SEA Currents: s262
Wet and Wild: A Samoan Adventure
It’s hard to describe a day that starts with a 4:45am trip to the fish market and ends with sunset sailing on the bow of an ancient Polynesian replica double hulled canoe. The floodlit bustle of cold fish slapping countertops was one of the more surreal wakeups I have experienced. To say that our little group of camera flashing college students felt out of place would be an understatement, but the vendors were happy to point out parrot fish neatly spear caught in nearby reefs, whole and glistening yellowfin tuna, and giant dinner plate slabs of albacore steak two inches thick.
Do the Jive
We are officially underway in our voyage! We stopped in Samoa today around 1400 after sailing throughout the night. The sail here was full of excitement and activity, so arriving into Apia port came much quicker than expected. We left American Samoa with the winds at our back and sailed with five sails set for most of the journey. I’m amazed at how much I’ve been able to learn in just over 24 hours. “Ready at the mainstaysail halyard” actually means something to me, rather than just shouting what the mate tells me to.
Whales at Sunset
The time is 2307. My watch and I have just been relieved by night watch, and we have had an incredible day. Today was our second day in American Samoa, though that only lasted until about 1400 when we got underway to sail to Samoa. Our morning was spent training for emergencies-such as Man Over board, and learning how to use important pieces of equipment such as the J-frame (used for science deployments) and harnesses (used to keep us safe in places on the boat where we need our hands free).
S-262 Students Have Arrived
The students of SEA Semester class S-262, Sustainability in Polynesian Island Cultures & Ecosystems, are all safely aboard the Robert C. Seamans. They will spend some time becoming oriented with their new home before beginning their ocean voyage. Watch this blog for updates from the students & crew over the coming weeks.
SEA Supports New England Ocean Protections
For the past 45 years, Sea Education Association (SEA) has worked to develop the next generations of ocean stewards, scholars, and leaders. On undergraduate SEA Semester voyages around the globe, we encourage our students not only to study the science under the surface, but also to understand the nuances of historic and cultural relationships between coastal communities and their local waters.
Safeguarding the health of our oceans for future generations is no simple matter, but we view smart policymaking as a key tool for preserving their rich heritages and regional identities. For example, in our Marine Biodiversity & Conservation program each spring, we have asked our students to devise recommendations for protecting the Sargasso Sea in the North Atlantic Ocean that may inform real-world plans.
Our latest foray into marine policy involves an ongoing debate near our own marine “backyard:” whether to grant permanent, holistic protections to the Cashes Ledge in the Gulf of Maine and the New England Coral Canyons and Seamounts Area along the southern New England coast.
S-262: Sustainability in Polynesian Island Cultures & Ecosystems
The students of S-262, Sustainability in Polynesian Island Cultures & Ecosystems, will join the SSV Robert C. Seamans in American Samoa by September 28th. After port stops in Wallis & Futuna and Fiji, they will arrive in Auckland, New Zealand around November 9th.
Harvard’s John Huth Speaks on Navigation, Marshall Islands-Style
One of the hallmarks of a SEA Semester education is learning to navigate the ocean by traditional methods. We don’t reject modern conveniences like GPS, but we’re strong believers in preserving time-tested approaches to understanding the world around us—a form of cultural sustainability, if you will.
Starting in the classroom and continuing on board our ships, we teach our students how the sun, stars, moon, and other celestial cues can help them locate their position on Earth and, by extension, reach their desired destinations. Today, we hosted Harvard University Professor John Huth, who presented class S-262, Sustainability in Polynesian Island Cultures and Ecosystems, with a detailed look at techniques used for centuries by dwellers of the remote Marshall Islands to chart paths, negotiate waves, and handle winds.