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Current position of the SSV Robert C. Seamans. Click on the vessel to view position history. Use the tools, top right, to change the map style or view data layers.

SEA Currents: SSV Robert C. Seamans


Aug

08

A Letter Home

Mary-Catherine Riley, Scripps College

Ship's Log

Position
10°51.113’ S x 171°35.730’ W

Location
On the final leg of our passage: 264 nautical miles from Pago Pago

Weather / Sail Plan
Another beautiful day of sailing under the 4 lowers

Souls on Board

Dear Mom and Dad,
Before you continue reading, stop. Take a deep breath in and exhale fully. (Dad, you take two! I know how you fret.)  I am wholly content.

I have written you several letters on my journey, but I never finish them, and I don’t come back to the same letter twice. Instead, I allow them to remain as they are, windows capturing only the describable feelings provided during an instantaneous moment.

One of my letters to you relays the first time I saw a shark swimming beside me as we were snorkeling in the Kanton lagoon. At the sight of the carnivore, all of my muscles tensed instinctively. In this water, I was a prey, surrounded by the most fantasmical and fierce creatures on the planet. The shark proceeded on its path with a disciplined stroke. Its body language was strident. It’s movement efficient, sophisticated, and insatiably mesmerizing. Reef sharks are fairly harmless; however, their presence allowed me to face my own fear and later experience senses of revelation and appreciation that only come from living to tell the tale.

A second letter attempts to describe my experience on a snorkel mission in Orona. Wandering through the coral heads, schools of fish, and a shipwreck off the coast stimulated feelings of freedom, adventure, and tranquility I can just begin to describe as ecstasy. It is a sentiment that I have been granted access to while galloping a beloved horse across the Earth – a mixture of unity and adrenaline that shapes the way I hold the ground and water in my hands. During these moments of extremity and wonder, I truly wish you all were here with me. I imagined you two and Thomas swimming beside me in the lagoon experiencing the schools of fish and the vast corals surrounding us. In that moment, I was thanking you helplessly for your foresight in raising me. Mom, you provide me a model of eternal beauty and a passion for the most extraordinary adventures. Dad, you have always been the one to revel in the blessings of the universe – pulling over the car to admire the way a tree’s stature gnarls up a Cliffside or grasping the sentiment during a theater production as you tense your jaw and let a tear stand as a mark of appreciation during the crescendo of a masterpiece. Thomas, although you are younger, in many ways you are so much wiser, and I strive to emulate your joy and articulation in my experiences. Whether I knew it or not, I was raised to be an adventurer and that is one of the priceless gifts you all have given me.

I wish I could describe to you more about the humans I have been surrounded by; however, that is for a different letter. Just know that they are wondrous. I am blessed to be here. In fact, I have experienced more instances of joy and wonder than I could have wished to feel in a lifetime.

I love you all so, so deeply. I cannot wait to speak to you soon.

Sincerely yours,
Mary-Catherine

Categories: Robert C. Seamans,Protecting the Phoenix Islands, • Topics: s268  life at sea • (0) Comments
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