The Trials and Tribulations of Boat Dreams

November 30, 2021

Carly Cooper, University of South Carolina


5/8ths of B watch taking a peaceful nap.

Ship's Log

09˚57.84’ N x 133˚32.17’ W

Taffrail Log
1788 Nautical Miles

Sail plan / Weather
Sailing under Mains’l (single reef), Main Stays’l, Fore Stays’l, Jib, and Tops’l; Winds: Force 4 from ENE

Souls on Board

This morning when one of my shipmates so kindly woke me up for morning watch, one of the first things I started to think about was what in the world was I gonna write about in my blog post. Harvest Feast just happened, and then I got to go aloft with the rest of my watch - basically a lot of super exciting things have been happening. I found myself hoping for “something cool” to happen so that I’d have an easy time writing this blog. After just waiting for that “something cool” to come I realized how skewed my idea of cool is now. Every single day on this boat is amazing and exhilarating in its own way. Even though we do a lot of the same tasks every watch, no watch is even close to being like any other.

Take today for example. It was my first morning watch on deck, which is super awesome because that meant I got to sit back and see the science happening from a different perspective. I got to learn a lot about the mechanics of sailing while doing a bunch of crazy science to keep us (and the precious data of course) all safe. It’s also the third night of Hanukkah and we’ve been lighting candles thanks to Kira’s wonderful supply of electronic lights and learning a lot about the holiday. We also saw schools of tuna swimming on our starboard side and a rainbow on our port side. All of this is to say that even in such a unique environment such as this, it can be easy to take for granted the little things. I find myself enjoying steering almost as much as scrubbing bird poop off the deck. It’s hard to have a bad time when you get to live on a sail boat with 33 of your new best friends while also doing really cool science at the same time. The view is pretty nice too.

So that’s my little spiel about what went through my mind when thinking about writing this blog. After reading through my shipmates’ previous blog posts, I discovered that no one has yet talked about one of the most widespread and mysterious phenomena that have occurred on Bobby Seamans - boat dreams. It’s kinda one of those things where you think you’re the only one experiencing it until you hear someone else talking about it and then suddenly everyone is talking about this weird shared experience.

Basically it’s like this disease that makes you have crazy dreams, very often related to boats. Boat dreams come in many shapes and sizes. They’re much like zooplankton in that way. One of the most common boat dreams we collectively seem to be having is that we dream that we somehow end up off our beloved ship and back on land. This is more of a boat nightmare than a boat dream in that sense. I myself find myself dreaming about boats almost every night. My first boat dream was on our second or third day at sea and I dreamt a shark jumped on deck and was trying to bite my ankles while I was coiling lines. It wasn’t even in a scary way, more like “Oh no this shark is gonna distract me from this ballantine coil!!,” way.

Last night in my dream my little brother somehow showed up on the Seamans and then there were giant pianos floating in the water and lots of other really weird nonsensical stuff followed. Stevie dreamt that our chief scientist Jan drove a purple pick up truck. Kira dreamt about a bedcan and troubles facing American children today, and that’s as far as I’ll dive into that one. I could go on and on about my own boat dreams and I know my shipmates have some more great ones but I won’t expose them here for all to read. Dreams are fascinating enough on land but I find it even more interesting and quite funny that boat dreams have taken over our resting minds.

Pretty soon here I’ll be off to what I’m sure will be a delightful meal made by our amazing stewards, then it’s time for bed so I can be functioning on dawn watch in about 6 hours! I look forward to all my boat dreams that come in between, and to bothering my watchmates by telling them about it in full detail at 3 in the morning. It’s been a blast getting to write this blog and share this side of boat life and I couldn’t be more grateful to be here. I can’t wait to share a million more stories about this adventure, and I’m sure I’ll have enough to last me a lifetime!

To all of my family and friends back home - I love and miss you all so much!!! And to my Mom - Happy Birthday! I think of you every day and I can’t wait to see you on Christmas Eve <3

Carly Cooper
University of South Carolina

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