(This blog is about my experiences working and living aboard a 220’ treasure hunting ship, the M/V Sea Hunter)
It was a beautiful morning the day we hauled the anchor, started the engine and headed back home towards New England. I stood on the back deck of the M/V Sea Hunter and looked across the waters towards the city of Les Cayes. As I took a deep breath and slowly exhaled, my mind played the scenes from the past couple of months. I wanted those memories to be clear as they settled away somewhere far in my brain, so that when I was ready to recall them they would surface with clarity. I felt good and at peace with all we had accomplished. I knew this would be a defining time in my life and would forever change the way I looked at certain things.
Though we all enjoyed our time in Haiti, everyone was so excited to be heading home. We missed our families, our friends and so many of the little things we took for granted. Being able to stop in a store and purchase just about anything your heart desired. Walk into our homes, flip a switch to turn on a light or turn the faucet to get unlimited amounts of water. It was endless the advantages we had compared to the people of Haiti. I tried to wrap my brain around it all. Just by virtue of where you were born just about determines how easy or rough your life will be. But if you never had something, how can you miss it? It didn’t seem fair but then again, whoever said life was fair? All I knew for sure, was that I would try with all my heart to truly appreciate all the little things I just took for granted and to be grateful for all I had. I would also never forget the struggles of those who happen to be born in a 3rd world country.
Now that there were less people aboard to cook and pick up after, it made my job much easier. We were running out of some things for cooking, but fortunately we still had a lot of the staples. Not to mention the frozen foods donated to us by Barber Foods (I will forever be grateful to them). The chicken cordon bleu and the chicken strips kept the guys satisfied in between meals. They would pop one in the microwave and eat to their hearts content, and believe me, they did!
For those that really know me, know that I don’t have a lot of patience (I am working on it though) and was getting ancey each hour of each passing day as we steamed towards home. It seemed like the days just dragged on. I tried to keep my mind occupied but had trouble at times. Especially when I thought we only had a few days left to travel and I was told it would be another four days! How was I going to be able to handle four more days? Remember, I am very impatient. I had read so many books my eyes were bloodshot, I had listened to the same music on my iPod and I wanted desperately to see something other than the ocean out every window. I even begged the captain to take me ashore and I would somehow find my own way home (of course, he didn’t comply). I needed to put my feet on solid ground. With some meditating I somehow made the entire trip back without having a breakdown. As we steamed into the waters of New England my heart was so full of joy. The past couple of months had been life changing and soon I would be reunited with my loved ones. I had missed them dearly. And let’s not forget, my feet would finally be on solid earth! No more rocking back and forth, no more holding on so as not to fall and get another black and blue mark and no more diesel smell from the generators! Just quiet solitude.
As we rounded the bay and came into Boston Harbor, we were all gathered in the pilot house looking out towards our familiar home. Greg was waiting on the dock with the Coast Guard. He had radioed ahead explaining that the Coast Guard had to board our ship and check it out. This was normal procedures for any ship that came from another country. Julia and I both looked at one another and were both thinking, “They better be quick cause I want off this ship.” My plan was to catch a ride back to Maine with Julia after we stopped and ate lunch at a nice restaurant.
I could hardly contain myself as we docked our ship and waited for the final okay from the Coast Guard, who required we all stay aboard until their inspection was complete. Fortunately, they were quick and gave us the okay to leave. With suitcase in hand I swiftly walked the ramp from the ship to the dock. My legs felt a bit strange being on solid ground but I didn’t care. I was just too excited to worry about anything but heading home. A quick hug and good bye to the other crew members and Julia and I headed out. I enjoyed every minute of that two hour trip back to Maine.
(If you want to learn more about Hope Village or feel inclined to help in any way, please check out their website at http://www.freethekids.org)