SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans
S251 Weblog 10 March 2014
18° 06.3’S x 14° 054.8’W
Anchored in the lagoon off the island of Hao
Cool, clear, and beautiful night after an extremely hot and sunny day
As I sit on deck writing the blog post this evening, I can’t help but to feel rather discontented that the sailing component of our trip is quickly coming to an end. I have really enjoyed living at sea and on board the Robert C. Seamans for the past 5 weeks and I’m just not quite ready to leave! There are just so many incredible things to experience while sailing. Although we are all hard at work on our various papers and projects, I was convinced by my shipmates, Nanuk and Jerusha, to take a break and climb aloft with them during our transit from Mangareva to Hao. I am tremendously glad that I did! We were lucky enough to sight a pod of dolphins off of our starboard side and we watched them jump and speed around from aloft!
Today we anchored in the lagoon of the island of Hao at around 1100 this morning. It was quite exciting as this is the first time that one of SEA’s ships has ever come to this island. After we anchored, we promptly changed all of our watches and the ships clock back an hour, thus gaining an hour of our day as we near Tahiti and have to change back into their time zone. Once ashore, we were fortunate enough to meet with the Mayor and ask some questions about our various research projects and the French naval presence that Hao had on the island until recently in 2001. We were also lucky enough to take a quick bus tour around the abandoned military base and water desalinization plant on the island.
After a fantastic American dinner of pasta, we gathered for class and with our steward Sayzie we discussed our eating habits throughout our trip and how we felt about the food that we have been eating. I have learned that one way to really immerse yourself in a culture and experience it, is to eat locally and to try foods that the people living on these islands eat in their daily lives. Before leaving our campus in Woods Hole, we collectively as a class decided that we wanted to try to eat as locally as possible throughout the sea component. Because of this decision, foods such as breadfruit, taro, and poisson cru (a raw fish dish unique to individual islands), have become rather familiar on the dinner menu, but I must admit that I still haven’t grown to like some of these as much as I wish I could have. It is hard to adapt to new foods when you are in an extremely unfamiliar environment as I am sure that many of us felt for some time after joining the ship. With the new lifestyle as well as the scattered waves of seasickness, there were definitely times where I didn’t want these unknown foods and just wanted something familiar and safe. I am very glad that we decided to try to live like this for the past few weeks and I am eager to see what is in store for us in terms of food once we get up to the Papeeno valley in Tahiti.
Hey family and friends! I miss you all and will see you in only a few more weeks! Get ready for some epic stories!