Thank you for sharing Sea Term 2020 with all of us, Heather!
The End to an Incredible Journey
“But you here—you all had something out of life: money, love—whatever one gets on shore—and tell me, wasn’t that the best time, that time when we were young at sea; young and had nothing, on the sea that gives nothing, except hard knocks—and sometimes the chance to feel your strength?”
-Joseph Conrad Youth
To preface this blog, I think this is for me more than anyone else. As cruise ends, I just wanted to reflect on the great experiences that happened while we were out to sea. I believe that Conrad’s quote perfectly sums up Sea Term: It is not easy; there are the hard days, the bad days, the days when you don’t know why you signed up for cruise in the first place. But then there are the good days; the days when you gaze up at the Milky Way on a crystal-clear night and you realize that all of your effort was worth it.
If you were wondering why I had been quiet for a bit, it was due to injury and illness. While canyoning in Costa Rica, I had slipped on a rock in the riverbed, and pile-drove my right elbow into another rock. At the time it didn’t look too bad, but the next morning my elbow was swollen to the size of a baseball and was colored all shades of the rainbow. I was experiencing bursitis caused by blunt trauma. Luckily, Health Services gave me a compression wrap to help move the fluid buildup, and I was good to go in a few days. However, in the days in between Curacao and Tampa, I came down with GI, or norovirus. That was the sickest I’ve ever been, and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.
Sea Term definitely beat me up. I am covered in bruises and scrapes. It is time for me to go home to snuggle up with my dog, Raegan. But as I long for shore, I am incredibly grateful for the opportunities I had while sailing onboard the TS Kennedy; I accomplished all of my goals.
I successfully completed all of my assessments for my Shipboard Environmental Operations class. I jumped off a waterfall in Costa Rica. I swam in the Pacific Ocean. I scuba dove in Curacao—which was my first ocean dive—above a spectacular coral reef teaming with life. I, once again, swam with hawksbill sea turtles. I got to bake chocolate chip cookies one last time with Becky and Juvi. And I finally made a picture frame during freshmen engine training. I made so many new friends, and I formed many strong relationships. We transited the Panama Canal (twice), and we crossed the Equator. We are now Trusty Shellbacks in the eyes of King Neptune. It’s been an incredible journey, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
I would like to say thank you to Captain Campbell, Chief Engineer Depersis, Chief Mate Turner, First Engineer Teague, Bosun Tucker, and the rest of the ship’s crew for welcoming me onboard the TS Kennedy, and for leading a safe, educational, and enjoyable voyage. I would also like to say thank you to Captain Rozak and COMCAD for their leadership in this process. I am very thankful to have had the opportunity to work with my awesome Shipboard Environmental Operations class professor, Jenn Stone. I have to give a special shout-out to my fellow blogger, 3/C Jack Gerrior (MSSEP), who is not only a great friend, but a great partner whose hard work and passion motivates me. And I must say that the girls of Hold 331 are the best roommates I could’ve asked for. Thank you to Chartwells for making sure that everyone onboard is always fed. I am grateful for Captain Simmons, without whom I wouldn’t have this job. And of course, Nancy Franks. Nancy is the glue that holds Follow the Voyage, Share the Experience together. But I wouldn’t be here without the love and support of my parents.
I feel very fortunate to have such a large audience tune into my journey, so for all of you that do follow the voyage, I say thank you and that I hope you enjoyed the experiences of my fellow cadets and myself. I am content going into retirement. Sea Term was a long, strange trip, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Excess on occasion is exhilarating—it keeps moderation from becoming a habit.”
-W. Somerset Maugham
Until we meet again,
Blogger Heather Gaughan