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SEA Currents Blog

SEA Currents: polynesia.

February 17, 2014

S251 Weblog 17 February 2014

Margaret Giese, B Watch, Macalester College


Nuka Hiva is a place laden with history. Yesterday we got a glimpse of its history, as well as some of the natural marvels of the landscape, as we RV’ed around the island traveling to 4 different valleys—Taiohae, Taipivai, Hatiheu and Houmi—viewing the island from car windows with the occasional photo or historical pit stop along the way.  Many of us were more than happy to spend some time sitting down after the hike we went on the day before.  We happen to be in Nuka Hiva during its wet season so everything is especially green and the rivers especially full.

February 16, 2014

S251 Weblog 16 February 2014

Sarah Herard, Chief Mate, SEA Alum C-197


I’m Sarah, the Chief Mate of the Robert C. Seamans. Today I had an awesome day on the ship. We are at anchor in Nuku Hiva, a beautiful, green, volcanic island in the Marquesas. Our anchorage is in a protected bay with mountains towering high on three sides. We are about a mile in from the mouth of the bay, and there are smaller cruising sailboats anchored between us and the public dock.

February 15, 2014

S251 Weblog 15 February 2014

Levi Shaw-Faber, B Watch, Bard College 2015


Today on a remote Polynesian island called Nuka Hiva, I got married. In a traditional Marquesan service, my hair and the hair of my current wife, Zoe Walpuck (Denison 2015), were woven together and bathed with soothing scented oils.  Zoe, after realizing what she had just done, quickly annulled the marriage so I guess I cannot call her my “current” wife any more. Oh well, it was good while it lasted.

It all started when the Robert C. Seamans pulled up, literally out of the blue, to a tall and dark island.

February 08, 2014

S251 Weblog 08 February 2014

Brianna Coughlin, A watch, Saint Michael’s College


Our last full day on Fakarava was spent boating to the Southern pass and snorkeling among beautiful coral reefs. We began the day at 0800 with three local guides picking us up at Robert C. Seamans in their motorboats. Our ship is anchored near the northern pass and our goal for the day was to reach the southern pass—30 nautical miles away. Fakarava is essentially a giant rectangle with two passes and a calm lagoon in the middle. It’s difficult to grasp the scale of the atoll because when you’re standing on land facing the lagoon area you aren’t able to see the other side of the atoll.

February 07, 2014

S251 Weblog 07 February 2014

Anna Finkenauer, C Watch, University of Vermont


Another day ashore on the beautiful atoll of Fakarava!  Today we were up bright and early to make our way to shore for a busy day of learning, sightseeing and fun. Our first stop of the day was Lulu, a pearl farm. Here we got to see how oysters are harvested and their pearls extracted. It was amazing to see the famous French Polynesian black pearls coming straight out of live oysters.

Next up was a visit to Yvonne, a sustainable farm on the ocean side (outer rim) of the island.

February 06, 2014

S251 Weblog 06 February 2014

Zoe Walpuck, C Watch, Denison University


Several weeks and seasons ago in Woods Hole, we had our “Life at Sea” talk during which we learned about the ins-and-outs of living on board the Seamans. Following this talk, I began to realize what a unique mix of comfort and discomfort living at sea would be. We were told stories of people wearing goofy outfits, embracing their personalities, and doing weekly cleanups to blaring music, yet I was terrified by the thought that I would soon be sailing in the middle of the Pacific ocean, having had no previous sailing experience. This dichotomy of comfort and discomfort has proved itself to be absolutely true, as we near the end of our first week in French Polynesia and have completed the first leg of our cruise track.

February 05, 2014

S251 Weblog 05 February 2014

Midori Ishizuka, C Watch, Claremont McKenna College


The journey into Fakarava was bumpy at times, but definitely well worth my occasional bouts of seasickness while on morning watch. At around 1300 we began our last push into the main port of Rotoava, which is the

actual village in Fakarava where we are now anchored. Yesterday, the professors gave a mini lecture during which I learned some interesting facts about this classic coral atoll: for example, rainwater is Fakarava’’s only

freshwater source besides imported bottled water, turtles are a traditional source of protein, and the island is declared a “UN Biosphere.”  I expect we’’ll learn much more once on shore.

February 02, 2014

S251 Weblog 02 February 2014

Mary Malloy, Ph.D., Professor of Maritime Studies


Ground Hog Day is very different in Tahiti, where the sun quickly moves high overhead and no shadows are visible.  (Also, it is summer here, so both winter and the promise of spring have been left behind in North America.) The program “Sustainability in Polynesian Island Cultures and Ecosystems” (SPICE) has begun!  Nineteen students from seventeen different American colleges arrived in Papeete at the crack of dawn yesterday, having traveled all day and all night from our campus on Cape Cod.  It is a very amiable group and was quickly incorporated into the crew of the Robert C. Seamans.

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