I’m currently melting into the bed at my hotel room in Honolulu, Hawai’i. Melting because I’ve just been in airports and airplanes for about 14 hours. And also because it’s definitely warmer here than back in Minnesota.
Tomorrow, after a morning full of exploring potential, I’m hopping back on a plane–this time to American Samoa. There, I’ll meet up with the SSV Robert C. Seamans. 134 ft long. 14 ft deep. Many tons of steel.
It’ll be my home for the next seven or so weeks.
From American Samoa, we’ll make our way to Tonga, then to Fiji, then eventually (after many, many, many nautical miles of open ocean) to New Zealand.
What the heckity heck am I going to be doing the whole time?
One answer goes something like, “Research–on the ocean water and on poetry and on waste management. (The later two being my research projects specifically.) And sailing a boat. Obviously. But also learning about the cultures of the peoples and places we will be visiting.”
Another answer is more like, “Honestly? No clue. Theoretically I’ll be helping to sail a large sailboat. Or tall ship. Which is the technical term. But how I’m actually going to do that? I don’t know. Yet.”
I’ll still be taking classes, and seeing a lot of places and meeting a lot of people and learning a lot about phytoplankton and the salinity of different water masses in the ocean. And probably spending lots of time feeling really tired and confused, especially at first, when I still don’t know what to call all the different parts and places on the boat, let alone how to actually help do that whole sailing thing.
I suspect, too, that I’ll learn what it’s like to be on dawn watch. And to spend part of every Friday cleaning a tall ship from top to bottom. And to use the sun and other celestial bodies as a way to determine my location on this crazy little globe, whose surface is mostly water, we call home.
In the mean time, I’m nervous yes. But also very excited. Like Little Red Riding Hood in Into the Woods. Excited and scared.