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SEA Currents: SSV Corwith Cramer

July 30, 2015

Lookout is a trap.

Nikki Caspers, Connecticut College

SSV Robert C. Seamans

Ship's Log

2° 26.3’S x 173° 58.8’W

Phoenix Islands Protected Area

Winds light, Beaufort force 1

Sail Plan
Motor sailing on a course of 320 C

Souls on Board

I’m going to tell you a secret. It’s a secret that all the students on this ship keep and though this could be taken as an act of betrayal to my fellow peeps, I’m in desperate need of a good blog story. So here it is The Truth.

Lookout is a trap.

I know what you’re thinking, how could lookout be a trap? All you have to do is sit there and “lookout” at the sea right? WRONG. What you really have to do is stand (standing is important) at the bow and look out at the sea…for an hour. Have you ever stared at something for an hour? No, well that’s probably because it’s hard. If I’m being honest, look out is more like choir class mixed with intro to philosophy. Sure you start out strong, diligently watching for any obstacles in our way, but then you hit the 15 minute mark and that’s when the songs start. If you know anything about songs then you know that they tend to sneak up from behind and take no prisoners. One minute you’re watching the horizon, and the next you’re yodeling a surprisingly nice rendition of Under the Sea. By 20 minutes after, you’ve already sung yourself through all of Pocahontas, Mulan, the Lion King, Bon Jovi’s Greatest Hits, and are steadily on your way through your third round of “Let It Go.” 

Around the half hour is when things take a turn for the unfortunate. I like to call this part the OMG I Totally Forgot………. There you are singing “Let it go” for the 5th time (because you just can’t hit that one high note near the end of the second verse) when reality comes and smacks you really hard over the head (Which, now that I think about it, is probably why we are required to hook in our safety line). I’m not sure how it starts for everyone else, but for me the reality check begins with the always pleasant, “OMG I forgot to tell my employer that I’m going to sea for a month!” That’s ones my favorite, but sometimes if I’ve been extra good I also get the “OMG I forgot where I put my wallet!” Yeah, that one’s fun too….

At 40 minutes you get to start analyzing your life. For example, I’ve realized that my fear of spiders was thrust upon me by the social constructs of society and not by innate fear or a traumatizing experience I had as a wee girl. Who knew? At 45 minutes you start thinking about the future. Do I want to go to grad school? Do I have to go to grad school? Should I go to grad school? Who’s supposed to pay for this grad school? Do you think Shelby will let us eat pizza for the rest of the trip? 

The 50 minute mark is usually when the heat starts to get to you. As the sun beats down the water starts to look real friendly. It wouldn’t be so bad except for the fact that someone forgot our wind back in Hawaii, and all those silly flying fish keep jumping out of the water and smirking at you saying, “we’ve got our water, where’s yours?” to which the only honest reply is “Not with me.”

By the time the next hour rolls around, your pretty sure you’ve been forgotten. Things are looking bleak because if you have been forgotten then you’re doomed to lookout for the next five hours and no one has enough music stored in their mental ipod for that amount of time. Five minutes later when the panic subsides and acceptance sets in, that’s when you start to see the beauty in everything. The sea is calm and you are calm and the future doesn’t matter and you don’t have email so your employer can’t fire you yet and hydration is over rated and sun burns turn into tans right?

So if your salty sea sailor comes home and is acting strange, ranting about the future and talking fish, don’t worry. It’s not permanent, it’s just lookout.

- Nikki

Categories: Robert C. Seamans,Protecting the Phoenix Islands, • Topics: s261  phoenix islands  life at sea • (4) Comments
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Leave a public comment for students and crew to read when they reach their next port and have access to the internet!

#1. Posted by Cookie on August 01, 2015

Great post Nikki. Toffee, where is Winkie’s hairbrush? She is shedding all over the place. We hope to hear from you soon. We miss you!!!


#2. Posted by Aunt Alyssa on August 01, 2015

Nice blog Nikki! I really enjoyed reading it. I hope you are enjoying your trip. Sounds awesome, (Grammy told me all about what you are doing over lunch in LBI-And yes, there was air conditioning..) Hope you are taking LOTS of pictures. Write on! It’s fun hearing what you are up to,

Wishing you smooth sailing!


Aunt Alyssa

#3. Posted by Mark Caspers on August 01, 2015

Hello Nikki,

Glad to hear that you are enjoying watch!  We all had a good laugh after reading your blog.  Good to know that you still have your sense of humor.  We have been following you and your shipmate’s blogs every day and it looks like you are all having an amazing adventure.  We all miss you and look forward to talking to you soon. 

Love and Aloha,


#4. Posted by Mary on August 02, 2015


Thanks for The Truth. I chuckled all the way through it as I hummed “Under the Sea”

I look forward to my “salty sea sailor Elise coming home and ranting.

Continued safe travels to all you “salty sea sailors,




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