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Current position of the SSV Robert C. Seamans. Click on the vessel to view position history. Use the tools, top right, to change the map style or view data layers. Dates and times use GMT (Greenwich Mean Time).

SEA Currents: SSV Robert C. Seamans

November 22, 2018

Gales, Gratitude, and Gravy

Olivia Vasquez, C-watch, Oberlin College


Above: Thanksgiving in action (including our tables) Below: (from left to right) Captain Elliot, me and my watch-mate, Sarah experiencing a morning squall.

Ship's Log

Current Position
31° 50.91’ S 178° 01.10’ E

Course & Speed
024° heading and 3.7 knots

Sail Plan
Under fore and main stays’ls

Winds NW force 6, intermittent squalls in the morning and afternoon

Souls on board

Hello readers! Happy Thanksgiving!

We aboard the Robert C. Seamans have been preparing for the holiday, some of us helping to bake pies or hang decorations in the main salon (dining area), or even reminiscing about traditions of football and day-after leftovers. In anticipation of this blog post, I have been thinking a lot about the idea of gratitude, especially in the context of this program. Although we have just gotten underway on our first big 2-week stint towards the Kermadec Islands, there have already been so many moments to be thankful for. For instance, just in the past 24 hours, I have:

  • tucked away in my cozy bunk and fallen right asleep
  • felt the power and presence of a morning squall or sea storm
  • spotted (and then proceeded to scream about) 21 common dolphins off of port side that jumped and swam under the ship
  • listened to our watch officer, Megan, play the fiddle after dinner that made the saloon seem homey and full of spirit

But where there have been some high-highs, there have also been some low-lows. Whether it is doing engine check down below during a squall, or being woken up at 1 am to be on watch for 6 hours, or especially being stuck in a stupor of seasickness, it is in these moments I question past me and ask, “Why did you decide to do this again? Why did you choose the study abroad program that seemed like the absolute craziest and the most mentally and physically challenging?”

Even if I am cursing my life decisions, I am still grateful for these moments. They humble me and make me thankful for little things I could never have imagined, like doing an engine check where I don’t bang any part of my body, or sweet 2-hour naps, or being out on lookout that clears out any hint of seasickness. These moments are part of the package deal of being at sea; they are essential to the adventure and what I signed up for. And while I recognize the importance of being present, I also have to remind myself to situate these feelings in a larger context. Instead of looking back at my choices and asking, “Why did I decide to do this?”, I look to the future and ask, “When am I ever going to be doing this again? When will I ever sail in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean on this home of a ship with some of the coolest and capable people I have ever met?” And when I frame it this way, it humbles me and makes me feel grounded and incredibly grateful.

And with that, I am ultimately thankful for the Robert C. Seamans, my family and loved ones in different time zones, and my new-found family and these moments we will cherish and treasure as memories.

Until next time,
Olivia Vasquez, C-watch, Oberlin College

(P.S. Mom, Dad, Celia, and Ken – I love you and miss you all very much, and I hope you are having a very amazing day.)

Categories: Robert C. Seamans,The Global Ocean: New Zealand, • Topics: s283  study abroad • (4) Comments


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 D. Vasquez on November 23, 2018

Many things to be thankful for!  Thankful you have this great opportunity with new friends and experiences.  Frankly, I’m just a bit envious!!  Just remember - A ship in port is not what ships are built for.  Enjoy the rest of your journey!!

#2. Posted by Brian T on November 27, 2018

I freaking love gravy. So thank you for highlighting that. Also thank you for listing me in the “thanks” section of your blog post. I loved reading the entire thing and finding my name…

Miss u, and I hope your pies were as good as our friendship bakes. Also plz get tan for me. Tell the sun I miss her too.

Also quality pics. I’m seeing a changed FB profile photo in our future.

Luv ur pal (who I guess you don’t care had an amazing day)
Brian smile

<3 <3 <3

#3. Posted by Kenneth Kitahata on November 27, 2018

The dolphins! Reading this made my day//felt straight out of Hokulea. So proud of everything you’re doing and all you’re becoming! You’ll have to teach me all the sailing lingo and knots. Hope the fowlies are keeping you dry and warm, miss you lots.

#4. Posted by Benjy on November 27, 2018

lit post !!!



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