SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans
Auckland, We’re Almost There.
Well I’ve wanted to go to New Zealand for years now. Big mountains, fast rivers, vast bays, and more sheep than people. We are finally here.
It’s crazy to think that just a few weeks ago we were meeting the Bobby C in Pago Pago. I remember landing in the airport and arriving at an entirely different place from where I had departed. The humid air smacked me in the face, and even though it was late and night and the sun had set, it was so hot. We arrived at the ship, our home for 6 weeks, and walked through what seemed like a labyrinth of passageways. The chart room was filled with strange navigational equipment, and the inner workings of the ship felt like even more of a sauna than up on deck. At least there was a slight breeze up top.
But now we are finally here. After countless hours of cleaning the ship, handling sails, and waking up at the weirdest hours I could imagine, the Bobby C feels like home. I can tell you that dawn watch will be terrible for the first two hours and then be accompanied with a beautiful sunrise, brightening everyone’s spirits. I can tell you that the Jib halyard is on the port side by the life raft and the sheet for the jib topsail needs to be tucked into the furrow after striking it. I can also tell you that—
Sorry for cutting off the sentence above. We just had a man overboard drill coupled with a fire drill, then a wonderful group dinner accompanied with a talent show and secret Santa event. It’s a tough life.
Anyhow, I can also tell you that you better bring a toothbrush with you to scrub the heads during field day (and don’t brush your teeth with those brushes of course). We all subscribe to the idea of Ship, Shipmates, Self, in that order.
So we are finally headed to Auckland. From Pago Pago to Apia to Wallis to Suva to Opua, we had the most incredible sail. We finally have figured out ship life. By the time you all will be reading this the crew will have said goodbye to us. Back to shore component, and I can only imagine it being like meeting the boat for the first time. We will have to figure out the routine at Leigh Marine Lab, our home for the next week, then it’s off to our post-SPICE adventures. Eventually we will head back to home and our colleges and universities too. Another adjustment.
But we aren’t there quite yet. In less than two hours C watch will take the deck and lab for their last watch of the trip. 23:00 to 03:00. Nine great friends taking the ship that much closer to Auckland. Then we will finally be there.
SEA Semester has been one of the more refreshing experiences I’ve had yet. Many of us have talked about trying to be deck hands in the near future. I think that speaks to the experiences we have had and the people we have surrounded ourselves with.
Shout out to my 10th grade (If I remember correctly) English teacher, James Farrelly, who I believe is reading our blogs. I hope you are loving retirement in North Carolina. Will, the first mate, is from Asheville, and I appreciate his use of “y’all” on the ship.
A special shout-out to my Grandmother, Betty Kline! She has continued to inspire me throughout my academic journey. I can remember stories of her being heavily involved in her class at New Oxford High School, reading her papers about the battle of Gettysburg, and learning about her affinity for Frank Sinatra (Grandpa looked more like Johnny Cash!). She snuck her way to high school everyday and ended up graduating top of her class, despite her father’s stern demand that she drop out,. Grandma, you’re an inspiration to us all! Love you, and see you on Thanksgiving!