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
February 26, 2018
Ship’s Heading & Speed
162 True, 5 knots
Partly cloudy, mostly clear. Winds from the North and swells large enough to knock your coffee cup easily from any point on the ship. Sailing towards Wellington.
There’s a window above the computer I’m writing at and every four seconds white water splashes over the top of the metal bars. Our ship is moving quickly today and the swells are bigger than my virgin sea legs are comfortable with. The ‘feel-better box” of saltines and ginger chews that lives on the hutch has been emptied entirely today by shipmates who (like me) are feeling a little swirly. We just finished a wind-swept class on the quarter deck and discussed everything from the distant whales we saw this morning to the knots we should know and the case studies we should write. Sailing has felt a lot like a stop-and-go race of red-light-green-light. Sometimes I feel like I’m going to drown in the stillness and other times I feel like my brain is going into overdrive with more new information than I can process. Ginny told me that this is how she imagines it feels to be a baby; new information overwhelming you constantly as you’re surrounded by a gentle rocking and the calm swoosh of waves rising and falling.
My yesterday started at lookout. The sky was clear and the stars were wild. I could see the soft fuzzy glow of the Milky Way and the startlingly bright Southern Cross. So many stars. After an hour of staring at the horizon and singing to myself, I took the helm and started my birthday off steering a tall ship surrounded by ocean off the coast of New Zealand.
Yes, there have been watches where the rain has been brutal and the waves have left me throwing up bile and it’s been tough to scrub the muck out of the heads. Yes, I’ve gotten frustrated and short with people, and had to pull myself away many times to breathe. Yes, I constantly smell like sunscreen (thanks for the light skin Dad).
Still, even then, I’m so glad I left New York City and threw myself into this adventure. And I’m sure many of my shipmates feel that way also. We’re in it. And we’re here for it. And I’m okay with being able to smell myself more than I can smell deodorant. I love how good it feels to shower here. Friends, you have no idea. I love the feeling of crawling into my bed after a day that has left me feeling tired and content. It’s exciting to realize that I’m getting the hang of engine room checks and Neuston Net deployments and determining the direction of the wind. It feels good to learn points of sail and complete a jibe without feeling like a naive college student. I like getting my hands dirty and sweating the line and knowing the names of the sails and where to find which halyards. Life is good. So good. Thanks, Sabrina.
I guess this is a sort of birthday blog, so I’m going to take a couple sentences to send love to my family and a couple eye rolls to my brother. I missed talking to you yesterday as I finished up year twenty, but we’ll have time together soon. Hugs and clear skies.
- Emma Palmer, C Watch, Barnard College