SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans
April 24, 2014
611 nm SW of Hilo, Hawaii
Course & Speed
320 deg psc, 7-8 knots
4 lowers + JT
blustery, partly cloudy
Twenty four hour periods slip by inconspicuously on the boat, where our schedules revolve around the changing of the watch and the hourly ding from the ship’s chronometer. It seems like time has been even sneakier in passing lately, as we have become more in tune with the schedule of ship life, transitioning smoothly from sleep to watch to class to meals to sleep.repeat. Nevertheless, we have somehow crossed off over thirty calendar days since first arriving on the ship, and the end of our journey is creeping closer.
Whether we have noticed it or not, sometime over the past month, life on the ship has become normal to us. We have learned a new language that now flows off our tongues with an ease we never thought possible that first week, when phrases like, “standby to gybe,” or “hands to braces for a starboard side haul,” sent us scattering around deck, frantically trying to remember our proper lines and places. We are steering a straight(er) course at the helm than we did at first, when it was fortunate we were in the wide Pacific, because I know we probably crossed over several lines of longitude when I was at the helm for the first time. We are now used to the sight of a pack of shipmates running around deck at twilight, sextants in hand, alternately shouting things such as “Look, if you hurry you can get Sirius!” followed by “Standby.mark!” In short, we have adapted. Although we will be returning to shore soon and resuming familiar routines such as sleeping through the night, changing our clothes daily rather than weekly, and showering (semi) regularly, there are habits and skills we have learned, both consciously and unconsciously, aboard Seamans that will undoubtedly stick with us. In a world where our senses are so often dulled by hectic schedules and computer screens, life on board has taught us to re-tune our eyes and ears to the world around us. Never has our dependence on and connection to the natural world been so manifest than it is now, when our every thought and action is driven by the sea and wind around us. We have learned to depend on each other as well as ourselves, discovering our own capabilities while at the same time placing ultimate trust in our shipmates, with the knowledge that they will keep us safe and will be there for us when we falter. We have learned to be flexible and to keep our balance, sometimes more gracefully than others, when the ship and seas send us an unexpected roll. Soon, we’ll be back on solid ground and going our respective ways, but for now we are savoring the return of the starry sky after several cloudy nights and the feel of the trade winds pushing us briskly through the waves. (And, yes, we are also working our tails off on those pesky science projects, but that part is less fun to blog about). When this crazy semester does come to a close, and we return home or to school or continue our travels, don’t be surprised if you see us outside at 3 am in the morning calculating the cloud cover, or we seem to have an annoying habit of pointing out the wind direction every five minutes, or a strange urge to give the bathroom a good scrubbing every three days. It’s just that there will always be a little piece of the Seamans in all of us.
We have made a heck of a lot of crazy memories over the past three months that wouldn’t have been possible without the people at home who supported us, or all the incredible crew members who have shared vast stores of knowledge with us, put up with our weirdness, and showed us what we were truly capable of. So, thank you. Family: I love you as much as all the mountains, can’t wait to see you soon, and I’ll be calling you up on the telly right quick as soon as we pull into Hawaii. Funky bunch: Miss you a lot times a billion, I hope you’re having a great 8th block and that you dance your feet all the way off at blues and shoes, and I can’t wait to see you! Cheers, Sarah