Saturday, May 9, 2015

The Journey Begins

The Robert C. Seamans at port in Papeete, Tahiti
It feels as though months have passed since I flew to Tahiti just one week ago.  With my friends back at Stanford bogged down with week-six midterms, I thought it couldn't get much better than living in a bungalow in Moorea and spending my free time exploring the island.  But these last couple of days have proved me wrong.

I'll admit - I had my reservations when I first saw my tiny bunk with a single drawer and shelf and felt the sweltering heat in the cabins below deck.  I sweat out all the water I had drunk on Thursday as I unpacked, only to realize I would inevitably need to sleep with my backpack and some of my clothes in my bed.  And whether it was fatigue from a lack of sleep or the beginnings of seasickness, I wasn't very hungry when dinner rolled around and woke up shaky from my nap before my first watch.  But the nausea went away quickly after a chocolate chip cookie and some time at the helm, and I soon found myself enjoying every minute of midwatch.

In the last 24 hours, I've steered the Robert C. Seamans using only the stars, seen a flying fish glide for several meters over the water, and felt the luffing of a sail as I handled its line.  I don't think I'll ever get tired of standing lookout at the front of the ship and watching the swells shift colors under the clouds as we barely skirt the storm clouds overhead.

And another unanticipated perk of life on the Seamans: the food is delicious
- thank you Vickie!

To briefly recap our first two days on the ship, we set sail around 15:45 on Thursday evening, and all three watches have had at least two shifts so far.

We caught our first fish, a wahoo, this morning and brought in a skipjack tuna this afternoon during class.  Today we held our first class on the quarterdeck and ran two emergency preparedness drills, and while I've been fortunate enough to avoid seasickness (knock-on-wood), others have not been so lucky.  Despite the heat, I've found that sleeping comes pretty easily after a busy watch, and learning the stars under a beautifully clear night sky has been much easier than identifying them through the clouds and city lights in Monterey.

Tomorrow morning we'll arrive at Rangiroa, and I'm looking forward to being on dawn watch when we first sight the island (so I guess I should probably get some sleep).  The next four and a half weeks are going to be challenging, especially without contact with family and friends (we miss you Zach!), but I can't wait to spend the rest of this quarter on Mama Seamans getting to know her 38 amazing crew members.


Until next time,
Kylie

2 comments:

KarenH said...

Can't imagine sleeping in such a confining space!

Darryl Jue said...

Glad to see the voyage is underway. What a tremendous experience! Enjoy it!