SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans
August 11, 2016
Am Sam, Thank you Ma’am
14°18.1’S x 170°39.7’W
Anchored in Pago Pago Harbour
Winds ExS f4
What day is it? Where are we? What happened?
I thought this high seas adventure would never end- I didn’t want it to. Let’s turn around and just sail back to Hawai’i. There are plenty of other islands we can stop at, if we wish to stop at all. Let’s live off of coconuts and swim with the bumpheads like the good ‘ole days. Let’s do science and unleash the secrets of the deep. Let’s look up to the constellations and share our stories. Set the Fish! We’ve got miles to make! We’ve got places to be!
That sounds ideal, but it is not reality. American Samoa juts out of the South Pacific as a strong beacon calling us back to our terrestrial lives. But our nautical lives… that was reality too. We did brave the ITCZ, and meet Neptune, and swim among some of the best corals in the world, and see a plentitude of sharks and fish, and ID hundreds of zooplankton (many times at the witching hours of the night), and share a meal and music with I-Kiribati, and laugh, and cry, and study, and smile, and so much more. And lest we forget, we have each found a family that will be there to remind us because they were witnesses too.
Emotions of every kind are in the air today. Anticipation: to finish our projects well, and talk to loved ones. Excitement: whales and spinners greeting us at American Samoa. Sadness: unwilling to say goodbye or begin to pack because that means it’s over.
But we have today! Still untethered to the land (well surrounded by water but anchored). And today we will clean our hearts out because this ship, our floating home, deserves our love. Not only that fun, but we will share a final dinner and entertain one another and appreciate each other’s presence.
Before I was accepted to SEA Semester, my mom told me that she was concerned that if I went I would have such an amazing experience, and because of that I would always be seeking something more forever. That is a very legitimate fear, but I did not see why that would deter me from coming. If anything, it made me want to sail more. Who gets to do this!? This is so wild. It blew my mind over and over; who am I to be able to stand at the helm and drive this ship? Who am I to be able to put my input into real policy and science? So much responsibility and awesomeness in one; how did my life to come this?
Yeah, so this is it. Maybe I will be seeking something to top this for a while, but that’s life- a big crazy adventure. Here are a few lessons from this trip that don’t involve sail handling, science, or marine policy: 1) even the mediocre things are part of the big adventure, 2) be in the moment and conscious of the humans and environment around you, 3) appreciate your role in group dynamics and on Earth, and so many more intangibles.
I wish everyone reading this could see what we saw. It is so difficult to try to put into words a good summation of all that has happened. I hope that someday we get to see the fruition of our work in Phoenix Islands and that everyone learns to treat the world a little more kindly- it’s a rough job to keep everyone on it happy and healthy so we may as well help as much as we can.
So long PIPA- and thanks for all the fish.
P.S: family- I know I said I would be in American Samoa on the 12th, but data and roaming charges are crazy so don’t be alarmed if you don’t hear from me until the 13th. Love you and see you soon!