It's the first day of March and we're sailing under a long-awaited full moon. There is not a cloud in the sky, and the lack of any inhibition over the moon casts the most beautiful silver glistening over the sea's rolling surface. I remember exactly where I was the last time I stared at a full moon. It was four weeks ago. I was standing in the parking lot of Shaw's grocery store in Falmouth, MA, which might as well be another lifetime. I don't remember how many layers I was wearing or how many hours of sleep I was running on (probably not many more than now), but I was imagining what this very scene would look like from on board the Corwith Cramer: a spellbinding, other-worldly glimpse of an everyday event magnified into a more fervent, personalized present. I couldn't wait to be there -- to feel warm breezes gently blow my hair, to smell salty, to revel in silence, and to capture the essence of it all with my perfectly placed camera.
Tonight the full moon rose over the stern of Cramer just before 1900. I nearly missed it while darting from one part of the ship to another to complete an hourly boat check. The combination of unrelenting sunshine and the slight smell of gasoline from our main engine made me feel dizzy and all I wanted more than anything was to finally be finished with the exhausting six-hour afternoon watch. I paused for a moment to catch some fresh air and saw the moon hanging low on the horizon - jaw-dropping, for sure, but also frustrating as there was no option to stop and take it in, never mind going below and grab my tripod and camera.
It's tough, needless to say, to find balance between executing the tasks you're constantly asked to see-through, while also preserving those precious, limited moments of repose to compose our thoughts, enjoy a moment fully and completely, and in my case, capture footage that will serve as integral pieces in shaping an accurate re-telling of everything that's happening.
This intensity of either being 110% "on" when it comes time to work on Watch coupled with sheer exhaustion means sacrificing those moments for sleep and vice versa. Since before this started, I've been searching for what the main source of conflict is (that is to say, what the main obstacle is to overcome in order to get to whatever it is we want); while I can't speak for everyone, these past few days have shed light on my own personal struggles, including but not limited to intense homesickness, burn-out, and the aching need for time alone, away, apart from the constant social interactions and regulations; against my desire to absorb as much of this unique experience as possible. Don't be mistaken this experience is certainly not all bad, in fact, most of it is good. But I now realize that our fantastic and frequent high-points are undeniably interwoven with lower ones.
We are so privileged to witness our planet, our peers, and ourselves in expressions or behaviors we'll never see anywhere else. These moments, if you're lucky enough to notice them, evoke an upwelling of unimaginable, incandescent happiness, sometimes alternating with feeling like you're on the verge of a mental breakdown. The emotions are unrelenting, and the time to process sparse. This is all so difficult to articulate, and as I'm not one for words but rather imagery. All I can hope is that whatever finished film comes of this extraordinary experience illustrates what is happening with some justice.
P.S. Today was really all about WHALES so read Laurel's blog post for those deets.
P.P.S. Love to all my loved ones (two and four-legged) especially Kjell and to my mama on the other side of this big, blue Atlantic.
- Soraya Simi, B Watch, University of Southern California