SEA Currents: study abroad
‘I Ain’t No Hollaback Girl’ and Other Sincerities
Hello from back at sea! After two full days of sailing, following our departure from Tonga, I think we are all finally starting to regain our sea legs! We have had beautiful and breezy weather as we head towards the outskirts of the Fijian Islands, and will soon (aka Thursday) make our way to Suva!!
Planting some roots in Tonga
Malo e Lelei from Nuku’alofa! We are enjoying our last day here before we head out to sea again tomorrow evening. We woke up early to a misty morning, all excited to take part in projects with a few representatives from the Tongan Ministry of Environment, whom we all got to meet and talk to over a lovely dinner last night. I, along with 12 other students, hopped into a couple of vans to make our way to the Hoi mangroves, where we went to learn about, and participate in, the planting of these trees along the lagoon of Nuku’alofa.
Time to Cross It Off
When you’re a kid, you dream of seeing certain things-a shooting star, a really cool car, maybe even some sort of paradise like Hawaii that you always saw in beautiful magazine ads. When I was a kid, I dreamed of touching the Great Pyramid of Egypt, of walking along the Great Wall of China, and I badly wanted to find Cleopatra’s Tomb or discover a lost city made of gold in the Amazon. To clarify, I never thought I would be lucky enough to do any of those things, but an archaeologist has gotta dream right?
Week 1: Caribbean Reef Expedition
Keiley James from the University of Georgia shares her impressions of SEA Semester Week 1 on shore in Woods Hole, as she and her shipmates prepare for their Caribbean voyage later this fall.
Rigor and Reward
I think back to this past summer, having that same conversation over and over again. “Where are you studying abroad?” Someone would ask. Happy to share the details of my upcoming trip, I would let those who asked know of my plans to sail from American Samoa, to Tonga, Fiji, and then New Zealand with SEA Semester. With a sarcastic smirk many people would respond, “Wow, sounds really tough.” While there have been plenty of leisurely moments, full of relaxation and exploration, most of the work we do is not what I would call easy or infrequent, but it is certainly what I would call rewarding. Let me walk you through the past 24 hours of life on the Seamans to paint a picture of the rigor and reward.
We have once again lost sight of land and are somewhere sailing in the South Pacific ocean. The only thing that we can see are the clouds passing by with an occasional whale tail flopping out of the water during the day, and countless shooting stars at night. We are underway, heading south to our second destination in Tonga, Nuku’alofa where we will dock for a few days.
A Sailor’s Life For Me
Days passed on the trip..the crew began to worry that no whales would be found before the breading season came to a end. As we sailed through the many islands of Tonga, a crew member spotted the blowing of a whale dead ahead! All the crew gathered on deck to spot it, and all around the ship, near and far, whales we appearing. Every time one was spotted, I would point in its direction and yell, “THAR SHE BLOOOWWSS!!!!”
A full day in Vava’u
Today was another exciting day in Neiafu. The day started off with another opportunity to work with VEPA (Vava’u Environmental Protection Association). We headed to Keitahi Beach this morning. The beach was gorgeous upon first glance, but the trash up and down the beach soon caught our attention. In only about an hour, we filled 47 bags of trash. We also had a few students filtering sand through mosquito net filters VEPA made to sort microplastics on the beach from the sand.
Snorkeling is school, right?
Today was our first full day in Tonga! We spent the night tied up at the harbor in Neiafu after getting a chance to explore the town. Students stood hour long watches throughout the night, which was our first ‘opportunity’ to monitor the ship without the supervision of the staff. A.K.A the staff finally got a full night’s sleep.
This morning we were able to sleep in!
We wait on Tonga, no longa
This morning we wove through a series of narrow channels and brilliant green islands to find our new home on the docks of Neiafu, Vava’u. The Robert C. Seamans grabbed the attention of the harbor as its two masts walked proudly into the town’s waters. As triumphant the ship seemed, her crew’s pride surpassed her by ten-fold.