Neuston Net Deployment ( Lexi left and me on right)
05º 41.1’N x 126º15.8’W
Wind, Weather and Sail Plan
B watch (Murray) relieved A watch (Swedberg) motorsailing on a port tack under the stays’ls.
Main engine turning 1300 RPM. Wind S x W, force 3. Course ordered 180º PSC (Per Ships Compass).
Description of Location
Middle of Pacific surrounded by nothing but water and Mahi Mahi.
Hey guys! I’m alive and well – eating pretty well too!
I’ve learned a lot since coexisting with 38 other people on a tall ship in the middle of the Pacific. Here are just a few of the things I’ve found notable about my experience thus far:
1. I value caffeine.
a. I am awoken by a soft (and sometimes harsh) whisper from a shipmate
from the previous watch. It is hard to get out of bed at 1 AM in the morning to go outside on deck and stand watch, rain or shine. My only hope is knowing there is a nice hot cup of coffee calling my name if I get out of bed fast enough. The contents of my coffee are what carry me throughout my watch until the 6-hour shift ends and back to sleep I go. Caffeine is what drives me up every time I have to awaken for my watch that runs on an 18 hour day – 6 hours on and about 12 hours off (all of which are used for sleep, meals, class, drills, meetings, and cleaning – we pack in a lot!).
Rinse and repeat - coffee is key.
2. I am literally out in the middle of nowhere.
a. I look out on watch to the vast ocean layed before me, seeing nothing but blue waters and waves that break the surface – there is NOTHING around us. The constant feeling of needing to check my phone for who has texted me, or an email that was sent about needing to do something, is no longer a reality – it feels so great and stress free – I don’t have a worry in the world except my ship, my shipmates and myself (the motto we like to live by here on the Seamans). This time disconnected has been reflective and eye opening to staying real and connected to the world/people around me. It has made me realize the value of community and the beauties that living this way has to offer, staying grounded to the type of person I hope to become.
Appreciating what is in front of me and the people that I share my time with has been crucial. I think it’s been amazing to take a moment and realize to STOP stressing about the future and just appreciate what you have in this moment and time – this is something I will take with me forever and hope to instill in my everyday life.
3. I am a new big sister.
a. On October 4th I was on watch working in the lab, setting up our CTD (Conductivity Temperature and Depth) machine for deployment when Captain Kevo comes in with a message. “The stork has come” he announces. I had patiently been waiting for a message that the birth of my new baby sibling had gone well for both my step mom, Andrea, and my new brother or sister. I eagerly accept the note that Kevo gives me and find out that I have a new baby brother – Charles Richard Ryan (AKA Lil’Dicky – after my grandfather Richard, known as Dicky). I cannot wait to tell him when he’s older that I was on a tall ship out in the middle of the Pacific, literally in the middle of research when I found out he was born through a piece of paper with a note and picture of him (how wild??!!) – I can’t wait to meet him! Andrea I hope you are recovering well and that Charles has been doing great – as I have no doubt you both are (and my dad and Nicholas too!) – love you both and glad everything went smoothly!
Fish Fillet (just me and me fish friend)
4. I can fillet a fish.
a. After watching our Stew Paul and Nate the fish guy fillet a couple of the fish we have caught onboard, I decided that I wanted to learn how to fillet myself – as its always been a skill I’ve wanted to learn (obviously).
We set line out mostly every day in hopes that we will catch some fresh dinner for the ship to enjoy – my favorite was a tuna used for poke bowls!
When the lines go off, the nearest person yells “DIJON” (an adaptation of the phrase “fish on” that was mistakenly heard down below deck). Following the call, whoever’s close rush to the lines and we start reeling in our catch. I have reeled in a few or two lines with little to no reward of a fish on the hook – but this time I decided the fish would be mine. I reeled in a big Mahi Mahi and brought it on deck, where (with the help of others) we put the fish out of its misery and harvested the meat for a delicious dinner that would later come prepared by our stewards. It was humbling to see the meat come straight from the animal, minutes before it was swimming in the big blue ocean, and taken by my very own hands.
5. Always brace yourself.
a. Living on a boat comes with its challenges, like any other new environment. However, this new environment come with the constant rocking and rolling of the very ground beneath your feet. I have been thrown into walls, tables, shelves, railings and more – but hey, it’s a part of the learning curve, right? I have learned to always be prepared for the next swell we hit that may throw me in any direction. At night this unpredictability comes with its nuances as well. I have engineered the perfect sleeping position in which to wedge my limbs under the nooks and crannies of my bed in order to ensure I will not wake up with my face on the floor outside my bunk – it’s been working so far.
6. I fear birds.
a. Along our journey we have picked up a few hitchhikers of the bird species – specifically boobies. These birds have reigned terror on all of us as we are pooped on left and right. Going out on deck is a dangerous game as you might be struck by flying booby poop at any moment. I personally have fallen victim a number of times – bird poop in the face is the worst way to go. If the saying is true that its good luck if your pooped on by a bird, then we are all pretty dam lucky these days.
I have really gotten comfortable with being uncomfortable - which has made me appreciate the little things in everything I do. I think this has been a great motto for all of us on the ship!
Notes to the people I love:
To ALL my family: I love and miss you all so much – it’s hard not being able to talk to you guys – I’m thinking of each and every one of you. I hope everything is going awesome in school, work, and life – I know you're all thriving in whatever you guys are doing! I miss and love you mom <3
To Benders and my Eckerd family: I miss you guys so much you have no idea! I hope the first semester has been fire and you guys are having so much fun!!
I can’t wait to hear all about what’s been going on and all your life updates. I love and miss you guys immensely – I’ll see you soon and cannot wait!!!!
To Rachel and Fin - I miss you guys and hope you have been enjoying the dog park and beach without me 🙁 I hope work, volleyball and life have been going great and that you’re getting phat dubs in your games. love and miss you guys, maybe even Fin’s barking (maybe).
To Tynon and Cali: You have no idea how much I miss you two, and how hard it has been being away for so long!! I’m thinking about you guys always and constantly wondering what you’re up to while I’m away. I can’t wait to share with you all my experiences I’ve had and hear all about the ones you have had back home in St.Pete. I love you both so much and can’t wait till I see you again. Please tell your family I said hi and hope there all doing great!
Love and miss you always.
BREAKING NEWS: We just found out that that we will be making some port stops soon!
October 26th – Nuku Hiva
November 4th – Rangiroa
November 10th – Moorea
We also found out that, at a very safe distance from our forecasted path, there will be space debris falling that we might be able to see as it enters the atmosphere!
Well that’s all I got for now! We are all doing great on the ship and excited to reach Tahiti! Peace out for now !