May 22nd, 2007. Aboard the SSV Robert C. Seamans. [ed. note -- This is a posting from a student on May 22.]
After ten long days of waiting, my dream had finally come. For months I had imagined this moment: sitting on top of the wind, 60 feet above the deck, staring in wonder at the vast blue surrounding me. I felt like I could see forever, not because we were in the middle of nowhere, but because we were in the center of something.
Studying oceanography gives one an entirely new perspective on the world - an entirely different dimension, almost invisible from the surface. A glance over the blue would yield nothing more than waves, but the flying fish and seabirds give a glimpse of the land beneath. It's impossible to be alone on the high seas with so much "something" around you.
We lay there on top of the yard, watching the people on deck so far beneath us, suddenly part of a separate layer of Earth. You don't know the troposphere until you get off the ground. Up here we were weightless. We were free. We were not as human, or at least not at an evolutionary advantage - most humans should have better common sense than to climb up the mast on a tall ship. But at that moment, all the way I had come to get here now had a purpose.
I anticipated this voyage for over a year, but the R.C. Seamans was only a means to a beginning. To be a true oceanographer, you have to understand the inhabitants of the sea, but to see beyond the science, you must understand what the ocean inhabits.
The view from the top is great. - Kat Hoffman, Stanford@SEA student