SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans
March 21, 2018
43° 36.1’ S, 173° 11.4’ E
Ship’s Heading & Speed
305° (we’re headed back north!), 6.9 knots
Overcast, cumulus and altostratus clouds (7/8). Winds ENE force 3. Temperature 19°C.
Hello everyone! We continue on our route to Lyttelton today as we approach the end of our time here at sea. We plan to dock around 1300 tomorrow, leaving us with less than twenty-four hours of sea time.
With only one day of sailing ahead of us and a partial day in port, students and crew alike are beginning to reflect upon their time as a part of S-277 while anticipating the excitement of travels to follow. It's a bittersweet time, and although we often mention how it seems so long ago that we (literally) climbed aboard, I think that we all have yet to take in how these past six weeks have shaped us.
As a student aboard C-267, and now a student of S-277, I have come to realize that transitions are one of those givens that are often overlooked, but that they also play an integral role in shaping us. Although we do move from land to sea as the months pass by, our daily life on board is centered around the turnover of watches, the rotation of snacks and meals, and the fading of dusk that slowly leads to the arrival of dawn. Turnover meetings structure these transitions and give the oncoming watch a plan for the upcoming six hours, and as the day marches on we can all anticipate the changes from watch to watch, from meal to meal, and from day to day.
The structure to these transitions so embedded in our daily life aboard, however, cannot carry over as we move from land to sea and back again. We arrive at the ship with only our imaginations (as well as some classwork) to prompt us into our new environment, and have little idea of what the next weeks of our lives will actually look like. It's at once jarring and wonderful to enter both a community and an environment without a chart to guide you, and I believe that it's a feeling that we will never forget.
Now, we prepare to step forward in a similar way. We may be a bit less lost when it comes to land life, but there is no turnover to prepare us for what comes next. We've all changed and grown as our community has evolved, and we've shared something more than just studying abroad together. For these reasons it can be hard to come back to land, where few people understand about hundred counts, going on the bowsprit, or what a ship's community becomes. But at the same time, this secluded knowledge is what makes us hold our experiences so close in our hearts.
I'll still miss timing my movements with the swells, the CHIRP lulling me to sleep at night, and hearing Sabrina's (our steward's) lively voice as she cooks in the galley. But now the bell rings for dinner, so I must prepare for our final watch before we reach the land.
- Katie Armstrong, A Watch, Mount Holyoke College
P.S. A special shout-out to the students and crew of C-267 for encouraging me to sail once more!