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
March 06, 2017
Happy Birthday, Mom!
Sailing into Wellington Harbor, through Cook Strait
Force 1 winds, partly cloudy
We sailed through heavy winds the past couple days, but made it through Cook Strait last night and anchored in Port Underwood. Since we hadn't seen land in 12 days, all hands were on deck celebrating as we pulled into the scenery; a sheep farm was up on the hillside, and birds were flying over the green cliffsides, swooping down towards the water. Much of our celebration was silent appreciation; some were cheering.
We set sail out of the harbor this morning towards the other side of Cook Strait towards Wellington, the windiest port city in the world. The wind and seas have died down since the gale of wind, from Beaufort 7 wind and 12 foot swells to Beaufort 1 wind and 1 foot swells. We'll make it to Wellington by the time this is published.
Over the past few weeks, I have been thinking a lot of all the things I left behind for a bit to come on this program: family, friends, Kilgore, Cambridge, the internet. A large part of my reasoning for joining this program was to take a step away and gain some perspective. I knew I needed to sort out my priorities, and I also wanted to get down to the basics of what I want out of life.
I've been chasing perfection for a while, through my academic and career goals, but I've been questioning my own idea of perfection more and more over the past year. I've caught myself pursuing what others see as success: institutional value and financial power. I thought I needed a job with an 'important' company, a grad school with a weighted name, and a huge house on a hill to be happy. Since I was 15, I have consistently thought of the future and continually stressed myself out.
My favorite job on the boat is lookout, where you stand at the bow of the ship and look for any objects, lights or traffic. It is an hour of complete solitude. I think much of what I want to do post-grad and of family and friends. I sometimes get homesick.
One night that I was on lookout, it was during a gale. I looked up at the masts; they swayed back and forth through the stars as the ship hit swell after swell. We were sailing west so the stars to the left of the masts I knew well, Orion and Leo among them. The stars on my right are new to me, as one can't see them from the northern hemisphere. The Milky Way straddled the middle; it was magnificent.
The day prior, I was on lookout when dolphins started skipping through the water beneath me. I watched them through the net of the bowsprit, and as they splashed through the water, a rainbow would appear and disappear as water droplets flew and fell through the air.
I am beginning to realize that I need to appreciate the little moments more and think less of the end destination. If it were all about the destination, we would have just flown city to city around New Zealand. Instead, we have the beauty of the sails, the camaraderie, volcanoes, dolphins, galaxies up ahead, and the sound of the waves and wind.
I still get homesick at points. Without my parents, I would not be here sailing around New Zealand. I would have never believed I could get into Harvard, would have never gotten in, would have never applied to study abroad, and would never have had the courage to come. I missed both of their birthdays over this past twelve day journey, but today is my mom's. Happy Birthday, Mom! Love you so so much. Skip, my dad, had his birthday two weeks ago, so happy late birthday, old man. I'll be home in about five weeks.