20 days ago, I was typing a blog post on the same computer I sit at now, wondering what I would have to say on my second entry as this adventure comes to a close.
At two this morning, my A-watch friends and I set the Jib Tops’l, which involved going out on the bowsprit (the netting that extends out in front of the ship above the ocean) in pitch dark and four foot swells. Thanks the Junior Watch Officer (JWO) phase we are in, we had to develop and execute the plan for setting the sail independently (although our Mates are always there to supervise and intervene in case we get ourselves into a pickle).
If you had asked the Emily of 20 days ago whether or not she thought she would be/could be doing that, she would have said no. She was daunted by life aboard ship in the open ocean and how difficult basic tasks such as walking and showering can be before you find your sea legs. If I could tell that Emily a few things, it would be that seasickness abates, the ability to balance is mostly regained, and you will grow to appreciate the moments that make you doubt your ability to persevere.
Sailing across the Pacific is really a testament to the adage "it takes a village". There’s no way we could do it without each other. Over the course of this trip, we’ve built a wonderful community. While we may all be different in many ways, everyone brings something special to the table. I will forever cherish the memories of hot cocoa after dawn watch, singing sea shanties at the helm, having long conversations over buckets of "zoop soup" using the "watch-brain" to piece together complicated sail-handing maneuvers, turning ship-wide clean-up into a musical medley, playing card games late into the night, and many other moments.
The lack of sleep, state of perpetual sunburn, and homesickness (all common conditions aboard) haven’t abated since I set foot on the Seamans, and yet no matter how excited I am to get home, to see the people I love, and finally do laundry with a machine (not scrubbing it over a washboard like an 18th century maid), I am also terribly sad that this time is coming to an end. I am so grateful for the knowledge I have had the privilege of learning and the experiences I’ve had in a very unique environment, both academically and personally. This trip has left me in awe of the world and invigorated to make changes to combat the challenges it faces.
As we navigate the next few days finishing final research reports and figuring out what Friday’s watch schedule means (it’s emblazoned with the ominous words "Final Challenge"), I will be savoring every remaining moment of this wild ride.
PS Happy early birthday, Mama! I hope you have a wonderful day! I’m excited to celebrate with you when I get back. D, I love you so much, I’ve missed you so much, and I can’t wait to see you in just a few days to resume our adventures! To everyone else, I hope you’re well and I’m excited to see you all! 🙂
Emily Barron, A Watch, Boston University