SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans
April 28, 2014
Happy Birthday, Julian
18° 49.8’ N x 153° 35.4’ W
Within 100 miles of Hilo, Hawaii!
Course & Speed
NWxW, 8 knots
Four lowers (single reefed mainsail, staysails, jib) and the ole’ iron pony (main engine)
Light breeze, our last night sailing under the stars
Tonight is a very special and long anticipated night aboard Mama Seamans. For one thing, we are finally within 100 miles of our final destination, Hilo! 100 miles is still farther offshore than many people ever get in their lives, Chief Mate Jay reminded us during safety drills today, however, it seems tantalizingly close compared to the thousands of miles of open ocean we once had between us and our port. All day and all evening the crew and students (now done with final project work!) have been on deck, looking for the Big Island on the horizon. After many days of barreling at 8 knots under various exciting sail plans, we finally lost our wind a bit and have turned to motorsailing to get us to Hawaii on time to do some exploring.
Although the sailing was incredible while it lasted, we didn’t mourn the end of the stronger winds, because, as previously mentioned, today wasn’t just an ordinary day here. It was Julian Honma’s 22nd birthday, our third student birthday aboard the trip! He very nicely wore the ship’s “birthday shirt” for a good part of the day today, and blew out his imaginary birthday candles on his chocolate cupcakes with realistic oomph. Getting to know Julian has been an awesome part of the semester so far, and I am honored to be able to take this internet opportunity to share a few gems of Julian-ness.
A short list of great things about Julian Honma:
He is a great photographer. From the first week we all knew each other onshore, where he would lie on the ground during meetings and bike-riding training and take pictures of our nervous faces, he made it clear that he will stop at nothing to get a perfect photograph. He also doesn’t care if you don’t want your picture taken. I personally have found myself thanking him later for capturing everything, although I balked and hid when his camera was in my face.
He knows what he likes. Julian’s senses are razor sharp. He knows all parts of the ship by their smell. He also is an expert on the sound that “good bread” makes when you squish it a little bit, and has a refined palate: some favorites are mashed butternut squash and black forest cake. He notices rare cloud formations during class and isn’t afraid to interrupt and point them out to us all.
He makes his own fun, often through music. From making formidable hooting noises as dinner calls to playing the recorder on the foredeck and writing his own compositions about shrimps, Julian’s noises are awesome. I laughed so hard that I cried during his Euphausid (“like Mysids and Shrimps but they are differeeeeeeeent”) performance. In lab yesterday, after demonstrating what a net looked like by mimicking it with his lips, he listed “practice your throat and overtone singing” as one of the tasks for the oncoming watch’s scientific responsibilities.
His accent and French speaking abilities have helped the ship’s company throughout the entire trip. He makes everything sound interesting, even routine ship’s communications, and his generous help with translating and communication made traveling and project work on French-speaking islands much easier too. He also likes making fun of French people. We can appreciate that.
Julian loves rocks. Geology majors aboard the ship are getting SUPER PSYCHED about reaching our destination and gawking at lava formations. I hope I get to hang out with Julian and hike some volcanoes soon.
Getting to know my shipmates and the crazy details of their personalities has been one of the best parts of shipboard life. We were close on shore in Woods Hole, but we have become friends in a very different way onboard the ship; I don’t really even know how to summarize it. I guess we are a true ship’s company, a family of people who are very different, but who share such common interests and now such an intense experience that we have come together and been able to appreciate each other’s awesome quirks. Julian, Sonia, and Hannah (all the students with birthdays at sea), I hope your birthdays were as awesome as this trip has been, and that you all have a great year!
P.S. Dear family, Hi! I am so excited to call you soon! Especially hi to Nana, Nogu and Papa, I have been thinking about you, Hawaii, and boats a lot, and I hope you are all doing well.