We have turned east, rounding the upper curve of our grand circle through the North Pacific Gyre. We're headed straight for Mendocino Point, where we'll turn south down the California coast. Since leaving the coastline in June, we have not seen land in over 20 days! As we near California once again, we find ourselves conflicted over our feelings towards "land-ho."
Many of us are excited to return to more productive waters, hoping for the daily-whale sightings we became accustomed to at the beginning of our trip. Today we were visited by a few dolphin-friends who surfed in our wake and reminded me of home. We're destined for the Point Reyes National Seashore, where we may encounter Northern Elephant seals and my buddies, the California sea lions.
Some of us look forward to the small comforts of land-life: stable ground, clean clothes, or a normal sleep schedule. A common on-watch pass-time involves fantasizing about what we will do our first few days back on land. I for one cannot wait to have a sip of my favorite coffee blend.
At the same time, there is wariness as we approach civilization once again. For a period of time, we have been allowed to forget our woes and cast our land-responsibilities to the wind. Our life onboard is simple and routine: we eat, sleep, work, repeat. There is a beauty in the form and function that keeps the boat moving forward. Everyone has a place and a purpose. It's easy to feel gratified in your contribution.
We've also been gifted the time to get to know one another without the distractions of the outside world. Given we were all strangers just over a month ago, it's remarkable how close we've become. I guess conversations at 3:00 am in the literal middle of the ocean will do that to people. But as the end of the trip nears, so does our parting. My new friends have opened my mind and inspired values in me I will carry long after our departure.
I'll miss many aspects of boat-life, and even more in retrospect. Most of the crew refers to our daily activities on board as "Type Two Fun:" overwhelming and completely exhausting in the moment, but wildly fun looking back on it. My watch-mate Noah, who spent time on another SEA tall ship last fall, explained that although it feels grueling now, "in two months when you're sitting on your couch at home, you'll be wishing you were coiling fire line on the deck of the Seamans." In our last few weeks, I hope to savor every moment aboard- even if I'm scrubbing the galley mats, vacuuming the scuppers, or descending into dry stores for the millionth time for (what feels like) no reason.
- Kelly Morgan, University of California, Berkeley, A Watch
P.S. From Kelly: Hi Mom, Dad, Gracie, and Morgie!! Miss you guys and think about you all the time. Can't wait to see you all when I'm home! Love you!
From Sophia: Happy birthday Jeff! I hope you get to enjoy many margaritas from Sin Fronteras ? I love and miss you so much! Can't wait to see your face at the airport!!
From Kyla: Hi Cousin John! I'm wishing you a very happy birthday from way out in the middle of the ocean! I hope it's filled with kielbasa and polkas. Miss you!
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