Hello from the middle of the ocean! Clearly we've been here for some time, but every time I walk on deck to realize we're surrounded 360 degrees by only ocean, it hits different. You would think that I'd have my sea legs by now, but it still feels like every ladder I climb is fighting me and winning. Today is my birthday, and I got to start it with dawn watch at 0100 (shoutout to my birthday buddy and fellow
A-watcher, Arielle, for yesterday's blog. She killed it as b-j-jwo). Dawn watch can be really hit or miss. Sometimes the whole sky is lit up by stars and you get to see constellations, shooting stars, and satellites. Other times it's dark, wet, and cold. This morning was the former! I spent the first hour on lookout, praying that the impending black cloud wouldn't soak me in my extremely exposed position. Thankfully it didn't, and the sky cleared up to reveal some of our favorite constellations. The watch went by quickly, as it does when you're in a sleepy daze. At 3 AM I made myself some ramen and remarked to some of my watch mates that it probably wasn't my first ever 3 AM birthday ramen, but definitely the most unique.
The best part of dawn watch is the end (Haha. Not kidding though). In the final hour, a beautiful thing happens where the sun starts to light up the sky, and for a few minutes you can see stars on one side of the sky and the first light of sunrise on the other. Once wakeups are done for the next watch (and the Others!), people start to trickle on deck to watch the sky change colors. You can laugh with your still-half-asleep friends and about-to-be-asleep friends all at once! It all makes up for the lonely moments on the helm when it's dark and you feel like you're the only person awake for miles.
The rest of the day was so pleasant. We had our lab practical during class, and got to show off our extensive knowledge of deployments and oceanographic techniques. After we finished, the barber shop opened, and several people got fresh new cuts. C-Watch put up the Jib Tops'l, a first for this journey! We had funfetti cupcakes for snack (soo good, as everyone says now) and enjoyed the beautiful weather on deck. At risk of sounding too sentimentalT, I'm really going to miss my life here on the Bobby C. Even more, I'll miss all the amazing people around me who have made this 140 foot vessel a home.
Much love to all my family and friends back home. Thank you for supporting this crazy thing that I'm doing! Extra love to my dog, Charlie, who I think about every day. Also, Happy (almost) Birthday to my sister, Kelley! For the longest period of time ever, I'm only a year younger than you. That's wild.
- Catherine Czajka, A Watch, University of Delaware