A Reflection on Time and Journeys at Sea

August 6, 2023

Autumn Crow

Deflating the fenders after departing Savusavu. That's Caleb, left, Emily, and Sam piling on assistant engineer Dewey, in yellow jacket, and Autumn, in purple, with Hannah and Noah.

Ship's Log

18° 15.1’ S x 178° 47.6’ W;  Log: 4461 nm

Overcast, intermittent squalls, refreshingly cool 25°C

Souls on Board

All blogs from S-310

Time is different here. July, it seems, passed as swiftly as the waves against our hull. We’ve spent all thirty days of July (excluding July 25th of course) without a single foot on dry land, in constant motion at the whim of the sea. August, too, with Fiji on all sides (and sometimes underfoot) is whirling by. The views of the endless horizon have now been replaced with the beckoning curves of land in the distance, and soon, we will be stepping off the ship, onto that land, for the last time.Just as July has morphed imperceptibly (but for the length of the blog post document and Chaco tan lines) into August, time follows its own rules when it comes to days, hours, and even minutes. The sun tells the time as it bakes heat into wooden decks and shoulders, but lately time can be told by the saturation of clothes worn underneath foul weather gear. Dockside, the mud of the shore, slowly peaking its way out of the water told us the time as did the stream of curious passersby’s and cars along the harbor road. The stars as they commute nightly across the sky tell us the time though they have lately been shrouded by that layer of clouds that ensure our laundry line is eternally wet.We track time down to the minute, recording sailing maneuvers, monitoring the ship, beginning watches, having meals, and everything in between (though the watch on my wrist still thinks it’s August 5th). Three times a day, the dinner bell gives us time. A wakeup can be expected at 0030 for anyone standing dawn watch. Some have even been known to wake up, unprompted, minutes before their official wakeup, as if our bodies have somehow come in sync with our three-day rotating schedule.Time slips away like the volcanic mud between our fingers as we try to grasp it. On a night spent with friends from other watches, time is so insistent, it rapidly becomes time to go to bed and again start moving in our respective overlapping orbits. Every day, tens of moments pass me by that I wish I could freeze forever.Time (and weather) does not always conform either to our plans. Though many of us expected to wake up this morning underway for Nadi, we were in precisely the same place as when we retired to our bunks the night before, surrounded by hills so picturesque they seem fake, with cars, boats, and people all within visible range. Now we yet again we are underway for our last full day of sailing.

The “lasts” have begun with many more to come. The impending end has been, of late, a physical weight in my stomach that spars constantly with the enjoyment of living fully my final days on this ship with these people. Try as I may to eternalize my time here, time marches brutally forward, insistent on reaching the moment when land will greet feet, and the total company of S-310 on Robert C. Seamans will be all together for one last time.Time is all we have and don’t.~A quote/poem from somebody I can’t remember and also cannot Google. Do your own Googling.Parents: See you soon. I hope you have kept Millard alive. Tell the dogs I’m coming home.

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One Comment

  1. Anonymous August 7, 2023 at 15:45 - Reply

    So glad that you were able to have this experience that will be with you forever. Can’t wait to hear all about it when you get home and we can Skype with you. Much love to you from Skala Fourkas.

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