"Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."
I'm certainly not the most religious fish in the sea, but since embarking on this larger-than-life voyage across hundreds of miles of tough-loving waters, the Serenity Prayer has become my mantra. Through the highs and the lows of this incredible journey, these words have not been far from my mind.
sunset from the Corwith Cramer.
Sailing on the Corwith Cramer has been a journey unlike any other that I've experienced. Each sunrise has flooded our wood and steel world with rich colors, and reclaimed those borrowed treasures of light at the day's end with yet more splendor. We have seen trenches of yellow moonlight dug in abundance on dark waters. We have watched islands appear and evaporate in our constant coming and going. We have cut our teeth on limestone caves, coral atolls, endless mangroves, a labyrinth of faces, languages, shifting realities, unbridled curiosities, and the bounty of contradiction which has flown steadily throughout the Caribbean since the lasting legacies of bondage and human suffering cast their leper's shadows over these islands and ports of call. We have raised new flags high towards the course yards.
We have danced in squalls. We have howled with humpbacks. We have questioned our reasoning in being here. We have found new reasons.
We have also found challenges. We have weathered squalls and high winds, rough and tumble waves, late nights in exhausting stretches, seasickness (I may have vomited on a flying fish... or two) and the physical circumstances of an environment in significant motion all hours of the day.
Speaking personally, I can say that most of all, being at sea has been humbling. Words cannot explain the ever-shifting tapestry of highs and lows, which change as rapidly as the winds and the sunlight. Where on land it is fairly easy to convince myself of my ability to control any number of things regarding my past, present, and future, the truth of the matter is that the things I do control are fairly limited. Out at sea, there is no running from that fact. My lack of control over my environment is apparent 24/7. But what I have learned out here is that despite my lack of control, I am certainly not without agency. Out here I have found clarity in the solid boundaries between what I control and what I do not. And with that clarity, I have found it far easier to accept those realities, both on the ship and off. Out here where the churning waters and unyielding movements demand constant diligence and thoughtfulness, there is no choice but to adapt and embrace the humility of these circumstances. That is our ultimate task on C-277.
I'll close with this anecdote from our 10-hour stint in Great Inagua, where we had the joy of exploring the Inagua National Park, and visiting the large population of pink flamingos which reside there. After departing from the Cramer, we piled into the flatbeds of two pick-up trucks and drove quite a ways through salt flats and gnarled brush under unrelenting sun. On the ride back, packed once more on these trucks, dark clouds had gathered, and before long a thick downpour hit us head on. Myself and my shipmates had nowhere to go to escape the rain. We had no choice but to get cold and wet. And rather than shy away from the rain, we embraced it completely. Our entire truck began throwing our voices in songs and shouts into the wind, laughing and singing, closing our eyes and feeling the brilliance of the spontaneous downpour. We leaned in, and in doing so, we opened ourselves up to experience the full blooming of the moment. Simple as it may be, that to me is serenity. Accept the things we cannot change, change the things we can, and never lose sight of the difference.
Full speed ahead to Port Antonio!
- Maya Sokolow, C Watch, Bard College
P.S I love you so much Mom, Dad, Eli, and the whole Sokolow clan!! You're all in my thoughts and I can't wait to share my experience with you out here. Love to you all and I hope you're doing well! S4E