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SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans

October 03, 2018

Arriving in Tonga

Cameron Chertavian, B Watch, Bowdoin College


Our First View of Tonga.

Current Position
Port of Vava’u, Tonga

Ship’s Heading & Speed

Winds ENE, harbor conditions calm

Souls on board

Late on Tuesday night, B watch (my very own watch, winners of the previous day's line chase competition) made an exciting sighting: land! After five days at sea, we finally spotted our first destination: Vava'u, Tonga. I had served as assistant steward the day before and had abbreviated night watch because of it, meaning that I was sound asleep for the call of "Land ho!" but awoke the next morning to the sight of Tonga. The morning watch, A watch, was "hove to" because we could not dock until later in the day, so I got to spend the morning reading on the top deck and enjoying the view of the beautiful coastline. Before heading into Tonga, we lowered the hydrocast carousel and conducted a Neuston tow to collect scientific data in the waters off the Tongan coast.

Soon enough we were back underway and headed into port. B watch was on duty as we sailed in, but all members of the crew helped out to get the Seamans ready for docking and a visit from Tongan customs. As we handled sail, prepared fenders and generally readied the ship, it became clear how much we had learned in the previous week. Far from being novices, our class had solidly learned the basics of sailing a tall ship, and were eager for opportunities to showcase our new skills.

Much of our midday was spent spiffing up the ship in port and awaiting the "ok" from Tongan customs officals. After we got approved for entry, our captain and chief anthropologist gave us a briefing on the island. We were taught how to say hello ("Malo e lelei") and thank you ("Malo 'aupito") in native Tongan, and reminded that Tonga is a culturally conservative country and we must cover our shoulders and knees while walking around in town. We also got a rundown of the schedule of next few days, which involves a talk with VEPA (a local environmental protection group), a beach cleanup, and a reef survey by snorkel!! After this, the crew allowed us to leave the Seamans and explore the small port town of Neiafu (as long as our watch was not on duty to look after the ship).

Along with fellow members of my watch, I headed into Neiafu to explore and grab dinner. The town was small and very friendly, and as we perused t-shirt shops and local craftwork stores we got a lot of friendly smiles from local Tongans. We decided to have dinner down by the bay at the Mango Cafe, and enjoyed our first meal off the ship to the brilliant backdrop of a Tongan sunset.

Lots of love to family and friends in Massachusetts and Maine, excited to see you soon!!

- Cameron Chertavian, B Watch, Bowdoin College

Previous entry: Chasin’ Lines    Next entry: Pow-wow in Vava’u


#1. Posted by Jan Lavin on October 03, 2018

Hi Ryan,

Looks like your voyage so far has been very exciting. I am totally impressed with the updates the other students are giving online. It makes us feel like part of the group. Enjoy your time in Tonga. I will keep a watch on your progress. Have a great day and be safe.


#2. Posted by Ryan Lavin on October 03, 2018

Hey there my brother, I came over to the casa en Jarvis, and Im visiting with mom and nan to celebrate her birthday! Naturally I forgot her gift, I’ll get it to her by Christmas like we do!!!! I had no idea how much I would miss You! I am so excited for you, and cant wait to hear every detail!!!!! The ship sails!!!!!
Miss you, Love you, sending wicked vibes!im not sure if you have it, but my email address is : .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

#3. Posted by Ryan Lavin on October 04, 2018

How exciting all of this must be for you. Can’t wait to talk to you.  Still working on getting your phone back. Getting closer and closer everyday.  I do hope you have all your cell info backed up to your google acct. just in case.

Miss you lots.Everyone at home is great and looking forward to your return. Have fun, study hard. Hope to hear from you soon.

Lov you.  Mom

pss your car is safe at home.

#4. Posted by Kit Thompson on October 05, 2018

Hey Cuts,

It all sounds so fantastic. The stars must be amazing.  Hope you have your sea legs. All steady in the Western Hemisphere here. Gyl keeps finding me every morning for her bologna treats. Chew continues to hate having her hair cut and Happy killed another groundhog. It was like a comedy skit here last night. He brought the groundhog in and placed it in the small dog bed. I then put it outside and he followed. The next thing I know there he was again carrying it around the house. He came in through the kitchen door. Out he goes again just to turn around and find him in the living room proud as a peacock. Forgot to close the laundry room door. I battened down the hatch (a term you can relate to) and have yet to see his treasure again.  You can just imagine hearing my yells throughout the episode! 
I’m mistaken. Dad just told me he found it this morning in the study!!!
Thank goodness I didn’t discover it.
Loads of love
Dad says bon voyage and chewy misses playing with you.

#5. Posted by Callan White-HInman on October 07, 2018

Dear Lizzy,
The blog has been really exciting to experience.  Woke up this morning and realized that you are really making good time to Tonga.  I am thinking that you must have much better weather, and that your group has become adept at the skills of sailing, etc.  I hope the weather is beautiful and allowing you to enjoy glorious star-filled skies, and amazing sunrises and sunsets.  All is well at home.  AS YOU LIKE IT is going to be charming.  Really proud of the students. Buck is doing well, and Dad’s classes are going well.  Love you! 



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