I believe…?

October 6, 2022

Henry Hua, A Watch, Cornell University

6 Oct 22 Blog (2) Resized

Black Footed Albatross

Ship's Log

Noon Position
26°18.5’N x 123°22.9’W

Ship Heading
170°

Ship Speed
9.0 knots

Taffrail Log
620.5 n.m

Weather / Wind / Sail Plan
Motor sailing under trys’l, main stays’l, and fore stays’l. 6/8 sky coverage of stratus and stratocumulus clouds, wind from SE at Beaufort Force 1.

Description of location
620.5 Nautical Miles Southwest of San Diego

Souls on Board

All blogs from S-282

I believe.

I’m excited to explore the unknown, honored to be a crew member on board the Robert C. Seamans, and impatient for the moment when we can finally leave San Diego. I believe that everyone’s promises for an amazing voyage will follow through. I believe that the ocean is an incredible landscape, yet to be experienced by many of us. I believe that I’ll integrate into the watch schedule successfully. I believe that I’ll be able to follow a “normal” routine and stay healthy. I believe life on board the Robert C. Seamans will be amazing.

I absolutely cannot believe I’m seasick beyond my wildest imagination, I threw up four times on my watch between 01:00 and 07:00, and I wish I were back on stable ground. I absolutely cannot believe past students have enjoyed a voyage like this.

Open ocean sailing for 6 weeks?!? Some students come back for more trips?!?

I absolutely cannot believe the capacity for scientists to study the ocean in these conditions. I can’t last 5 minutes in the lab and even if I could, I get thrown around with every pass of a wave. I absolutely cannot believe that I’ll feel my best during any of the watches. It’s like I’m always playing catch up with sleep. I absolutely cannot believe that I’ll maintain a stable routine. We’re on watch at different hours every shift, I can barely walk straight, much less exercise, and I still don’t know when to shower or do laundry. I absolutely cannot believe life on board the Robert C. Seamans will feel normal.

I cautiously believe.

Well, I’m able to keep my food down now and enjoy the amazing dishes cooked by Jackie and Paul, I can finally read without feeling disoriented, and I can stay below deck to write this blog post! I cautiously believe the accounts of the returning crew members. The nature of the community, the ship, and the way the horizon meets the water has such a strong appeal. I cautiously believe that science on board ships is actually possible. Olivia, Kris, and I were able to count 100 individual zooplankton and actually have fun doing it. I cautiously believe that I’ll find my way around the watch schedule. Whatever the time is, I’m able to get sleep, stay focused, and contribute as a crew member. All crew members were there for me when I was tired, could barely step away from the side of the ship, and was low on motivation. I cautiously believe that I will eventually have some sort of routine. If that means living in 18 hour blocks with eating, sleeping, exercising, learning, and personal care within that block for the next 6 weeks, I’ll find my way. I cautiously believe life on board the Robert C. Seamans will be challenging, and will therefore allow me to grow.

I find myself reflecting on the incredible organisms we’ve already come across. The turtle we saw at the San Diego maritime museum represents my hopes. I hope I’m prepared for the coming challenges, like that injured, but thriving turtle is. The kelp we passed on the way out of the harbor represents my insecurities. I held on too tight to my norms, resisting the changes that are inherent with life on board a ship. The albatross we spotted represents my newfound insight. I have let go, untethered myself from unreasonable expectations and let the wind and waves carry me through these wondrous days.

Orrrrrr I’m just not seasick anymore so I’m having a lot more fun!

- Henry Hua, A Watch, Cornell University

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3 Comments

  1. Stephen Held October 8, 2022 at 10:48 - Reply

    Henry, this line out of your honest and appreciated blog represents so much of life.
    “I cautiously believe life on board the Robert C. Seamans will be challenging, and will therefore allow me to grow.”
    I wholeheartedly believe in you, and all of your crew to come through.
    Congratulations and laugh when you can! Everything will be ok… 🙂

  2. Jackie Fox (Ali's mom) October 8, 2022 at 12:56 - Reply

    I laughed out loud starting the second paragraph, with its transition from starry-eyed optimism to abrupt encounter with reality. What you’ve written speaks so universally of the challenges that change brings, but it has enough details that we get a sense of how and what our particular “soul on board” may have been feeling and doing these past 10 days, as well as a sense of the strong support you all have on this journey. Thank you, and glad you are feeling better. Yay!

  3. Lisa October 9, 2022 at 11:10 - Reply

    Love reading the varied blog posts. Thank you all.

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