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SEA Currents: SSV Robert C. Seamans
Second Shore Component - Leigh Marine Laboratory
On the night of the 8th, C watch took the their last watch of the trip. Some say C watch got a little short-changed by having mid-watch because it allowed the shortest amount of sleep. But to be honest I didn’t care about what watch we had, I just wanted the last one to be a good one. The city lights of Auckland kept the night bright and a destination clear insight. It also made the position of lookout very controversial because all I could see in front of me was land and reporting the obvious seemed ineffective. So my eyes began to wander to the sky as I tried to remember ten navigational stars. They also traveled down at the bow into the waves as our ship glided through the glass water.
All of a sudden on the starboard side a large glowing mass was moving towards the boat. I was in shock and didn’t know what to do. It felt like this was my moment to actually do my job as lookout but in the heat of the moment I just froze and stared at the torpedo looking mass to try and determine what it was. It slid up to the bow and began to swim with the boat. The shape became more apparent. “Dolphins!” I shouted for the rest of my watch to hear. Todd the JWO (junior watch officer) of the night shouted up “What Elsie?” “Dolphins!” I replied. Then I heard the rumble of feet and heads pop up along the bow. Before we knew it there were eight glowing dolphins swimming along the bow. They were mesmerizing. It was hard to pry our eyes off of them as they sped along with the bow. Eventually they slipped off and we were left looking in the dark ocean.
Annelise sat there looking with me hoping for them to return but they never did. “Well that was the last time we see dolphins.” She had a point but I didn’t like to actually hear it. And knowing Annelise she did not stop there. As the watch continued so did Annelise’s trend. When we finished the furl on the jib, Annelise was there to fill the silence. “Guys that was our last time ever furling the jib.” I finally turned around and told her to hush in a joking manner but really had no desire to be reminded of all the lasts. But the truth was that she was right. It was the last of many ship operations for many of us; I just did not want to think about them in that way. The amount of programs and end points I have been through are numerous. I have come up with ways with handling the end. I am not sure it is right and I am not sure it works for everyone. But it is what has evolved over the years.
- Never think of anything as the end- I used to look at places and people and think this was the last time. And it just made it all that much harder. It created emotions that I was not even sure how to feel or handle. Maybe I’ll be back and maybe I won’t. If you want to get somewhere enough you can make it happen. I have been surprised in life over the people I have meet up with and the places I have traveled to again.
- There’s no use in attempting to get people to understand - you can retell the stories and the routine you had but nothing can convey the way you went through it. The dynamics of group structures are hard to get people to understand and the struggles and laughter shared between peers can never fully be replicated. The amount of times I have tried to retell a story, but it never seemed to really illustrate how I felt. People can sympathize but only those who have gone through similar experiences can understand.
- If you go back it won’t be the same - many say the second one is never as good as the first but it all depends on perspective. You can’t replicate an experience again because there are too many factors. The likelihood you will be the same person with the same people at the same place is low. So if you go back, don’t compare it, just make its own unique adventure.
- If you look back, don’t stare-people like to hold on to those changing experiences they go through. They sometimes compare other life situations to them and feel nothing can live up to it and continue on this downhill outlook on life. Make the experience become apart of who you are rather then damper your future experiences.
I can’t guarantee any of them will work for you. But I find it makes the end a little bit more enjoyable.