SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans
May 03, 2016
16° 43.9’S x 151° 02.3’W
Lying safely at anchor, Baie Haavai, Huahine, French Polynesia
Twenty-five days and 2800 nm after departing the Chatham Islands of New Zealand we’ve made landfall here in French Polynesia. We let go our lines in Lyttelton one month ago today, and it’s been amazing to watch our students grow into the shipmates and able hands they’ve become. One of the foundation lessons all sailors learn is that you can’t change the wind. As a metaphor, I find it widely applicable to any number of situations. Today that situation was waiting for the weather to let up, the rain to relent, and the visibility to open up enough for us to transit into our anchorage here on the west side of Huahine.
In the home stretch now, our students began giving their oceanography presentations today. With their final papers due in a few days, the ship is alive with the bustling of students on a deadline. In addition to this, the students are now fully in the thick of their Junior Watch Officer, or JWO experience. After more than 3 weeks without seeing land or even another vessel, our JWOs have had to quickly transition into the tropics, where land, other vessels and squally weather are all of a sudden part of our daily, even hourly, routine.
Surrounded by this beautiful place, even as the rain continues to fall, there’s a sense on board of looking in many directions at once. Looking ahead, to the coming week, the final week of our trip. Looking behind, at all we’ve accomplished so far, and trying to hold on to that feeling as one tries to hold on to the memory of a dream. Personally, I’m looking forward to watching our students continue to grow as they are now running the nuts-and-bolts of our hourly operations. As I write, students are standing the anchor watch, ensuring the ship continues to lie safely at anchor here for the night. The trust we are able to place in them is one of my favorite aspects of our program.
This landfall is the first visible evidence we’ve seen in 25 days that the world has indeed kept on spinning outside of our little shipboard community. I’m sure I’m not alone tonight in thinking about those back home, excited to tell them all about our journey in the coming weeks. On behalf of all aboard, a big hello to you all at home. You know who you are – you’re reading this blog.
Bon soir from Baie Haavai,
Captain Jay Amster