SEA Currents: Oct 2016
Legend has it that Halloween Night is a time when the spirit world and the mortal world collide, and both are thrown out of balance. I’ve always found that concept compelling. This year it has become unusually relatable, as I am also perpetually unable to balance. As I desperately clambered toward the leeward rail this morning to offer Neptune another pre-digested hecatomb, I contemplated the many peculiarities native to the topsy-turvy funhouse that is the SSV Robert C. Seamans.
I am having the conventional difficulty of trying to convey an immersive experience, where sharing the chronology of the day, the what happened is an entire entity, and conveying the sense of the boat, the what it is like is something else entirely. In an effort to achieve a happy medium, I am including a little of both.
A Watch (Feldman - 3rd Mate) relieves C Watch (Sleeper - 2nd Mate) sailing under a single reefed mains’l, stays’ls, jib, tops’l, and raffee (aka Party Hat), running on a port tack. Couse ordered 240 deg psc, steering by and large at 220 deg psc. Winds NE Beaufort Force 3, seas ENE 3feet.
Another beautiful day out here on the Big Blue. We are now well into our journey from Suva to Auckland and have settled into our daily routines, which means we have more time and energy to do other things in our free time. Today was also a day of rest which meant we didn’t have class this afternoon—really nice to have that extra time! People used it to go aloft, work on Halloween costumes (you’ll hear more about the festivities tomorrow), work on our projects and papers, do ballet (Dr Professor Mariner Sir Ben Harden taught a class on the science deck and it was hilarious) or just relax.
Cooking on the ship can be very different from cooking on land. There are many unusual factors that influence what we can and cannot make. Some are obvious: we only have an oven and stove, we can only re-supply when we get to a port, we have limited storage space.
Some reasons are not as obvious.
There is this notion that humans are inexplicably drawn to the sea. This attraction is the explanation for the settlement of cities, the rise in tourism etc. Whether you believe this or not, the notion exists. I propose another notion, we at SEA are inexplicably drawn to overlooks - we crave a bird’s eye view of a city, of the ocean of whatever. We crave a new perspective.
After our ship meeting yesterday I was inspired to reflect upon our cruise track in more general terms than what you may have been reading in the blog so far. Upon the conclusion of our shore-side visits we have a “port stop debrief” where all students share the latest observations and insights on their projects. Since this was our second time in Cadiz and our last port stop we were encouraged to reflect upon the trip in general and give a last update on our projects.
Bow watch at night is an introvert’s paradise. In hour-long shifts, one of the deck hands stands at the front of the boat and acts as lookout. If you’re lucky enough to be sent to the bow during an evening or a dawn watch, you get to spend sixty rapturous minutes with yourself.
Tonight is exceptionally beautiful.
Today marks the end of our second stay in Cádiz and the beginning of the final phase for the program. We all enjoyed our time in port and made the best out of an unplanned experience, all thanks to our captain and professors who were able to plan a trip to Gibraltar for us. We are all incredibly thankful to our faculty for constantly making tough decisions that look out for the best interests of those aboard the ship.
We’ve spent around four weeks aboard the Seamans now and it finally feels like we are getting used to living here. We have 11 more days until Auckland and I think we are more than ready for the challenge of sailing there. There is still so much to learn but we have mastered the daily routine of life at sea. Things that were hard at the start have become second nature for us now. It’s nice to be able to talk like a sailor and handle some of the sails without having to stop and think about it first.