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.
SEA Currents: SSV Robert C. Seamans
34°44.9’S x 177°10.3’E
The South Pacific Ocean
We have all been having vivid dreams recently. Our dreams were not necessarily maritime-related, though one of us did dream about “the crew”, as she put it in her vague terms. Come to think of it, all of us had
described our dreams in a scant manner, despite insisting that these dreams were rich and almost lifelike, almost tangible. I do suppose there is something rather personal in divulging the contents of one’s dream, but it may be that perhaps it is simply impossible to translate the full experience of a dream into real life. I myself am subjected to this gap between dream-world and real-world, being able to only tell my shipmates and you that I dreamed I was playing a video game with a good friend. My dream, like mentioned, felt infinitely more substantial and nuanced and real.
When we learned that we were collectively dreaming, we tried to pinpoint why that might be, after our initial bout of amazement. Did the (sometimes lulling, sometimes violent) motion of the waves play some part in this? Was it the seasickness medication we had been taking? Was it merely our strange new sleeping patterns? We decided we did not know for sure, and perhaps we would never find out, in spite of the long, meandering conversations we had about the source(s) of all of our dreams and of all dreams. Yes, we had long talks of dreams, and also of food, of history, of people, of home, of music, of everything and everything in between. Here is the thing about life at sea. It feels jointly mundane and otherworldly. We gab, as we do, but the vast, open time that exists out here has also allowed our talks to sweep and reach inside deep crevices, normally inaccessible on land. Time on land is too punctuated by self-centric work and admittedly trivial (not always though!) preoccupations like TV and social media to allow for such mundane, otherworldly talks so consistently.
And then, like time, there is space to consider. Once again, out at sea, space is at once mundane and wondrous. I felt this strongly when I played the role of steward yesterday. (The steward helps with cooking and general galley maintenance.) On the one hand, I was cooking, simply cooking what I cooked frequently, fried rice the familiar style of my mum back at home. On the other hand, I was cooking, and everything around me was moving—trays, dishes, food of all kinds—and I was moving to keep up with the movement of everything and I was fighting with all my strength to keep on moving, moving, moving while cooking in order to cook. On the other hand, the turquoise waters outside churned, as I could see through the potholes. On the other hand, while I was making home-style fried rice, some of my shipmates out on deck yelled in exhilaration as they spotted dolphins swimming through the currents.
Friends, enemies (but mostly this applies to friends), please rest assured that I am having the most amazing, exciting time out at sea. Everything is so new, yet is also comfortingly familiar on some level, and I
am trying my best to make the most out of my experience here. Special shout out to my family—Mum, your fried rice is still serving me well, evidently—and until next time!