SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans
Transitions from Sea to Land: Reflections from Our Time at Sea
Leigh Marine Lab
Before our first port stop I had already spent most of my time on the leeward side so I would make donations to Neptune and not to the ship. I was already eagerly waiting for the moment I could finally step on land and stay there.
Land ho! After 6 weeks of sailing out on the open blue, we finally reached Auckland, New Zealand. Reentering into a world that has Internet, phones, tall buildings, too many people, and too much noise—talk about sensory overload! One day on land and I already want to be back on the Bobby C.
There is something out on the ocean that pulls you in, and I can’t place a name on what it is yet. Maybe it’s the accomplished feeling when you are junior watch officer and successfully lead your team to set a new sail during mid watch, or maybe its when you pull up 27,000 Megalops in a neuston tow for science, or when you get to sail to different islands and completely immerse yourself in the culture by hitching rides from locals, going to kava ceremonies, spending a day in a living postcard on a reef, or jumping off of beautiful waterfalls.
As our third mate Kevo says, “Out here, I find my best self.” I can’t put it any other way. In the middle of the Pacific, you feel so isolated, yet your mind is so clear and life is so simple. There is nothing holding you back from knowing what you should do and what’s best for the crew and the ship. You stand on the bow for lookout in the invigorating winds and you gain a better sense of awareness. You get into a rhythm with the “motion in the ocean” as Capt Seán always says (sometimes too much motion). You find your best self, as well as your true self, which is what I think is the true essence of my draw to go back to sea. At first I was so happy to reach land, but I keep thinking about how this is the last week of my time with SEA Semester and the great friends I have made so far.
This has been one of the best decisions I’ve made in my college career, and possibly lifetime. This is an indescribable, character building experience, and I encourage anyone to take advantage of an opportunity that involves life-changing experiences like the one that I have been part of.
I will spend the next week at Leigh Marine Lab, a small campus/marine reserve north of Auckland. I don’t think the transition back to my regular land routine will be too difficult here. This place is absolutely breathtaking.
Fair winds to the Bobby C. and its new class and crew!