SEA Currents: s269
October 14, 2016
A Pretty Unreal Day
It’s impossible to count how many times today my shipmates and I paused to look at each other in amazement and exclaim how unreal our life feels right now. My day began with a 0600-0700 dock watch, during which I woke up fellow ship mates, sipped on coffee and watched a beautiful sunrise over the harbor. Next up was a buttery crepe breakfast, complete with blueberry sauce and lemon slices for garnishing. Sound good yet?
October 13, 2016
Meanders in Nuku’alofa
Today was our second day in Nuku’alofa and it started with a successful field day; not so much an entire day but more like three hours of intensely cleaning our lovely Mama Seamans and ridding her of any weird smells, fondly referred to as ‘mung’ among the ship’s crew. C watch got us all pumped and ready to clean by very creatively improvising words of popular songs to reflect our upcoming task. A personal favorite is “Everybody’s Mung-Fu Fighting!” It was a performance that I am very glad to have experienced.
October 12, 2016
Riddles in the Dark
I don’t care how snooty this is going to sound, but it’s never a bad day when the first two obstacles I have to overcome are the butter annoyingly sliding off my blueberry pancakes and squinting through the sunrise at the view of an island I’ve never seen before. This is SEA Semester’s first time voyaging to the Kingdom of Tonga, and one could truly feel the cumulative excitement in the air as all 37 of us prepared to explore a new place for the first time, together.
October 11, 2016
Wind, Waves, and Rain, Oh My!
Things have been shaken up aboard the Robert C. Seamans today! Around 0200 last night, right after the dawn watch had taken over for the early morning, we sailed into the low pressure system that was moving towards Tonga. Fear not, we are all safe and sound and enjoying the bumpy ride. Dawn Watch experienced a nice, constant downpour, along with strong winds of up to 40 knots. It was a pretty exciting time, birds blown off the island were very confused by our presence and kept squawking at us.
October 09, 2016
I awoke on day 2 of our second sailing leg to a pink haze of sunrise off the port beam and a nice breeze blowing us along at 7 knots. What a perfect sailing day! Nothing but open ocean all around, except for one small island in the distance off to our right. Looking around and seeing only blue ocean and cloudy white sky still makes me catch my breath every time as I remember the awesomeness of where we are and what we’re doing. Our planned course will take us by two islands today: Kao Island, an extinct volcano, and nearby Tofua Island, where Captain Bligh of the famous Mutiny on the Bounty was marooned.
October 08, 2016
The New Normal
The Robert C. Seamans and her 38 crew are back to a state of perpetual motion. (You may have noticed that we acquired another member: Ano, our Tongan observer, will be with us until we reach Suva!) We raised anchor in the early hours of the morning and began our voyage towards Tongatapu. This being our second leg at sea, we’ve been given more responsibilities, and started to become comfortable with handling some aspects of the ship’s operation.
October 07, 2016
This morning my day started off with dock watch at 0600. The mornings here are cool, calm, and have beautiful sunrises. At 0700 we had a wonderful breakfast of oatmeal and delicious condiments cooked by our amazing steward (Cook) Bex. Today was one of the best days here in Tonga. We met with a local Tongan woman named Peti who brought her granddaughter and her friend.
October 06, 2016
Botany and Marine Biology in Tonga
Today I woke up at 0600 for my dock watch to a beautiful sunrise in Vava’u, Tonga, and it set the tone for what was going to be the best day yet of this trip. After an awesome breakfast made by Cooney, our honorary steward, and reassured the incoming cargo ship was not going to kick us off the dock, we were let loose to explore the market before heading out for the rest of the day’s activities. The market is a wonderful place to see the different handicrafts in Vava’u.
October 05, 2016
Our first full day in Tonga was filled with much excitement as we explored parts of Vava’u and met with people from the Vava’u Environmental Protection Association (VEPA)! Today began with a 0800 pin rail chase in which the watches competed against one another, relay style, to find each line we were told. All of the watches did great, all finishing around the same time, but C Watch won by just a hair!
Getting onto shore, we met with Karen, Courtney, Seini, Meredith, and Lisa from VEPA.
October 04, 2016
Whose Line is It, Anyway?
Greetings from Vava’u! Mama Seamans made her way into Tonga at roughly 1300 this morning. Barely recovered from dawn watch, which ended at 0700, I forced my sleepless self from my bunk and up on deck to join my shipmates in their eagerness to reach land. It is now 1552, and I sit in the on-board library writing this as a few Tongan customs agents are guided throughout our floating home by our Captain Jay.
Us students seem to be acclimating well to life at sea.