The circumstances leading to my time with Seamester will never be anything short of hilarious to me. I was bored out of my mind during the summer of 2017, hurtling rapidly towards a number of dead ends, not sure what to do with my life - as most second-year college students feel. One night I was laying awake with insomnia, and a thought popped into my mind: Sail across an ocean. Why? I later asked myself, since I was terrified of the ocean at the time. I have no explanation, but the question didn't scare me, in fact I instantly latched onto it, and the following day I applied to and set up an interview with Seamester.
Obviously I was accepted, since I'm writing this review. My Fall semester was a bit of a blur, and I'm sure everyone could tell you I did little but talk their ears off about the upcoming voyage all semester long. When I finally got to Cape Town in January of 2018, I could hardly believe it was real. I boarded Argo late in the evening because of flight delays, but that hardly mattered; I was there, I had my bunk, I could sit out on deck in the evening and listen to the harbor seals, and adventure was waiting around every corner. Of course, I had no idea while it was happening just how important to me this experience would be.
This voyage was many things. It was incredibly challenging, sometimes scary, always fascinating, and absolutely worth it in every possible way. Crossing an ocean by sail isn't easy, in close quarters, standing watch almost every night - you're part of the crew, not just a passenger. We crash-jibed two days out from Cape Town during my watch shift, around two in the morning, and our main boom snapped in half. This was of course terrifying at the time, but in hindsight it was a blessing in disguise - how else would we have freed the top of the charthouse for sunbathing at every opportunity, or jury-rigged our fisherman sail upside-down as a "fishermain" jib? I look back on that with particular fondness. I'll never forget, too, when we reached the Equator, hove-to, and swam between the hemispheres in 15,000 feet of water after joining King Neptune's Court. I could go on, and on, and on. There's a memory, many memories, from everywhere we went, even from the middle of the ocean, when we saw 18 shooting stars in four hours, including what I've long thought was an air-burst meteorite, far off our starboard beam. I will never forget this journey.
I'm graduating college soon, and have thankfully had plans in place for what follows for a while now. Due almost entirely to my experience with Seamester, I'm setting my own course for a career in the maritime industry, hoping to myself become a captain one day. This voyage was THE formative experience of my college career, and I look back on it almost every day with gratitude.
Seamester will challenge you in every way, from how you comport yourself on and off the boat, to your worldviews and sense of self. There's nothing like spending three months at sea, and I recommend it to everyone I talk about it with. It will change you for the better.