SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans
March 16, 2018
45° 52.7’ S, 170° 30.8’ E; Dunedin, NZ
Ship’s Heading & Speed
Docked at Dunedin
Sunny with cumulus clouds (7/8). Winds S, Force 5. Temperature 13°C.
There is always so much going on when we're underway. From navigation to science deployments, and chores to frequent and delicious meals, so much goes on at all hours. Our captain often paraphrases The Big Lebowski, who said "There's a lotta ins, a lotta outs, s--t's complicated." Knowing what I do know about the boat, which only scratches at the surface, I wholeheartedly agree. The watch schedule and classwork keep us incredibly busy. At times, it seems like there's so much to juggle and that you can't really find time for yourself to breathe and truly appreciate everything that is happening. When we're in port, however, we get the chance to explore places outside our vessel's 40-meter bounds. And while we all love the ship, and every day on it brings wonderful experiences, it's so incredibly nice and refreshing to have landed adventures too.
Today was one of those landed adventures kind of days. In the morning, a group of us took a bus northeast out of Dunedin towards Otago Peninsula. We intended to visit Lachner Castle (allegedly the only castle in NZ) which was a 3km walk uphill from where we got off the bus. We ultimately decided against paying the pricey admission fee, but our trek up to it was so much fun regardless. Part of the fun was from encountering a roadside apple tree (which we may or may not have stolen some sour apples from) and plenty of cows and sheep at every turn. But the larger reason of why it was so fun was
for the wonderful company to be had, with a lively bunch of goons being their lively, quirky selves. And yes, this feels cheesy to remark, but I can't help but feel grateful to have gotten to know the people on this trip. From being silly to having thought-provoking conversations, the individuals I've met here have been so worthwhile to get to know. And knowing that the program ends in less than a week, I intend to cherish the time we still have left together on this voyage.
In the afternoon, the entire class and some RCS crew took a scenic train ride called Taieri Gorge Railway. Departing from the Dunedin Railway Station, the ride winded 58km northwest of the city through the Taieri Plains and Taieri Gorge to Pukerangi before heading back the same way. Myself and some of the morning crew packed a grocery store picnic, which included baguettes, cheese, crackers, hummus, yogurt, fruit, and Tim Tams. While we embarrassingly left a large mess of breadcrumbs on the carpet, the simple meal was delicious to enjoy alongside the scenic terrain zooming past our windows.
On our walk back to the ship from the railway station, Hannah remarked to me that this was the longest continuous chunk of time we had spent away from the boat, and that time span was merely 10 hours. Since we had arrived five weeks ago, we have spent most of our day's hours on the boat. And even when we're in port and near land, we never stray away from the boat for more than half a day because it has become our whole world. From eating to sleeping, and working to hanging out, the boat has provided the means for us to survive and thrive. And while it has a lotta ins and outs, living on it such a simple thing, and I love the duality of it.
- Jessica Duong, B Watch, Trinity College