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SEA Currents Blog

SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans

February 06, 2014

S251 Weblog 06 February 2014

Zoe Walpuck, C Watch, Denison University


View of Fakarava’s vast lagoon, with va’a canoe in the foreground

Current Position
16° 03.4’’S x 146° 37.5’’W
Course and Speed
Anchored at Fakarava
Sail Plan
Remain anchored until 09 Feb
Cloud cover all day, with occasional rain

Several weeks and seasons ago in Woods Hole, we had our “Life at Sea” talk during which we learned about the ins-and-outs of living on board the Seamans. Following this talk, I began to realize what a unique mix of comfort and discomfort living at sea would be. We were told stories of people wearing goofy outfits, embracing their personalities, and doing weekly cleanups to blaring music, yet I was terrified by the thought that I would soon be sailing in the middle of the Pacific ocean, having had no previous sailing experience. This dichotomy of comfort and discomfort has proved itself to be absolutely true, as we near the end of our first week in French Polynesia and have completed the first leg of our cruise track.

For me, thus far, feelings of discomfort have prevailed. I have experienced the physical discomforts of sunburn and seasickness. Yet more significantly, I am discomforted by the entirely new and unfamiliar world of the Seamans. Often times, these feelings of discomfort are discouraging. During morning watch yesterday, the unfamiliar rocking of the ship made a seemingly fun task of spraying down the deck into a marathon event of falling and being tossed around by large swells. And, as any mariner knows, the jargon of sailing warrants an entirely new edition of Merriam Webster’s Dictionary. When I am given orders such as “strike the main stays’l” or “coil the line”, my mind immediately translates the unfamiliar terminology of sailing to English: “take down the sail in the middle”, “wrap that rope in clockwise circles.” As I embark on countless walks around the deck with my pin rail diagram in hand, trying to learn all the names of the lines, I am slowly enabling the discomforts of the ship to become comforts.

Significant feelings of comfort embraced me on Tuesday, as I became assistant steward for the day and was able to assume a position in the kitchen that I often hold at home. Adventures in Fakarava today, consisting of several shark sightings, a serendipitous school bus ride to a local’s home to see her va’a canoe, and experiencing what Levi expressed as a “ Windows ’97 Desktop Wallpaper”, filled me to the brim with happiness and excitement for this beautiful region we have the opportunity to explore and adventures we have yet to experience.

Hello to Mom, Dad, Leah, Jack, Steph, & Sam! Sending my love to you all from across the ocean!

Happy anchoring,




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