SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans
August 07, 2018
Goodbye to the Phoenix Islands
Ship’s heading and speed
110° at ~6 knots
29° C with clear skies, but haze along the horizon
Today was a bittersweet day for all of us. Around 1245 we crossed the PIPA boundary and sailed into a new EEZ. Although most of us are excited to get home soon, as well as to be done with all of our assignments in the next few days, PIPA has treated us extraordinarily well over the past 3.5 weeks. Between meeting the amazing people of Kanton, seeing giant clams in Orona, and walking along the beautiful shore of Nikumaroro, it is truly hard to say goodbye. It seems like just yesterday we all clumsily boarded the ship and started developing our sea legs. Now I'm not even sure if I remember how to shower while standing on a still surface.
With another milestone in the (log)books, we had a discussion during our class time today to reflect on our time in PIPA. The topic of how to bring our experiences to others was brought up promptly. I know I have struggled with the idea of how to convey how remarkable this trip has been. I have pictures, and I can surely try to explain the beauty and uniqueness of PIPA to my loved ones when I get back home, but there is nothing that will compare to experiencing it firsthand like all of us have been lucky enough to. So how do we get people to care about PIPA and other MPAs like it? Aside from all of us eagerly sharing our stories with those in our inner circles, there's the possibility of sister MPAs - because PIPA is so remote, it is unlikely that our friends and families will ever be able to visit (sad, I know), but why not travel to more accessible MPAs! Creating memories with beautiful natural areas and being able to understand why they are important is one of the ways we can get people to care about places like PIPA. If someone cares about another MPA and all its benefits to the ecosystem, then they can certainly appreciate the importance of PIPA too.
When someone loves something, they care about it, and when they care about it, they want to protect it. This theme was the common denominator of my undergraduate studies. Now I see this echoed over and over in a place where it is so true. Getting people to love these natural places and all they have to offer is the key to sustaining them.
For all of you reading this, we can't wait to share more of our stories with you. We want you to love and care about PIPA as much as we do.
Makaila Lyons, C Watch, McDaniel College Alum
Shoutouts: Mama: Hi! I miss you and get to see you so soon! I will make sure to get you as many spoons as I can on my layovers. I hope everything is well at home; please send Dee my love too! Also, would you be able to make me a dermatologist appointment for when I get home? I'm totally fine, I just think it would be a good idea after all this sun! Papa: I hope all is well at the office and at home! Hopefully the new office is in full swing by the time I get back. Can't wait! Also, let's find an open gym to play some volleyball at before you head off to SC. My siblings: I miss and love each and every one of you. I talk about you guys all the time. I'll be home soon to tell you all about my trip. Happy birthday Jake and Drake!!! (Happy early birthday Maria!) My closest friends: So much love for you all. I have a few jokes saved up that I've heard during the trip. They're all pretty bad so naturally I can't wait to share them with you all! Zachary: Hello lovebug! I love and miss you so much! We should be getting into American Samoa in 5 (!!!!!) short days. I think I will be able to contact you then. My phone is quite broken at this point (half of the screen is black) but I will try my darndest. If not, I'll send you a groupme when I get wifi again! I hope you get to visit your mom for her birthday-happy birthday Mama Janenise! Also let's do something fun the weekend after I get back. Maybe Martha's Vineyard? Give love to Ano and Gurty for me. See you so so soon!!