Where the Sea Meets the Sky

April 18, 2024

Author: Hannah Connell, A Watch, Boston University


Selfie while on lookout.

Ship's Log

Monday, 15 April 2024

Noon Position (Lat and Long): 39°27.124’S x 147°54.840’W
Ship Heading (degrees): 030°
Ship Speed (knots): 6.0
Taffrail Log (nm): 2018
Weather / Wind / Sail Plan (from 1300 Watch Change): On a port tack, close
hauled, sailing under the four lowers with a deep reefed mains’l. Force 5
winds from the NNW with an overcast sky.
Description of location:  Southern South Pacific Gyre (Most remote region of
our cruise track)

“Ia ora na” I whisper to myself as the sun rises on
our seventeenth day of sailing. I am awoken by the gentle voice of a friend,
which brings me out of deep sleep. Even in my dreamlike state, the moment my
body sways with the motion of the sea I face the realities of living on a
tall ship. This movement is perhaps the only constant. It is challenging to
capture with words what this adventure has meant to me. In these seventeen
days, I have watched rainbows melt into the sea, friends uplift each other,
and bioluminescent organisms rise from the depths of the ocean. Each day,
our dedicated community of thirty eight crew members, scientists, and
students work together toward the shared goals of sailing, learning, and
conducting science. With each new day, I strive to bring with me a boundless
curiosity and a willingness to try new experiences. The support of everyone
aboard empowers me to go beyond my comfort zone. I am constantly inspired by
the science taking place while at sea. Led by the marine techs and
scientists, we coordinate daily deployments of the CTD, neuston net, and
meter net. These instruments offer insight into the bathymetry and biology
found in these remote Pacific waters.

I still have a lot to learn about sail theory. Sailing is best described
with extremes. Sail handling in 10 ft. swells, shouting and recalling
commands, observing the invisible and ever changing winds. Open ocean
sailing requires physical and mental endurance. To navigate these extremes,
I trust my shipmates and watch officers.

I want to share some special moments that have lifted my spirits. On day
one, I decided to go aloft (sorry mommy) as a goodbye to our last view of
land. Standing lookout during watch has also been a highlight of my days,
and in these moments of solitude I often find myself putting each day into
perspective. One of my favorite days was April 4th when I was assistant
steward or “stustew,” and helped the galley prepare meals for everyone
aboard. I had a list of recipe ideas, and as ambitious as they were we
cooked them all. Some of my favorite dishes from the day were the lemon
ricotta focaccia and the shortbread thumbprint cookies with jam. The other
day after morning watch, a group of us were gathered in the main salon
listening as Liam strummed guitar while Meg and Amy cheerfully played the
fiddle. These moments of live music and community have been some of my
favorites. I hope to carry these memories with me as we continue our voyage.

As we sail across the sea in search of Tahiti, along the way we find
ourselves. Let’s hope for fair seas and following winds as we continue
toward the second half of our voyage.
Mommy, I love you so much and I can’t wait to be home with you and give you
endless hugs. Grandma, I love you so much too. I hope you are feeling well.
Please be reassured to know I am taking care of myself as best I can. Send
my love to Uncle, Aunt Gabriella and the kids. I love and miss you Daddy, I
can’t wait to be home with you and Lewis.

Tomás – I carry your love with me always. Missing you comes like tidal
waves. In these moments, I sing and dream the winds will carry my voice to
you. Te extraño mi amor, te amo siempre.

Hannah Connell, A Watch, Boston University

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One Comment

  1. Mary OBrien Torres April 18, 2024 at 19:47 - Reply

    Spectacular rainbow photo. Truly a life of extremes. Thanks for sharing.

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