SEA Currents: culture
October 16, 2014
Arrival of Fall
Fall has finally arrived on the Robert C. Seamans, in the sense that people have started wearing light jackets, pants, and even winter hats! Although the thermometer still read about 27°C on my dawn watch this morning, the wind chill was cool enough that a mug of hot chocolate was desirable. Fall is my favorite season, and although it is technically spring here in the southern hemisphere, it is nice to have a reminder of home. As we make our way to Fiji, the cool crisp air is a nice change from the normal heat and constant dripping of sweat. Below decks are cooling off a bit and bunks are becoming more bearable to sleep in.
October 15, 2014
Traditions in Futuna
A squally evening concludes our first day of sailing towards Suva, Fiji. Rough winds this morning kept us from our planned visit to Alofi, Futuna’s uninhabited neighbor, and the day became routine: DC (daily cleanup), naps, and watch from 1300 to 1900, while the wind kicked in as soon as we left the shelter of Futuna and the ship heeled over and pitched, and a number of us took to familiar clinging positions at the windward rail, gazing with pained fixedness at the horizon (and by a number of us I mean me). As we left Futuna, a pair of boobies (a large, narrow-winged, gangly seabird) swooped about in our lee.
October 08, 2014
Using the Ocean Health Index
Barcelona and Mallorca
We have finished our first two port stops and put to sea again for a nine-day stretch through the Straits of Gibraltar to our next stop at Cadiz, on the Atlantic coast of Spain. This gives us some time to ponder what we‘ve learned and start to put it together in papers and daily discussions on the ship. Our program, The Global Ocean, is built around the Ocean Health Index, a series of ten metrics designed by conservation organizations to consider how we might begin to measure human impacts on coastal areas and the marine environment.
October 07, 2014
Sight-Seeing at SEA
Today we had a fantastic tour around Mallorca. We started our day by hopping on a bus ride to the Castell de Bellver. Not to mention, we were accompanied by our lovely tour guide Maite. When we reached the castle, I was awed by its unique geometry. Standing at 109m tall, it is the only circular castle in Spain. While it was built by James II as a fortress for the island, it is now widely used for weddings, concerts and even a playground for kids. And of course, being tourists, we managed to snap a group photo in front of it before we left.
October 03, 2014
Last Day on Samoa
Today was our last full day in Samoa and it was packed with indigenous culture and food! However, I will start this blog with a story about last night. Hatesa, Yaz, Monica, Colin, and I went to a faa fafine show and it was incredible (a faa fafine is a person born male and representing the third gender and some perform in shows similar to a drag show). The faa fafine performed mostly numbers by Beyonce, and also a group of younger girls performed a few traditional island dances for us. Colin, being one of the only guys in the audience, truly was the star of the show and was even brought up on stage for a song. It was a one-of-a-kind experience.
October 02, 2014
After a breakfast of fresh fruit and yogurt, we made our way across the harbor to the headquarters of the Barcelona World Race, a race around the globe that starts and ends in Barcelona. The seven competing double-handed teams race in 60-foot boats that depart from the port on December 31st, and usually take 80-90 days to circumnavigate. The class got to learn all about the daily obstacles the teams face, from their rigorous diet to the constant battle to keep the boat as light and fast as possible. Our tour guide also explained that the race is trying to support ocean science by having the racers deploy scientific instruments as they go.
October 01, 2014
Day at the Museum
Today was awesome! We explored the working harbor of Barcelona on a boat owned by the port. Our guide, Núria Zaragoza, is the educational coordinator for Escola Europea de Short Sea Program, an organization that provides training for mariners involved in short-distance Mediterranean voyages. We saw some extraordinary ships, including an LNG Tanker and an eight-story cruise ship.
August 05, 2014
Colonization of PIPA
We have been in the Phoenix Island Protected Area (PIPA), for almost three weeks now and will be leaving it sometime tomorrow. We navigated in PIPA and visited more than half of the islands (Kanton, Enderbury, Orona, Birnie and Nikumaroro) and the Winslow reef. People of the Seamans had the chance to go ashore on some of them. Coming from a Pacific island, I find it interesting to see how these remote islands bear the marks of human activity - mostly of European and American origin.
July 28, 2014
Three Days in Lisbon cont’d
Ahoy! This is Laura and Evan from C watch, checking in:
(Laura) After only three days in Lisbon (or Lisboa, in Portuguese), we are underway and sailing the blue waters off the Spanish coast again. As we begin the last leg of C-254 towards Cadiz, Neptune seems rather moody. We are currently experiencing 6-7 ft seas that are occasionally spraying any unsuspecting shipmate who happens to pass by. No worries, though, mom; we have the doglines rigged, we only walk clipped in with our harnesses on the high side, and we are keeping the night lookout posted aft on the quarter deck.
July 26, 2014
Three Days in Lisbon
After a night of sailing across the shipping lanes along the Portuguese coast, morning fog at the mouth of the Tagus River kept Lisbon hidden for a few hours. We picked up a friendly pilot who, like nearly everyone else in Lisbon, spoke excellent English. The fog lifted as we made our way upriver, revealing one majestic structure after another. First there were lighthouses marking the approach, then a medieval fortress, the Tower of Belem, the Monastery of the monks of St. Jerome (both UNESCO World Heritage sites), the navigators monument, the 25th of April Bridge, and, on the south bank, the towering monument to Christ the King.