SEA Currents: s257
Bay of Islands Welcomes Us
Hello from our anchorage at the Bay of Islands town of Russell, a former Pacific whaling hub once known as the “Hellhole of the Pacific”! Thankfully for us it looks a lot more like paradise, with turquoise water glittering in every direction and rolling volcanic islands we’ve come to know and love at every point of the compass.
We woke this morning at our anchorage in a cove just outside of the Bay of Islands, a lovely place to sleep after the previous night of adjusting to the roll of Mama Seamans beneath our bunks.
We Sail for Science!
This was the first full day we sailed underway without anchoring at night. This means that we had full watch rotations with a complete watch group on deck and in the science lab at all times starting with A-watch from 1900 to 2300, followed by B-watch from 2300 to 0300, C-watch from 0300 to 0700, A-watch again from 0700 to 1300, and B-watch from 1300 to 1900.
Valentine’s Day “Family Fun Excursion”
My last day in Port Fitzroy began with a wonderful 0014 Happy Birthday wake up from Jenny, a traditional apple vinegar birthday shot with our wonderful Steward, Lauren and a birthday hongi from Scoop.
After breakfast and the first happy birthday singing of the day, we took advantage of the nice weather with a “Family Fun Excursion” on land led by Sarianna and Stu. After packing up our pumpkin muffins and water, Will and Willie zipped us over to land in the rescue boats. We first did a transect of the intertidal zone, led by Adelle to observe rocky shore marine species.
A Day of Firsts
Although we have been working within our watch groups since day one, today was our first taste of “real” watch life. At 0600, the Morning Watch (C Watch) was woken up for the first breakfast and began their first 6-hour watch! Following Morning Watch began another 6-hour watch called Afternoon Watch. Then three 4-hour watches are held throughout the night until Morning Watch begins again.
On this first Morning Watch, the mains’l, the main stays’l, and the fore stays’l, were set
Underway!...and some serious science-ing
First and most importantly, Happy Birthday Mom! Since we are one day ahead here you get two birthdays! I hope you have a great day and that the snow isn’t piling up too much.
After another calm night of dock watch alongside Princes Wharf in Auckland, we at long last prepared to cast off and hit (somewhat) open water. First in this preparation was a series of safety drills—the highlight of which was an opportunity to once again don our immersion suits (a.k.a. Gumby suits)—to make sure we all know what to do in the case of an emergency.
Auckland, City of Volcanoes
Today we were accompanied on our bus tour of Auckland by Joseph Fagan from the University of Auckland, who shared with us his knowledge about the local geology, geography, cultural sites, and tourism industry. Our first stop was at Mt. Eden, a volcanic cone (one of many) protruding from the surrounding city. After a short walk to the top we were gifted with a beautiful panoramic view of ocean, the harbor, buildings, and surrounding topography. Joe had plenty to add on the site’s history as a Maori fortified village and its role as a tourist attraction.
We awoke bright and early this morning to enjoy a delicious breakfast, courtesy of steward Lauren, before setting off on a walking tour of Auckland. Our tour, led by Mary, brought us to the neighboring Queens Wharf and over to the Wynyard Quarter. As we learned about Auckland’s different waterfront areas, many of our fellow students shared information they had learned in their studies for our “Maritime History and Culture” course. We also got a great perspective on the importance of the city’s commercial industries.
The Global Ocean, SEA Semester class S-257 begins!
When the students and faculty for this class was last assembled, we could see 18 inches of snow out the windows of our Woods Hole campus. We have now traveled to the opposite side of the world and into summer in the southern hemisphere. With such a long distance to travel, it is not too surprising that five students were delayed along the way, and we will not have our full company on board until tomorrow. (We followed very different paths to get here; most travelled through Los Angeles or San Francisco, but some students booked their travel through Fiji, Hong Kong, Brisbane or Honolulu.)
The Global Ocean, S-257
The students of S-257, The Global Ocean, will join the SSV Robert C. Seamans on February 9th in Auckland, New Zealand. They will end their voyage around March 19th in Christchurch, New Zealand.