SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans
March 14, 2015
The Final Countdown
Docked in Dunedin
Today was a day of exploration, and not just for the crew of the Robert C. Seamans. It was Open Ship day! It works like an open house, except you replace the house with a ship, our ship to be specific. Almost 500 people showed up between the hours of 1000 and 1300 to see our Seamans in all her glory. A handful of enduring volunteers gave away their time onshore to stay on the Seamans and be the representatives of our student crew during our open ship. These brave souls greeted our guests, led them on tours, answered their inquiries, and showed them, by the hundreds, what our floating home is like.
I was not one of these people. As the people of Dunedin were exploring the Seamans and engulfing her and our crew representatives, I was off exploring Dunedin. A group of us traversed around the city, discovering fine nacho eateries with smoothies the size of my head, thrift stores that actually have a selection of men's clothing larger than my bunk, even the local off-campus college housing area, complete with scattered bottles of local brews, driveway couches, and a group of frat brothers, pleasantly located right next to $2(NZD) ice cream and the botanical gardens. We searched for a waterfall that apparently no longer exists, as we learned after an hour of searching. The nachos were filling, the thrifting was successful, and the botanical gardens were beautiful, although lacking a waterfall.
As our adventures died down, Emily, Jill, Chris and I found ourselves at the Otago museum. We explored a few exhibits then found ourselves a place on the top floor couches, connecting to the museum's free wifi. Most of our academic work is due tomorrow as we are to leave Dunedin, or so we had planned. With tropical cyclone "Pam" raging north of New Zealand, we may be in port another day.
As I finished up what work I could in the museum, I decided to take a look through some last exhibits before leaving. I browsed through their maritime section, which after these many weeks at sea felt very familiar. They have an attic space filled with taxidermy animals, a few moa skeletons and of course a section on Maori culture. Before leaving I decided to quickly use the head. As I was finishing my business, the lights suddenly shut off. I pulled out my phone to use the flashlight in the now pitch black restroom to find my way out. I made my way downstairs to find that I was locked inside the exhibits as the museum had closed and I hadn't been noticed. A large metal gate blocked the entrance. Luckily enough, a worker came around the corner several seconds later and let me out, only for me to find I was still locked in by the sliding glass doors that wouldn't open at the building entrance. I finally found another worker who cracked a Night At The Museum joke and set me free.
Everyone rendezvoused for dinner at Speight's Ale House. There the entire student crew was treated to a 3-course meal with selections ranging from veggie skewers, to lamb shank, to steak, to fish and chips. As we filled our stomachs to beyond content, a day of exploration and getting locked in a museum came to a close. C watch walked back to the ship to start watch, and us bearded men prepared ourselves for a next-day surprise.