SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans
October 12, 2016
Riddles in the Dark
21° 07.7’ S x 175° 11.8’ W
Nuku’alofa Wharf, Tongatapu, Tonga
All furled and covered
Beautiful, sunny day.
I don’t care how snooty this is going to sound, but it’s never a bad day when the first two obstacles I have to overcome are the butter annoyingly sliding off my blueberry pancakes and squinting through the sunrise at the view of an island I’ve never seen before. This is SEA Semester’s first time voyaging to the Kingdom of Tonga, and one could truly feel the cumulative excitement in the air as all 37 of us prepared to explore a new place for the first time, together. This new place is Nuku’alofa, the capital of Tonga on the island Tongatapu, our second port stop in Tonga and of the trip thus far.
Seamans pulled up against the wharf in style around 10:30, and after squaring her away for a stay at port, my shipmates and I packed our daypacks and met our Tongan guides at the end of the wharf. They led us on a tour of the island. Stops included tombs of the King’s ancestors and a remote, white sand beach that we had all to ourselves. For me, looking out the window as we drove was equally as exciting as the stops we enjoyed. There was always something new and interesting to look at, be it an especially fat pig strolling around or a local village.
By far the highlight of the trip was ‘Anahulu Cave, where we clammered into a dark, wet, underground world of limestone deposits and stalactites. The cave was vast and filled with tons of nesting cave birds that we were all initially convinced were bats. The furthest walk into the cave led to a deep, cool, freshwater pool accessible either by chiseled stone stairs or a leap into the depths below. As an individual new to spelunking, I found the latter particularly thrilling. Jumping into the waters amidst stalactites and friends is not an experience I will soon forget. Pictured is a group of us sitting on some underwater stalagmites in the pool in the cave.
Readers will also be happy to learn that thanks to careful analysis of the ship’s fresh water usage rate by our very own Noah McCord and Savanna Michener, today Ben-gineer (Seamans’ Chief Engineer) has granted us the amazing option of a freshwater shower every other day instead of once every three days. More showers means better smelling shipmates. Better smelling shipmates means happier shipmates. Happier shipmates make a happier ship.
I think I speak for all us here on Seamans when I say that I am excited to see what each new day in this incredible region of the world will bring, and that I am eager to wake up tomorrow to experience and learn more of this new and intriguing place.
Big hello to my family, I am more than well and at home on Seamans. I will try to reach out in Fiji, but until then yes, Mom, the palm trees are as wonderful as you are imagining.
Kind regards to all,