SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans
July 28, 2014
Keeper of the Coconuts
3° 53’ 04.80” S x 173° 23’ 33.60” W
Making way to Winslow
Four lowers, starboard tack
Today marks a full week since we sailed out of the blinding blue lagoon of Kanton, and I am still hearing echoes of Kantonian kindness and generosity, trailing us around the ship as we make our way to our last two island stops in the protected area. Dried, faded flower crowns hang on the tiki in the doghouse, shell necklaces spruce up bunks and cabins, and people constantly pop their heads into the galley to ask me for a coconut from the reefer, where crates and crates of the precious commodity lie in waiting. It’s not an uncommon sight to spy a helmsman, one hand on the wheel, and the other glamorously cradling a freshly opened coconut, out of which one can easily expect to decant a full 14 ounces of chilly, sweet water. After many attempts at reinventing the coconut, Keitapu mercifully gave us a coconut opening demo, gracefully wielding only a butter knife and causing himself no injuries. As these immediate reminders of our time on Kanton begin to fade from sight-the coconuts consumed, the flowers tossed into the sea, and the shell necklaces packaged up to eventually be taken home—the seed of a whole new variety of generosity, strength, and kindness has sprouted in all of our minds, and will hopefully spread with all the vigor of an invasive plant wherever we may travel on from here.
As steward, I am not only the keeper of the coconuts, but am also the lucky one who gets to spend a whole day cooking with each student, and soon, each deckhand, ultimately giving my galley over to the entire professional crew for “staff in the galley day,” also known to stewards as “the most terrifying day of your life.” On the docket for tomorrow (with galley goddess extraordinaire LP) is an exciting culinary adventure beginning in Paris with some sweet and savory crepes, and ending comfortably in America with a good ol’ bacon cheeseburger. Surely there will be some South Pacific
coconut detours along the way.
I am anxiously looking forward to our last two stops before we begin the final leg of our journey to American Samoa. Each anchorage we make just adds more icing to this magnificent (melty) cake. Just two days ago we snorkeled through a lagoon full of baby black tip reef sharks, so I won’t be at all surprised if there is something completely unexpected and jaw-droppingly beautiful awaiting us just over the next swell.
Also of great importance is the wishing of the happiest of birthdays to my dear daddio, and a big hello to mum, Seth & Carla (ahh!!!), and my Portland peeps. I brag about Maine all day, every day. I guess I really miss you guys. And with that I bid you adieu!