Living and Loving on Bobby C.

April 18, 2024

Author: Amelia Lang, C Watch, Barnard College

14AprHaulingMains’lsmall

Hauling the Mains'l Halyard with all of my new closest friends! A team effort made only better by singing sea shanties as we pull.

Ship's Log

Sunday, 14 April 2024

Noon Position (Lat and Long): 39 40.2S x 150  14.7W
Ship Heading (degrees): 65
Ship Speed (knots): 7

Taffrail Log (nm): 1886
Weather / Wind / Sail Plan (from 1300 Watch Change): Sailing on a port tack under the four lowers with a double reefed main, Wind: NExE Beaufort Force 5
Description of location: Southern South Pacific Gyre

Last week I reread a play very near and dear to me, The Sonic Life of a Giant Tortoise. A silly title with a most profound message, I was struck by a line that I had nearly forgotten:

"The way you are living is a far cry from how humankind ought to be living. Make no mistake, even if there is nothing we can do to change it, I think that this is true of the way we are living our lives. I wouldn't be surprised if even worse things were said, something like, "You people are not living all."

I do not know if my body was built for seafaring. My perpetual imbalance suggests an inherent discomfort in this environment. I want to feel my feet extending into the earth, like the never-ending roots of the grasses where I call home. So sometimes I feel like being on a boat as a primate is a far cry from how humankind ought to be living, at least a far cry from the Kansas-folk that raised me. There is nothing that can change the fact that this is not in my blood. There is also nothing that can change the fact that this is the most exciting adventure I've embarked upon. Challenging our nature is how I want to be living my life, I think. We are inherently selfish: there is nothing we can do to change such a fact. I do not know if life on the boat is the way we ought to be living, but I at least know we are living fully.

I never thought that I would lead a life that showed me every second of the day, but I have seen sunrise, sunset, moonrise, local apparent noon, the dead of night, and every phenomenon in between. I live so fully while I am awake because I know that I am seeing a time and place that is entirely unfamiliar to so many. The wonders of the ocean, and the world, are constantly revealing themselves, sometimes with so much beauty that I overflow with gratitude for the space I inhabit.

Living here, we seize every minute. Someone is always awake, watching with a careful eye should a squall strike or a marine mammal crest nearby. As I sleep, I trust my shipmates entirely to lead us safely onward. Nowhere else have I felt such immediate trust for so many people. But then again, everything here is ten times more extreme. I feel homesick bigger, laugh harder, appreciate food more, need sleep more. Trusting more makes it all doable. Having thirty-eight members of our community makes every act of care feel special, every hug more cherished. Living in solitude but never alone, there is unity amongst us. You can't stay mad for long; you feel empathy so deeply, I think the two go hand in hand.

The people here are so invested in our community, in our life. The team spirit is infectious, and I can see joy ripple through friends. People are also committed to their own happiness, their own fulfillment, their own perpetual learning. The individual purpose becomes one and the same with group purpose. Most of all, we all are committed to perseverance. We hear "fa'a ito ito" nearly every day, Tahitian for "keep going." As we muddle through the lows and bask in the delights, everything is done with the whole heart.

Being surrounded by people like this, the ocean like this, makes life feel full. To experience love and care like this and to see such passion and commitment heals the soul. So too is the ocean healing, the great expanses that remind me of the prairies back home. Even if unconventional, I see myself growing roots here. With care, anything can grow, and that is the way we ought to be living.

Postscript:

Thanks Emily and Izzy and Davi for helping me write this, I am so lucky for awesome friends! Love you family, think of you every day! And Nick (3rd Scientist) says hello to his mom and dad!

Amelia Lang, C Watch, Barnard College

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2 Comments

  1. Meredith Lang April 18, 2024 at 11:45 - Reply

    On this stormy Kansas morning, your post made me think of the poem,
    Prairie Spring by Willa Cather. So happy you are living fully at sea!

  2. Mary OBrien Torres April 18, 2024 at 19:42 - Reply

    You most definitely are “living fully”.
    Fa’a ito ito.
    Keep going.

    And thank you all for the lovely blogs. The landlubbers hang on your words.
    XO

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