dinner when our visiting professor, Adelle O’Neil, of Otago University, called us up to the quarterdeck for some science.  Using recycled plastic bottles and glow sticks we built rudimentary traps for plankton, which are now hanging over the side of the ship.  We will be checking them at 2100, so hopefully we have something interesting! 

We are all looking forward to finally getting the sails up tomorrow and heading out to sea!

- Conor

Categories: Robert C. Seamans,The Global Ocean: New Zealand, • Topics: s257  culture  science • (2) Comments
Previous entry: Auckland, City of Volcanoes    Next entry: A Day of Firsts


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

#1. Posted by Suzy on February 12, 2015

Thanks,Conor! Nothing beats a two day birthday in two hemispheres! Love, Mom

#2. Posted by Jen Mitchell on February 14, 2015

Happy birthday Jessie Freedman. I hope your birthday is as amazing as you are! I love you



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