SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans
April 26, 2014
You’re Not the Same Person That Walked Aboard
340 nautical miles to Hilo, HI
Course & Speed
315 degrees at 7-8 knots
Four lowers with Storm Trys’l
Stars, Stars, Stars! 74 degrees air temperature, which now feels frigid and requires jackets!
“You’re not the same person that walked aboard on March 22” were the words written by Captain in our night orders. This simple phrase lingered with me as I stepped onto the deck ready to take over as the JWO for the night. It made me think that sometimes it’s hard to recognize change when it’s gradual, that is, until you take a step back and reflect at how far you’ve come. If one month ago someone told me I would confidently lead my shipmates through gybing a brigantine, I would have thought they were absolutely crazy (Oh wait, they did say that). But now 3,000 nautical miles later, S252 has successfully gotten the ship hove to, gybed and tacked for various purposes, navigated by stars, and directed science deployments. Our competence as sailors, scientists, leaders and shipmates has come a long ways and sometimes it takes just a simple phrase to recognize this.
In the morning, due to the rolling swells that have turned life on board into a real-life pinball game, it was decided that we would delay our weekly Field Day (“cleaning on steroids”). This freed up some time to work on our final science projects, catch up on some sleep, or to relax on deck and enjoy the cooling breeze of the north trade winds. While on deck, it never gets old watching the swells approach us from the windward side, slapping water onto the deck as it glides underneath us, making the ship pitch and roll to a degree that would have terrified us at the beginning of our journey. However, we have now come to embrace life on the starboard tack with these rolling seas and know just how to anticipate the movement of the ship in order to stride somewhat gracefully across the deck.
In all, while gybing a brigantine and being able to walk at a 25 degree angle might seem impressive, perhaps what better reflects the extent of our nautical knowledge is our new found ability of nautical pickup lines. They seem to come to us more easily each day and I think today we had some of our best yet. Surely this is one more sign of our intellectual progress.
Although we have certainly embraced the seafaring lifestyle, we are all still very excited to get reconnected with family and friends. We are trying to take it all in and make the most of our last couple days here, knowing very well that we will not be the same person stepping off the ship.