SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans
July 28, 2016
Musings of a Salty Sailor
4° 27.7’ S x 172° 17.3’ W
Currently 200nm SE of Winslow Reef
Weather / Sail Plan
Sailing on a Starboard tack under the four lowers, NE winds/ 3ft swells/Starry night
Land Ho!..I hear shouted from above as I finish up the last set of breakfast dishes down below in the galley. I make my way onto the quarterdeck and inform my watch officer (Ryan) all the dishes have been completed. Ryan replies by asking if I could relieve the helmsman. A feeling of relief fills me, for I always find great pleasure when being on the helm, a combination of peacefulness and power within the grasp of my hands. With great excitement I grab hold of the spokes and begin to sail us into what we soon discovered to be a paradise.
As we get closer and closer, the coconut trees grow larger and the small waves crashing along the reef become clearer. After taking some time to find the right spot, figure out the current and depth, and Cap gives the signal to release the anchor! We have reached Orona, one of the Phoenix Islands’ remote and isolated atolls, and the second anchor stop on our odyssey. It’s a surreal feeling seeing land after sailing for weeks at a time, especially being out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean in water depths thousands of meters deep. The islands were crafted a couple million years ago from deep volcanic eruptions, and then shaped over time by weather and subsidence. Atolls are magical places, a place where everything is 100% organic. Everything is either a living organism or has been produced by a living organism. Charles Darwin once described it as a “picture in a frame” - the island itself was the picture, the bordering reef, the frame. A picture words cannot fully describe. Within the ring of the atoll holds a magnificent lagoon, an absolutely stunning sight, but what lies below is where the true beauty is. Hundreds of feet of ancient reef thriving with life and every color you could imagine. If only you could feel the eagerness and exhilaration that ran through my body as we approached the island. The thought that we are some of less than 150 people to ever lay eyes on the reef made it hard for me to sleep at night.
But rather than making you too jealous of this underwater Eden, I want to talk about life at sea. A little over three weeks ago a group of 23 brave and courageous students driven by passion for adventure and the environment boarded a tall sailing ship. Most with very little to zero sailing experience, we all had the boldness to step aboard the 135ft sail boat and embark on this life changing journey. Adjustments did not happen over night for most, constant battles with the stomach at the rail and restless nights with little sleep. This was a challenge I looked forward to, for I have grown up on boats and on the water fishing and surfing in FL. But I never have I been at sea this long, nor in the Pacific before: it was the ultimate way to test my sea legs. After weeks of sailing through 1-12ft seas and multiple squalls, I can proudly say that I have not yet donated my lunch to Neptune.
Speaking of Neptune (Hail Neptune!), we successfully sailed across the equator and earned our rights as shellbacks! As we sail into the end of our fourth week at sea I can happily say that my shipmates have also found their own legs to walk on. On my time off from watch I enjoy sleeping, playing guitar, reading, working-out, working on my projects, and my favorite, being in the present moment. These are times I will never overlook, shared with people I will never forget. The sunrises, sunsets, moonrises, and starry nights we have crossways with have been unquestionably breathtaking. Fun fact, my shooting star count is at 57 and do not worry I made wishes for each one. Besides all the excitement and joy aboard the Robert C. Seamans, being disconnected from my friends and family has been tough on me. Going from a call or text away to zero communication is definitely hard-hitting. Makes you very grateful and appreciative of all the little things we take for granted.
Thank you to all who have helped me get to where I am today. To my beloved family back home, I miss you dearly and hope you all are healthy, happy, and enjoying every moment each day brings. For the boys back home, the surf and diving have been unreal. Even though I haven’t surfed, I spend every meal at anchor on the doghouse with binoculars watching sets never surfed before roll through. Everyone reading, you have one life so live it right, go for what makes you truly happy.
Stay blessed and Onelove,