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SEA Currents Blog

SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans

October 09, 2017

A Sailor’s Life For Me

Amanda Carreau, A Watch, UMass Amherst


Absorbing the whales and rainbows on the bowsprit (Order from front to back: Alessandra, Amanda, Hodge)

Current Position
Near Uloeva Island in the Ha’apai Group, Tonga

Ship’s Heading & Speed
Sailing 6 knots in a direction per captain’s orders due to anchoring

Clear, cumulus clouds with Force 4 Easterly winds

Souls on Board

SEA Stories Podcast


Days passed on the trip..the crew began to worry that no whales would be found before the breading season came to a end. As we sailed through the many islands of Tonga, a crew member spotted the blowing of a whale dead ahead! All the crew gathered on deck to spot it, and all around the ship, near and far, whales we appearing. Every time one was spotted, I would point in its direction and yell, "THAR SHE BLOOOWWSS!!!!" After a while, the captain laughed, but nothing could stop me from feeling the TERRIFIC excitement. To make sure we did not disturb the whales, we silenced the motor. After the excitement began to slow, we deployed a hydrophone to listen to the sounds of the ocean. The first time we did it, all of those on deck, even myself, thought we heard whales. After comparing it to yesterday, the whale sounds were most definitely coming from the ship, and we were all quite embarrassed.

That day it drizzled and a giant rainbow appeared. It had always been a dream of mine to be at the end of a rainbow, and low and behold, we were (*tear*). SSV Robert C. Seamans was no more than four meters away from the end of a rainbow, and whales were breaching and blowing all around. Laying on the bowsprit, my mates and I (Alessandra, Katie, Hodge, Graeme) stared at the endless water in awe when a crew member shouted, "Is everyone wearing sunscreen!?!" Katie-jokingly!!--whispered in response, "Whales are more important than my skin."

Today, we anchored nearby the Ha'apai Island group and went snorkeling around a nearby coral reef; we are indeed spoiled. We even got to jump off the ship into the water! The Seamans is not equipped with a plank, so we chose to jump off the next best thing, the bowsprit! It was satisfying to finally be on the bowsprit without my harness, and my dreams of jumping off finally came true. I was never able to jump off of high dives, so I had to muster courage in order to jump off of the bowsprit, but I did it for my shipmates (honestly, mostly for myself because how could I sail on this ship and not jump!). This all happened as a mahi mahi tail was tied to the end of the bowsprit. This is because it is good luck for a ship, if they have caught a fish, to tie it off the forward bowsprit and have it eventually fall back into the sea.

Once we began to sail and the anchor was brought up, I went into the lab when we got a call to go to the starboard beam because there was a whale but 15 feet away from us! Luckily I saw it, and it was magical.

Life aboard the Seamans is extraordinarily thrilling. We eat on tables that move (technically stay in the same place as we move), we get to say things like, "2, 6!" and "heave!" every time we pull on lines, and we also get to watch the ship move with the stars. The night sky is incredible and the moon is so bright. Seeing a new part of the sky is terrific, and I think Scorpio might be my new favorite constellation. Meeting locals and eating new foods on top of the sailing experience makes all the hard moments and rough hands so worthwhile.

Thank you for reading my post, I hope you enjoyed it. I would like you to know that we are all doing okay and we miss you every second and wish you could be here with us to experience life on the Seamans!

- Amanda

Previous entry: A full day in Vava’u    Next entry: Smooth Sailing


#1. Posted by Peg Riley on October 24, 2017

Amanda - we are sooooooo excited to hear about your adventures. Miss you - have loads of fun and see you when you return to our, peg



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