SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans
February 18, 2015
Heading to Sea
36° 29’ 52.8” S x 176° 29’ 36” E
Today marked our last day in northern New Zealand. Normal wake up calls sounded below decks at our anchorage in Russell followed by our first all-watch, ship-wide field day. Field day is the crew's weekly battle against the unending tide of dirt and grime on the ship, where all three watches combine forces to maintain cleanliness onboard for another seven days. Having filtered the solids out of our cleaning grey water and dumped it overboard into the bay there was obviously only one way to unwind after our victorious battle against grime - a swim call! With the ship stowed for passage and the crew fresh from an ocean shower, the Robert C. Seamans was ready to begin our 13 day transit down the eastern coast to Wellington.
We began by lifting anchor and running a man overboard drill. By afternoon, the ship was quiet with people napping, obviously still tuckered from their morning contest to clean our home. B Watch had the watch between 1300 and 1900 this afternoon and during which we had the opportunity to see much of mainland New Zealand fade against the horizon behind us. As I write this from the starboard quarter deck, there are several islands outlined against the fading sun - but already the sentiment that we are setting out to the ocean proper has settled across the crew.
The Marae is the traditional Maori meeting house for a tribe. It is where celebrations, funerals, and weddings occur - a true cultural center for the community. Now, as we sit aboard our floating Marae and head out to open ocean, I would like to impress upon everyone reading this post the extent to which we have formed into a community. A short 6 weeks ago we were all strangers sitting in the lecture hall of the Madden Center in Woods Hole, introducing ourselves, telling the group our major, and feeling awkward.
Now, I think we all know enough about each other that none of us can ever expect to safely run for political office. Certainly, it can be expected that any group of people thrown into close quarters with a limited number of showers will learn a few things about each other. However, it speaks volumes to the caliber of everyone here as individuals that we have become such a close family in so short a time. And yes, to all the mothers reading out there, this means that we're looking out for each other and, save for some repatriation of lunch to Neptune, everyone is well.