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Sea Education Association | SEA Currents

SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans


Aug

08

A Letter Home

Mary-Catherine Riley, Scripps College

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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