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Sea Education Association | SEA Currents

SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans


Nov

07

Swim Club

Annelise Hill, C Watch, Reed College
SPICE

Above: Our first and last swim off the Robert C. Seamans. Below: Two dolphins swim alongside the Robert C. Seamans

Position
35° 17.8’ x 174° 41.9’

Course & Speed
130°, 7kts

Weather
SSW winds of force 4, seas SW and 4 feet.  Mostly clear skies.

Souls on Board

There were two things on my checklist of musts before starting this trip. I wanted to swim from the boat and watch dolphins as they swam along by the bow.

On our very first day at sea everyone was looking out over the big, beautiful ocean we were venturing into and watching the sunset on the horizon. As it was setting, a whale breached directly in front of the boat, prompting cheers, laughs, and cries. At the time of the breach, I was down below looking into a head as I was finishing my very first boat check. I was disappointed to have missed this magical moment but told myself it was fine because there would be many more sightings. Two weeks later we had our first dolphin sighting. One watch was on the bowsprit as a herd of dolphins came up and began swimming along with us. I was down below finishing an engineering report and had no idea there were dolphins until they were gone and my mate asked me to make my watch come back to the quarter-deck.

In Wallis, we experienced a storm that bent the science doors. We were told that we would not be able to swim because getting back on board would be too difficult.

I was not too happy with missing out on these things. And, as the trip continued and our days came to an end, I became more doubtful that I would ever get to have these experiences.

Today, both of my wishes came true. We anchored in the Bay of Islands and jumped into the freezing Pacific. The water was painfully cold at first but we all embraced the numbness and celebrated our first and last chance to swim from the boat. Everyone played in the water, took showers out on deck, and hung out in the sun to warm up. After our beautiful swim, it was hard to imagine the day getting any better. Later on though, a pod of dolphins began swimming directly next to the RCS. They stayed with us for a while, swimming all around the boat so each of us had an excellent view, jumping around the boat, and putting on an acrobatic show further out. I have never experienced a more magical moment.

While these experiences are ones I will always remember and am so thankful to have had them, my trip would have been much more than complete without them. There have been so many simple moments that I will cherish so much. Mustering with my watch after a long, cold night. Climbing out on the bowsprit to furl the jib and looking back at our beautiful boat. Looking out at the horizon from the spreaders and feeling the wind against my face. Stepping out on deck at night and discovering that all of the stars are out. Holding onto the railing and trying to stay up despite the roll of the boat. It is these moments that I will look back to years from now and still miss. It is the simple moments of life on the Bobby C. that have defined this incredible trip. 

- Annelise

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