[Editor’s note: We are very pleased to have Kali Armstrong, granddaughter of Neil Armstrong, traveling with us from San Francisco to Charleston aboard on the ship bearing her grandfather’s name. She will make periodic contributions to the blog. This is her first entry—and her first sea voyage.]
Dawn breaks over the ocean like a watercolor dream. Colors flood the surface of the sea in dazzling displays of sparkling light. A rosy sun rises to greet the Northern Hemisphere with a joyous day as a cool, blue Earth rotates on its axis to welcome the warmth.
Out here in the wide-open ocean, it’s not as difficult to imagine this blue planet, twisting and orbiting in its rhythm among the vast celestial bodies of elements and gas. Taking to the sea for the first time is like opening your eyes to a world you’d forgotten existed. You read about the sea in epics and poems; you admire its beauty in paintings and hear tales of beasts and long-lost plunder. But you can’t possibly fathom its full depth until you’ve set sail on this watery kingdom.
You stretch your imagination as far as possible, and then the sea stretches it further.
In the short time I have been sailing on this research vessel, I have gained a wealth of experience. My perspective of life on Earth has enhanced, my notions of environmental conservation have greatly deepened, and my sense of being has been renewed. This is where life all started—a here in the briny depths of this aqueous realm. The environment is all so foreign, yet so strangely familiar. As if the cells in your body realize something you do not. Home. A home away from the home you have created. An internal ticking as old as time itself.
The sea is a place for discovery. It holds more answers to the world’s problems than we could begin to understand. But we want to understand! We seek those answers here aboard the R/V Neil Armstrong. She’s a vessel with a heart of steel and a mission to expand the bounds of knowledge. The research to be done on this ship will change life as we know it—expanding our understanding of this planet and our place within it for generations to come. All of that begins with a capable ship and a passionate crew.
The incredible people aboard this vessel operate by the laws of the sea. They appreciate the planet as a whole, functioning organism—interpreting winds, currents, weather and stars—all while operating an extremely complex machine amidst the elements. These are people with a more complete comprehension of what it takes to thrive in a changing planet. The objectives are straightforward—seek, explore, discover, expand, evolve—but the journey is arduous. It humbles me to the point of speechlessness to be a part of this quest for discovery, but I’ll do my best over the next couple weeks to share my experience. I hope you will continue to check in with the crew of this pioneering vessel to see what the ocean may offer you.