SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans
November 17, 2014
Departure day!... Or not.
36° 50. 494’ S x 174° 45.856’ E
Princes Wharf, Auckland, New Zealand
Rainy, with wind and very rare sunshine
Today was an interesting and unexpected day for all of us here on the Robert C. Seamans. All completed the second half of our night watch orientations (so doing boat checks, weather observations, learning lab techniques). But,
we also got our first signoffs on the checklist of critical skills - for the Watch Quarter Station Bill. This was a check to see if we know the emergency response activities for not only ourselves but also other crew members. It was a test to see how well we’ve been paying attention for the last couple days. We all passed, so we all got our first initials on the checklist! Woot!
The morning then truly began. A Watch did wake-ups for the whole ship for an all hands breakfast, but they had one special wake up to do today - it was my birthday! I was greeted by the smiling faces of some of the A Watch crew and Captain Rick singing me the first “Happy Birthday” rendition of the morning! It was a great way to be woken up but then the day got even better with apple walnut muffins, bacon, fruit and walnut butter and a whole slew of “Happy Birthday” greetings from the main saloon. What a great way to start the morning after a great wake up!
Today was our last day in port, and it was a rainy one. As we left the ship for a meeting about the Hauraki Gulf Marine Spatial Plan (an ongoing effort to create a place-based marine area management and conservation system) it was raining heavily. This city really has an interesting spring-into-summer weather pattern. We walked through the waterfront to the Waterfront Auckland office where we met with Karen Goodall (Stakeholder Working Group Facilitator) and Rebecca Barclay (Stakeholder Working Group Function Lead), both of whom have important roles in the creation of the Hauraki Gulf Marine Spatial Plan. They gave us a thorough presentation of the Sea Change Initiative and answered our numerous questions. Afterwards, Karen took us on a tour of recently redeveloped sections of the waterfront, highlighting features and buildings we wouldn’t have normally looked at in detail.
Upon arriving back on the boat, we were supposed to leave the dock and begin our sailing adventure around New Zealand. But, the call was made for us to stay docked one more night because of increasing rain and gusty, strong winds. So, we are still at the dock in Auckland and spent the afternoon learning more things about sailing the Robert C. Seamans - using the carousel (a piece of science equipment), locations of commonly-used lines on deck, calculating Local Apparent Noon, and a review of sextant use. In the middle of these rotations, Vickie brought out cupcakes, one with a candle that I blew out, as the whole crew was singing me another “Happy Birthday” song.
I have been greeted with “Happy Birthday” wishes all day, especially from Captain Rick, which has put a smile on my face continually. It has been a good birthday, one I will never forget for sure. For how many people can say they celebrated their 21st birthday on a boat?