SEA Currents: s255
October 13, 2014
Arrival in Futuna
Our arrival in port to the French territory of Futuna this morning opened the sky to an afternoon downpour, but a bit of rain didn’t stop us student-explorers from venturing forth into the quaint downtown area. Well, some of us anyway; Kristen, Michaella, and I took shelter in an abandoned shipping container on the dock. After waiting long enough to realize that the shower wouldn’t rest anytime soon, we ran back home – to the sweaty, sticky, ever-rocking Seamans.
October 12, 2014
Science Near Futuna
Today was a rather long day. I woke this morning for 0700-1300 watch to see the floor being scrubbed. Then, not four hours later, I was told to scrub the same floor. It seems as though the cleaning is more for discipline than disinfection. But without these sometimes tedious routines, life on board the Seamans simply would not work.
I was excited today to be assigned to help the engineers.
October 11, 2014
Life on Wallis
Its curious how even when halfway across the world, I am constantly reminded of home. As we set sail from Uvea to the even less populated Futuna, I can’t help but think of my hometown in New Hampshire. Like Hopkinton, NH, Wallis and Futuna are small, relatively isolated, and to be honest, don‘t have a whole lot to do. However, that doesn’t make small islands a bad place to grow up, build a career, and raise a family. In fact, I would argue the opposite.
October 10, 2014
Lost in Translation
Most activities come with their own unique set of vocabulary. Be it the cries of line cooks in a burger joint, the hand signals of professional baseball players, or the forever mysterious guttural mutterings of Newfoundlanders, newcomers to different experiences often brush up against the time old language barrier. While most students have been struggling with French here on Wallis, my Canadian citizenship has allowed to me to cruise by with relative ease (sea pun count: 1). I‘ve spent the last few days ordering croques monsieurs and laughing derisively about those Americans (sorry guys).
October 09, 2014
Today marks exactly two weeks since we came aboard the Seamans. Time on the ship has been really hard to grasp with our strange sleeping, eating, and waking schedules. Going to sleep after being on a 4 or a 6 hour watch at 10am feels the same as it does if it were 10pm. You say good morning to one watch and goodnight to the other, and spend the rest of your time awake with your own watch. So its really hard for me to believe that its only been two weeks because my body isn‘t used to being awake for so many nights and asleep for so many days.
October 08, 2014
The Island of Uvea
Today was the second day spent in the beautiful and remote island that is Uvea. I had the pleasure of continuing to explore the island throughout the morning, and I was struck by the absolute separation that stands between myself and home. We spent the morning as a group at the islands cultural center talking to one of the Arikis (a sort of advisor to the Lavelua; or king) about our various research topics. As it turns out, nearly all of the research I had found previously about Uvea which was sparse to begin with- is completely outdated, and often misrepresentative of the island culture here.
October 07, 2014
Land-ho was announced early in the morning while I was fast asleep in my bunk, exhausted after a long day of being the galley (kitchen) assistant yesterday. Uvea (aka Wallis) had been sighted on the horizon. After a couple days of being surrounded completely by water, it was nice to see land again (although being alone in the big blue has its charm too). Curious birds started circling around the boat, investigating us.
As Uvea got closer and closer, the view began to get more astonishing.
October 06, 2014
Birthday at Sea
Napoleon said, du sublime au ridicule il ny a uuun pas, which translates roughly to between sublime and ridiculous there is one step. It is this delicate balance that I have been recently considering while at sea on the Robert C. Seamans. I found myself today struck at how improbable our existence at sea seems. Life at sea can seem a daily battle against the elements. We fight to keep afloat, navigate, and with water and food. While each of these systems are regularly maintained and are backed-up, they must all function properly to support our rich life onboard. This awareness was reiterated today as our chef engineer Dusty said, safety is no accident.
October 05, 2014
I was woken up at 0240 for watch, and told it was a bit rainy. When I arrived on deck at 0250, all was well and the rain has stopped. After a few short minutes, a large squall was approaching. We started to adjust our course to prepare for the large wind gusts. The weather worsened and we soon had to wake Captain Jason to take over the helm. Wind gusts reached 40 knots, and our speeds were approaching 10.5 knots. It was an intense, but short-lived beginning to C-watchs early morning shift. After no more than 30 minutes, the weather had calmed and we were able to return to our original course.
October 04, 2014
Apia Farmers Market
The day began very quickly, with an all hands breakfast at the usual 0700. After breakfast, our wonderful and talented steward Sayzie asked if anyone wanted to go to the farmers market to buy fresh provisions with her and the first assistant steward of the voyage, Rebecca. Colin and I volunteered, and within fifteen minutes we were driving through Apia with our third mate Cassie at the wheel. We arrived in the market and were immediately struck by the size and density of it. The market is housed in a huge red structure with a tin roof and no walls. It is about 100 yards by 300 yards, and nearly every square inch is filled with the fresh produce of the farmers who sell their goods there.