SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans
December 19, 2016
Almost to Auckland
Anchored in Waiti Bay
We spent the night settled in a quiet anchorage in Waiti Bay, on the south east edge of Waiheke Island, the northern limit of Waiheke channel. With four shots of chain out on the port anchor and a mild breeze from the Northwest, we all slept soundly while those who stood anchor watch on deck kept an eye the ship.
With the sunrise, all hands turned-to at 0800, to begin this voyages final field day. Alas, cleaning is an endless task aboard our little ship. But we make the most of it, and once a week we roll up our sleeves and get the grit out of the most hard to reach corners. Removing ladders, vents and fans, we worked well to clean our floating home.
Around 1130 we finished with our deep clean, and then set up the ladder over the side for a swim call. Indeed our coldest dip yet. The crew has certainly had a wide range of swim calls, from the subtropics and open ocean by the Kermadecs to the chill waters off the North shore of New Zealand.
Today for class, our volunteer deckhands present their projects. They began their presentations in the fresh air of the Quarter Deck, but it began to rain, so the ships company moved below into the salon, out of the rain. Alas, someone always must stand the watch, so I remained on the deck, as the mild rain pelted down. With slight gusts, the ship held well and secure. I spent my time admiring the green hilly countryside, and trying to count the white specks of sheep on the hill side.
Being led by C Watch's Jr. Watch Officer, Marcel, we put our final harbour furl into the square'sls. Which requires several hands aloft shaping the canvass to a fine shape and a hand on deck tending lines. After the furls, Marcel had the watch pull out the fire hoses and we blasted water into the scuppers to clean out six weeks of dust and dirt that we've accumulated aboard. Everyone on deck was giddy with the fire hoses, spraying them about and misting their ship mates.
Tomorrow we will make way to Waitemata Harbour across way from Auckland. With 27nm to go, the watches will return to their original watch officer, and each watch will con the ship for a total of 9nm before the oncoming watch relieves them. Navigating back into the busy waters of Auckland will be a test of the skills and leadership they've learned throughout the voyage.
Soon the students will return to land and the land lives they've traded for the sea. There will be a period of adjustment, shock and mixed emotions. And I know, that from these short six weeks, their lives will be forever changed, they will depart this ship, keen, surefooted and confident, knowing that they have within them the ability to do what needs to be done and surely they will never look at the water the same.