17° 55.0’ N x 063° 14.7’ W
Ship’s Heading, Speed and Sail Plan
West of St. Martin steering 210° PSC toward Saba. Sailing under the four lowers (Mains’l, main stays’l, fore stays’l, and jib) on a port tack making 4 knots.
Wind SExE, Force 4. Waves SSE 4ft. 3/8ths cumulus clouds.
Life can really take you places. Physically, we have sailed over 1700 nautical miles, been to three countries/territories, and sailed passed countless more. But also in what you see, do, feel, accomplish, and even eat, life can surprise you.
As a kid who was deathly afraid of sleepovers or spending time anywhere that wasn’t my home until I was probably 14, I could never have imagined that I would be weirdly comfortable on a boat in the middle of the ocean with people I’d known for only a few weeks and others I’d never met.
A year ago, if you told me I would be standing in the lab of a 134 ft. tall ship at 4am counting and identifying buckets of seaweed (Sargassum if you want to keep the scientists happy) I never would have believed you.
A year ago, or probably at literally any point in my life, if you told me that I would WILLINGLY sit down and ENJOY drawing and water coloring I never would have believed you.
A year ago, I never would have believed that I would, on my own accord, sit and practice mindfulness and breathing, focusing on the sounds of the boat sliding through the ocean, the foaming of the waves, the creaking of the masts, and the fluttering of the sails.
The same goes for journaling. I, like many others here on the Cramer, willingly and habitually journal which is something in the past I never would have done or believed I would do. Pre-boat Dillon would probably laugh at and make fun of currently-on-boat Dillon for being “soft.” Maybe post-boat Dillon will too.
A year ago, I also never would have believed that I would be moderately okay with cleaning the dishes and toilets used by 35 people.
And a year ago, Oscar probably never thought he would eat a Mahi Mahi within seconds of its capture.
It’s weird where life can take you.
But that’s what’s cool.
On this boat with no TV, internet, or really any sources of entertainment other than ourselves, you laugh at “jokes” you would never normally laugh at, create games that you would never normally play, draw things you would never draw, notice things about the world you would never notice, and think about things you would never think about.
And as result of that, you form bonds with each other, yourself, and the world around you that you never could have imagined – especially a year ago.
- Dillon LaViale, George Washington University
PS: Mom, Dad, Alana & Karin: Thank you for enabling and supporting me in this journey – each in your own way. It means more to me than the PS section of a blog post can describe. I love and miss you all, think of you often, and trust you are happy, safe, and healthy. I look forward to seeing you all so soon!
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