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.
SEA Currents: SSV Robert C. Seamans
We’ve Made a Friend or Two
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13° 17.14’ S X 176° 10.13’ W (Port in Wallis)
Course and Speed
Set sail for Fiji tomorrow afternoon. This is very dependent on the weather to come.
Sustained winds of approx. 25 knots from the east.
As this blog's title suggests, we have certainly made a friend or two in our travels. It all started on the plane ride to American Samoa, where many people were headed to visit family. I remember being exhausted and staring blankly into space when a man looked at me with a toothy grin said "Hey man, be excited! We are all headed to American Samoa!" At this point I snapped out of my trance and knew we were headed to a different place. Needless to say, the flight to American Samoa was much chattier than the absolutely silent plane ride from Boston to Los Angeles.
So we arrived in Pago Pago, American Samoa. We met our crew and settled in. Students from the local university visited the boat, and we shared our worlds with each other. Football was a big topic, along with the environment and how to properly wear/put on a Lava Lava, a traditional piece of Polynesian clothing like a sarong. The quarterdeck of the Seamans was a lively place that night!
After leaving Pago Pago and arriving in Apia, Samoa, everyone got the chance to explore the city. Mike and I, both being rugby players and researching rugby in Samoa, were drawn to the rugby culture that existed in the city. It seemed as if every other person we met was wearing a rugby jersey or some sort of adornment relating to Manu Samoa, the Samoan National team. We hoped to get our fix of rugby culture on the island. In fact, we spent an entire morning traveling around in search of a match or anything rugby. We found no matches, but we did find the empty headquarters of Manu Samoa, and the national rugby stadium. The Rugby World Cup is going on in England right now, so expecting to meet players, coaches, or administration, would be like going to Heinz Field and trying to meet the Pittsburgh Steelers during the Super Bowl (Yes, I doubt they will make it to the Super Bowl this year. I'm reminded of this by the Patriots fans on board).
The next day our prayers were answered! We got to play some rugby! Everyone met the crew of the Gaualofa, a traditional Samoan sailing canoe. After sailing with them, I was invited by the crew to come play a game of touch rugby. Apparently touch rugby in Samoa is equivalent to a company softball team in the states. So I told Mike and the rest of the people hanging out on the boat to get their running shoes on. A solid game face was also suggested. Captain Sean, Ben, Sadie, Avi, Adrienne, Mike, and myself left the boat to have a friendly game. Word got around to other students, the mates, and scientists, and next thing you know just about everyone joined us on the field. Not only did we get our rugby, but we made some friends doing it. I am proud to say my team won. Way to go, guys!
So now the ship is in Wallis. Upon our arrival the streets were totally empty. It looked as if people dropped what they were doing and quickly left their homes. However, they were very much home. The people of Wallis were preparing for one of their most important events in their children's lives-First Communion. So today about a dozen of us went to the church right across the way for a mass and to witness this important event. Everyone was well dressed and proud to announce that their young family member was finally participating in communion. What a cool event! Shortly after the service, we were invited by a woman named Tickey (Pronounced Tikki) to join in the post communion festivities. She will be picking Amanda, Kelvin, Sharthak, Chris, and myself up tonight at 18:30. It looks like we will get to meet some people after all!
See you when I see you,
A special shout-out to the crew back at school (especially the boys at Phi Psi Penn Eta and the Men's and Women's Rugby Teams) and my awesome family. Yes, Mom and Dad, I'm safe and having the time of my life. Love you guys very much!