SEA Currents: american samoa
The Robert C. Seamans is officially underway!
It was a very exciting morning aboard the Seamans. In order to be a fully functioning ship, every member of the crew (including all twenty-one students) participates in a rotating six-hour watch schedule. This means a group of people is always awake to be on lookout, do boat checks, stand at the helm, and make sure everything is working smoothly. Today was the first day of our regular watch schedule, and there was certainly a lot to see.
Welcome to SEA Semester aboard the Sailing School Vessel Robert C. Seamans. We’re in American Samoa, some 14 degrees south in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. 21 students and 13 staff are about to set forth on a voyage to Tonga and Fiji, before eventually making landfall in
New Zealand, 2000 miles to our south, six weeks from now.
Celebration, Umu Style
For our last full day ashore at Pago Pago, American Samoa, S-275 went to a traditional Samoan umu at Reg and Su’a Wilson’s beautiful home. They are good friends of SEA Semester and are educators here on the island where they grew up and currently live on Reg’s family land. An umu is a feast that Samoans prepare typically every Sunday, and it’s kind of like our Sunday dinner or Thanksgiving, depending on how big your Sunday dinners are.
SPICE is in Motion
All students, faculty, and staff have safely arrived aboard SSV Robert C. Seamans. After a full day of ship orientation yesterday, today’s mission is to enjoy an umu-a traditional Samoan earth oven feast-with our good friends Reg and Su’a Fitiao, at their home in nearby Leone. It is a mission we gladly accept. Tomorrow, we will be underway, sailing on to Tonga.
Wrap-up from Yard in American Samoa
Well, the RCS blog has been hard to keep up with, with all of this hard work! We’ve been attacking all sorts of projects here and there, and just about everywhere. We’ve travelled all the way up the masts, to loosen the bottle screws in order to re-tension the stays. We’ve tarred the highest stays. And we’ve worked down to the depths, finishing stowing the food and lashing it in dry stores, getting everything sail-ready. And even to under the bowsprit, climbing and tarring the bobstay.
End of Class S-274
SSV Robert C. Seamans has arrived in Pago Pago, American Samoa, and all students have departed the ship bound for destinations as far apart as Europe and New Zealand and everywhere in between.
While this ship’s company will never be the same, we all walk away with a shared experience of visiting a remote marine sanctuary and voyaging under sail to get there and back safely. The PIPA voyage challenged each person in their own way, and I am proud of all students and staff for their accomplishments, whether academic, professional, or personal.
S-274 Gets Underway
It has been an eventful first day here on the SSV Robert C. Seamans. Morning activities for student participants were filled with an enlightening and refreshing walking tour to the Tauese P.F. Sunia Ocean Center in Pago Pago, American Samoa. During our visit, our crew had the unique opportunity to speak personally with Fisheries Observer and Biologist, Michael Marsik, from NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service. Tuna canneries on the island of Tutuila provide many jobs for American Samoans, so it was invaluable that Marsik could provide us with excellent background information on local tuna fishing methods and regulations.
Class S-274 has spent the past couple days learning about their new home, the beautiful ship SSV Robert C. Seamans. During this shore-side orientation in American Samoa, students have learned about aloft safety, science operations, cleaning routines, boat checks, sail handling, line safety, meal routines, and a host of other important things that will set them up for success when we leave the dock tomorrow afternoon.
All the students of class S-274: Protecting the Phoenix Islands, have boarded the SSV Robert C. Seamans alongside in Pago Pago, American Samoa. First order of business: a good night’s sleep after a long flight!
This is our second day on board the SSV Robert C. Seamans, and as any introductory process we are still memorizing the inner workings of the ship. Our day really began in the early hours of the morning as the crew began to be introduced to dockwatch, an hourly check to ensure the ship is running to her optimum capacity. My watch began at 00:00 and ended at 01:00 which was fortunate for me as our activities on board ended fairly close to 22:00 so it didn’t impact my sleep much. Other watches were not as lucky.