June 12, 2007. Aboard the SSV Robert C. Seamans, at dock in Honolulu. The city lights of Honolulu are so tantalizingly close, yet we are still so far away, so far detached from our land lives. The yellow flag flying on our mast indicates we have not yet cleared customs; we are still a part of the sea, an attraction of camera-flashing cruise-ship spectators. Now we celebrate our journey and prepare for our return to land.
There is something comforting about a green slab of land, rising high in the sky, up to misty clouds. We have casually cruised around the islands of Maui, Lanai and Molokai -- it has been more than a month since we have seen land higher than two meters (six feet) elevation. The green corrugated hills with white birds flitting over the soft covering of rainforest mesmerize us all while the calm waters quietly lull us out of our Pacific dream.
We have come so far on this journey, more than 3,000 nautical miles through the Pacific. In our last day of class we reflected on what we missed the most and least during our trip: the Internet, e-mail, a preoccupation with the media -- all the things that complicate our normal lives and make us lose sight of our true importance and where we are going. Here we gaze into the vast ocean and realize our insignificance against something larger than comprehension. Here the sea enlivens our passions and courses through our hearts.
Even though we may leave sight of the ocean for the first time in months, we will never forget the smiling faces of Kiribati, intricate creatures, glimmering sunsets, countless stars scattered throughout the night sky. These have shaped our thoughts of conservation and our own perceptions forever. We ecstatically await sharing our fabulous experiences, only hoping to communicate a portion of the experience that we will remember forever. -- Johnny Bartz, Stanford@SEA student