SEA Currents: new zealand
For the Birds
Your friendly neighborhood salt-dog here again, reporting on one of the more beautiful and decidedly terrestrial days the Seamans crew has seen yet. We had a free day in odd, quaint Napier, a town about half-committed to its art deco history so it looks something like a forgotten Disneyland for adults.
A small reflection on the open ocean
Hello from Napier!
This morning was a busy morning as we arrived in Napier. It was the end of our mission and A watch was on duty when we struck all of the sails and motored in to dock at the Port of Napier. The Port of Napier turns out to be a largely commercial port and we are currently surrounded by large mounds of timber, piles of shipping containers, and cargo ships.
This morning I got my wake up with the news that we were starting our Anchor Watch (1 hour rotations instead of a full 6 hours), and that the anchor was just now getting dropped. I stepped out onto the deck greeted by a clear sky full of stars, dark masses of land bordering our ship, and the sound of 3 shots (each shot is 90 feet) of chain being let out as our ship tethered to the sea floor. It is a bitter sweet mix of feelings seeing land again.
Life at Anchor
Today is our last day at anchor before we set out for a three week sail to the Kermedec Islands and back! Both students and crew are taking advantage of land while we still can, heading ashore in groups to stretch our legs, buy back-up stocks of toothpaste, and explore the quaint town of Russell. Meanwhile, Conservation and Management students are looking for local Kiwis to interview. Our class has focused on studying the use of single-use plastics in the States, particularly Falmouth, Mass.
Another Field Trip!
Today was our second day anchored off of Russell and we took a field trip to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed. Many of us wore full yellow foul weather gear to stay dry in the rain, which resulted in many confused looks and inquiries as to why we were dressed like banana slugs.
More Training, More Fieldtrips
After a night spent rotating through night watches for the first time, we woke bright and early for breakfast and emergency situation trainings. We rotated through fire, man overboard, and abandon ship practices and succeeded in rescuing Gilbert, our rugby ball, from a cold dip. Around 11, despite the drizzle, we set off for the Auckland War Memorial Museum. After exploring Albert Park, the University of Auckland, and the Auckland Domain, and learning some of their history, we were set loose to roam the museum.
Today the eager students of S-276 boarded the Student Sailing Vessel Robert C. Seamans docked in busy downtown Auckland, New Zealand. Welcomed by equally enthusiastic staff and faculty, the students stowed their bags, made their bunks, and began their lives as crew and members of this sea-going learning community.
George Washington Students take Science to High Seas
SEA Semester in the News
Practicing Science on the High Seas
GW students combined oceanography research on environmental threats with the rigors of seamanship during a 12-week journey aboard a tall ship in the South Pacific.
By John DiConsiglio
Somewhere in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean, about 200 nautical miles east of New Zealand, Lily Anna Segalman got her sea legs.
An environmental studies major at the George Washington University, Ms. Segalman held steady to the rail of the tall ship as 20-foot swells sprayed her head to toe with salt water. For the first time since setting sail 10 days earlier, she stumbled across the wooden deck of the 135-foot Brigantine named the Robert C. Seamans in 25-knot winds without getting seasick.
“I considered that a major victory,” she laughed. “I wouldn’t say I was a sailor yet. But it was a start.”
That winning moment for Ms. Segalman came in the middle of a 12-week journey at sea. Along with 13 other students from 12 different schools, including Turi Abbott, a rising senior at GW, she was participating in the Sea Education Association’s SEA Semester, a study abroad program that combines oceanography research with basic seamanship.
Welcome to the Robert C. Seamans
The staff has been working hard for days to get ready for the students of class S-272, and today at 1430 they began to arrive! All the cleaning, fixing, mixing, meeting and general business has now settled down to getting the students ready to go to sea, the program has started to roll and it will not stop until we finish in Tahiti. This afternoon after all were aboard we had our first ‘muster on the quarterdeck’ as introductions were made and watches assigned.
You enter Lyttleton Harbor through a deep slot in the tan brushy hills of the Banks Peninsula, on New Zealand’s South Island. This was all a volcano once, and now the flooded crater reaches inland as a series of long sheltered bays. We’re just short of halfway to the south pole. That’s a latitude similar to Boston, but with no continents nearby, the feeling is different. There’s a lot of motion in the sky here, with the hilltops alternately visible and obscured by folding patches of cloud. It’s possible to feel several seasons’ worth of weather roll by in an hour-bolts of warm sunshine, blasts of sharp wind, sudden sprinkles of rain from some non-vertical direction.