SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans
April 01, 2015
An Unexpected Adventure (and Happy April Fools!)
43° 56.7’S x 176° 33.4’E
Course & Speed
Anchored at Waitangi Harbor
Gusts and Sunshine!
There’s something special about lying in the grass knowing you won’t see it for another three and a half weeks or so. Sitting in the middle of a stunning landscape of rolling hills, soaking up the sunshine and, more importantly, experiencing correct inner ear alignment, really gave me an appreciation for land – for solid ground – that I didn’t have before. This is especially true when that land is the bizarre yet mesmerizing terrain of the Chatham Islands. I’m not sure any of us knew what a treat we were in for; no one here had ever been to the main Chatham Island (except for our Visiting Scholar Sophie Fern), and almost all of our planned excursions came together at the last minute. But wow were they incredible!
Today we were fortunate enough to not only receive a tour of one of the Moriori maraes (meeting houses) on the island but also see some beautiful Moriori stone carvings. We learned of the Moriori values of peace, sharing and unity – an exceedingly rare set of central covenants. As part of their tradition, when boys came of age, they were to physically put their hands on the group’s weapons and commit to never using them to take another human life. In fact, when the Moriori’s survival was threatened, instead of fighting back, they chose to stick to their covenants of peace and nonviolence instead of keeping the people and culture alive. I found this striking, that a past commitment was given priority over future survival, but a covenant is a covenant for a reason, and the peaceful Moriori have yet to break theirs. Even their curving and intricate stone carvings seem to convey their central values.
However, it’s hard not to feel at peace when strolling through Chatham Island. Never in my life have I seen hills roll the way they do here, with coastline all around and a plethora of gentle animal and plant life. The grass is warm, the breeze is soft, the leaves rustle, the waves whisper, and the whole island begs you to stop and smell the flowers (which I did – their fragrance was out of this world!). My time on this strange island has undoubtedly been on the opposite end of the spectrum than being at sea has been: one is bright green, warm, and slow, the other is deep blue, chilly and rough. Yet neither one is better than the other; they work together to create a balance. And besides, I’ve spent way more time on land in my life than I have at sea, and even three to four straight weeks at sea won’t even come close to helping me break even! So it goes, time to go back to sea and seek some more balance and peace. Shout out to the HM’s, la Miga, and The One. Love you all. Worth it!