SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans
October 29, 2015
Life beyond the white noise
25° 24.2’S x 174° 51.2’E
180° Per Ship’s Compass
Sailing on a port tack under the four lowers (Mains’l, Main Stays’l, Fore Stays’l and Jib set)
Force 4 winds, 20° Celsius
I often find myself sitting out on the bow sprit or on top of the doghouse, trying to take a moment just to soak it all in, to understand what it all means and why it’s so important. It is abundantly clear that this experience means more than a semester at school or any other study abroad program for that matter, but I have this feeling deep inside me that there is something going on around me that is changing me. I sit down and want to have this deep realization about what this trip means to me, but I can’t seem to put my finger on it.
But the more and more I think about it, this trip isn’t about any profound statements about life or one specific moment of epiphany. It’s not a means of getting from one destination to another and it’s definitely not about our research projects or lab work. Life on the ship is simply about living life and living life simply. I think this experience is the most lucid snapshot of life unobstructed, with no place for the news, pictures of a friend’s day at the park or even the scores from my favorite sporting teams. Ship life is a life devoid of the drivel that usually consumes my time, the constant
inundation of information. Here I am able to focus on what is most important: watching the sunset with no motive other than to soak in its beauty, developing meaningful friendships through 4am conversations, and getting down and dirty cleaning out the gulpers with Captain Sean, because taking pride in what you do starts from the bottom up and no one is an exception. These are the memories that matter to me and in the end the ship merely acts as a means of amplifying them. It italicizes the beauty, wonder and pleasure of life while simultaneously tuning out all of the distractions and white noise that normally interrupt the simple joys of life. I don’t mean to paint sailing as all sunshine and rainbows, because it is not. Just as in life there are storms and hard work, lots of it, but it definitely puts everything in perspective.
While scrubbing the soles on my hands and knees, I found that this arduous task did little to affect my energy and mood from the breathtaking sunrise an hour before. The humble understanding that we are floating around in the middle of the Pacific with nothing but the winds, the waves, a few good friends and good laughs is enough to keep me upbeat and in high spirits.
Always remember who you are and what you represent,