SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans
November 26, 2014
How to Make a Ship Look Really, Really, Really Good
41°17.1’S x 174°46.8’E
Sunny, few clouds. Gusty with a cool wind developing later in the day.
Sail Plan & Course/Speed
Alongside Queen’s Wharf in Wellington
We mustered on the quarter deck at 0800 this morning to see Queen’s Wharf in the bright sunlight. People were milling around (and inexplicably commuting to work in full suits on scooters), looking at the boat with great interest. Feeling self-conscious, the crew of the Robert C. Seamans sprang into action for an extreme makeover like no other. The two more worn sails (the mains’l and the mainstays’l) were taken down to be repaired/replaced, and the other sails were furled tightly, with the seams folded into cascades of precise white waves. Our watch ventured aloft, climbing up the foremast to furl and tuck the squares’ls. Picture nine people hanging high off rungs (clipped in, of course!), tenderly holding seams and less tenderly punching in rogue folds – it was a good morning.
One of the best kept secrets on this vessel is the cathartic magic of teak-scrubbing. The rails that go around the ship, the deck boxes, and other parts of the ship are made of a sneaky kind of teak wood that tends to absorb the most filthy grime imaginable, turning an ominous grey in the process. Imagine the satisfaction of taking a deck-brush to the teak, releasing layers and layers of grey foam (known aboard as the infamous ‘mung’) to reveal a warm, honey-coloured wood. We spent a number of hours scrubbing the teak thus in a valiant frenzy, and the wood is now so clear and bright that it looks like it is singing. As a result of everyone’s hard work the ship is looking amazing, and we spent the rest of the day trying not to look too proud as passers-by stopped to stare and take photos.
As a reward for a good morning’s work, we were set loose in the afternoon to explore Wellington. We ventured tentatively onto solid ground, testing our wobbly land-legs – a very real phenomenon! Wellington is a beautiful city, with a cosmopolitan city centre wrapped in steep, green hills flecked with townhouses, all strung out by the sea. We are all excited to further explore the city during this port stop, although I must admit that a part of me is already longing to be back at sea, with the salt and the swells.