I’m not usually very good with words, especially when it comes to talking in person. I mostly credit that to the fact that I’ve lived with a stutter for most of my life. However, I’ve noticed that there have been times in my life where I can barely recognize my stutter, and if you were talking to me, you wouldn’t know that I had one unless I told you that I did. After years of wondering why the severity of my stutter varies, I’ve narrowed it down to one thing, I typically only stutter when I’m nervous or in an unfamiliar situation. The beginning of my time here at SEA was once such example, as I’ve never been further than a couple miles offshore, especially on a 134.5 ft. long tall ship, in my life.
However, whenever I find myself in a good spot in life, surrounded by people that I trust and that I care about my stutter seems to almost disappear magically. There may be the occasional slip up every now and then, but it rarely ever does when I find myself like this. After six long weeks, while at the same time being all-too short, I think I can count the times I’ve stuttered on one hand now that we’re at the end.
This group of people, the crew, and all my fellow students made that possible for me. These people have been the only ones that I’ve known for six weeks, and they’ve all become my family. The fact that it all comes to an end today, that we finally depart the Robert C. Seamans and make our home on land once again is bewildering. How is it that I just must stop eating, sleeping, talking, singing, and living life with these people that I’ve spent the last six weeks of my life with?
After Swizzle (the Seaman’s own rendition of a talent show), we all gathered down below deck (due to the rain last night) and shared stories of harrowing tales on deck as well as the lab haikus written during dawn watches. We also got to share any last words that we wanted to share with the crew while we had everyone gathered. Ben eloquently put it that “this group of people, the likes of this crew, will never be seen again. While people from this trip may sail together again, the group as it stands now is entirely unique and entirely amazing.” We all made this trip what it was, and I couldn’t have imagined it without all of you.
As excited as I am to spend time exploring Honolulu, and to get to call my friends and my family, I’m finding it hard to step off the gangplank. Post swizzle, and post reading all my classmates’ blog posts, I find myself sitting on the quarter deck writing this blog post. It’s currently 23:49 on the 25th, and I have my final dawn deck watch at five in the morning tomorrow (although that’d be today by the time you’re reading this).
Post sheet anchor gallery, post whale watches and swim calls, post our 3227 nautical mile trip across the Pacific to Palmyra and back I find myself with the last (at least I’m pretty sure it’s the last) blog post. Thank you first and foremost to the crew. Without you we would’ve never made it, and you all have been such an amazing wealth of information on anything and everything we could think of. To Captain Allison, thank you for our talks about Colgate University (go ‘gate) and for your guidance at helm. And finally, to all my classmates, thank you for everything - I love each and every one of you. Always remember what we accomplished here and what we managed to become as a group.
While not everyone may get the chance to read this as we all have a million things flying through our minds and as we will be departing the ship early tomorrow morning, I hope those that do believe it was an okay way to end it off. I may not be the best with words, but I hope I was able to summarize the experience and how thankful I am for all of you. I may not always say it, but damn what a great group of people and what trip we just went on. As Winnie the Pooh so perfectly says, “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” I’m going to miss you guys, but hey who knows. Maybe we’ll see each other again sailing across the seven seas on the Robert C. Seamans once again in the future. I like to think that this isn’t going to be the last I’m going to see of you all. Skyler going down below.
Skyler Bertrand, Barnacle Baddies for life, Colgate University
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