SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans
September 30, 2019
Ship’s Heading & Speed
190°, 5.3 knots
Beaufort 4, mostly clear skies, with a few cumulus clouds – great for stargazing!
Last night was my first dawn watch; C watch was on from 0100 to 0700 after B watch took us through the international date line. To the Robert C. Seamans, September 29th never existed. When keeping watch overnight, the seas and the skies are dark, illuminated only by the stars, the moon, and the red lights on board our ship. Initially idle, I paced the quarter deck with Rocky, our watch mate, who pointed out various constellations and spoke about celestial navigation – one of the many tools Pacific Islanders have used for centuries while sailing these same waters. A shooting star blinked across the sky and immediately I was reminded of how very small we are. Not only are we small on this boat in the vast South Pacific, but our world is also microscopic in the scope of the universe – a thought laden with a duality of excitement and fear. After sharing my existential mindset with the rest of the quarterdeck, Rocky pointed out that if the international space station were to pass over us, ten miles high in its orbit, they would be the closest humans to us outside of our vessel.
“Old man shuffling” to my post at lookout around 0300, I couldn’t help but hum to myself: baby beluga in the deep blue sea, you swim so wild, you swim so free, heavens above and the sea below, and a little white whale on the go. The simplest of children’s songs narrating a voyage of proportions most of us have not yet experienced.
I climbed aboard the platform at the foremost point of the deck and clipped my harness to the metal framework of the boat before grabbing hold of the forestay and looking out into the dark sea ahead of us. It can feel like you are truly riding the ocean as you breach the swells, but in the vast darkness of dawn watch I remembered that she is merely playing with the Seamans on her white capped fingertips. And so we continue on to Vava’u, a little white whale in some of the deepest and bluest of seas.