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SEA Currents Blog

SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans

October 02, 2019

Land Ho!

Michael Tirone, C Watch, Bowdoin College


Above: Group picture before we flew the coop; below: Renee Steering the Ship skillfully as (Captain) Elliot; Mama pig and piglets crossing the street uptown Neiafu.

Current Position
Neiafu Port, Vavu’u, Kingdom of Tonga

Ship’s Heading & Speed

Clear blue sky, 3-4 Knots of wind, calm waters, high 80s, low humidity

Souls on board

As C-Watch handed off the watch to A watch at 1900 on October 1st , and A- watch handed off watch to B watch at 0100 on October 2nd, a collective zeal to reach our first port stop dictated our conversations, increased our efforts, and scattered relief to those suffering from the ebbs and flows of the open Pacific ocean. I rolled out of our small 6 x 3 x 3 bunks and steadied my newly acquired sealegs. However, I didn’t need them. Odd. I painstakingly put on my harness, ChacosTM, sunscreen SPF 50 (Mom, I promise) and headed up to the quarterdeck for C-watches 6-hour shift starting at 0700.

The deep ocean waves peaked at only 3 feet, winds were light and variable, and we were only moving over ground at 3-4 knots. I eagerly turned to look off the port side (left) of the Seamans; there stood the geological masterpiece was the island of Vava’u. Vava’u resembled a natural fortress that stretches for miles, and is covered in impenetrable green vegetation. Even the main island satellites towered over the Robert C. Seamans as we arrived in port.

As Jill and Captain Elliot guided us into port, everyone was above deck admiring the dense greenery, crystal blue water, and sailboat racing. We soon took in our sails and motored into port. During the 3 day 300+ nautical mile journey were only used the engine to ferry out of port and into port: perfect conditions to ride that 210-ton boat. Soon we docked next to a Tongan military boat and set-up homebase. Soon we were let loose from our confined quarters to explore the island.

The lovely blue sky overlooked us as we entered town. Late 1990s and early 2000s cars littered the small streets, while driving on the left (wrong) side of the road. Chickens, pigs, piglets, dogs, and goats roamed freely, sometimes carelessly scurrying in front of Toyota Tacomas. In town many of us ordered smoothies and explored the cuisine of the area. A packed schedule ahead and a taxing adjustment behind, is simple justification for this little-known paradise in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. 

To that end, I wouldn’t want to spend my 21st birthday (October 4th) with any other group of people on an landmass in the middle of an ocean.


Michael (Mr.T) Tirone, C(oolest) Watch, Bowdoin College

Previous entry: Tonga, here we come!    Next entry: Clang clang, boat awake


#1. Posted by Linda Janda on October 02, 2019

Happy Birthday Mr T and welcome to Tonga. Thanks for the cool blog.
Your description of the island sounds remarkable. Time to explore and learn all about it; I’m sure.  Best wishes for an amazing time.

p.s. ( glad you’re putting on lots of sunscreen….hope Maren is too.

#2. Posted by Pilar Keyes on October 03, 2019

There they are!!!  How wonderful to see you all looking fantastic down in Tonga! <3
The blog posts are so fun to read, and waiting for them has become a big part of my day!

#3. Posted by Kathleen on October 03, 2019

Wonderful blog Michael! Glad you are wearing sunscreen and that you are enjoying sea life.

Hope everyone is adjusting and enjoying this beautiful part of the world. Sounds amazing.

Michael - Happy 21st!!  Love you

PS….and yes, love the blogs - keep writing!

#4. Posted by Bella on October 03, 2019

Hey Mr. T Coolest Watch,

Nothing more free than to set sail to sea; beauties to behold are the sails as they unfold. Masses of passing land, each majestic and grand; sights to see, even more to be.

Idk if there’s a word count so I’m going to stop there, but blog post sounds amazing, love to read it! Sail, adventure, dive to deeper depths with every moment, & enjoy it all. Happy birthday, celebrating with you in spirit! The big two one, congrats you’re old.


#5. Posted by Meghan on October 03, 2019

Such a great blog!

Glad you are having fun and hope you have an amazing 21st birthday! Love you lots little brother.

Meghan, Keith, Harper, Gracie + Wellington

#6. Posted by Paul W on October 03, 2019

Happy birthday son!

#7. Posted by Susan on October 04, 2019

Happy 21st Birthday Michael !! 
Much love and happy travels
Aunt Susan



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