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Shedding Of The Skin

Here we share the post of one of our recent Blackbeard’s guests, James of Chicago, IL. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

This trip for me was meant as a “shedding of the skin”, as I will be celebrating my birthday in just a few days. My 35th year was one of massive changes in my own life; taking control back, focusing my strength on my passions, and learning to live mindfully. The Sea Explorer was the best capstone on this journey I could have possibly asked for, and I have a feeling that others would find these six days at sea to be similarly life-changing. Don’t let the spartan accommodations steer you wrong. This is a professional operation, run by professional sailors, divers, engineers, and chefs. The captain comes straight off the pages of Herman Melville. The assistant captain will listen to your life stories and comfort you when you’re shaken. The divemaster has fish that truly love her and stay by her side. The engineer can tell you things about music that you can’t learn anywhere else. The chef will not only feed you, but guide you to the best music & dancing that an island can provide. They make you feel like family even when you’re a stranger who only briefly inhabits their world. I myself have only one hope, and that is that I was somehow able to brighten that world for a moment, to have made it a more interesting place. They make it look easy when the reality is there is immense pressure to ensure safety and an enjoyable trip for the twenty or so people who show up to lounge about, jump in the water all day and night, and eat their fill of delicious food – the classic “three squares a day”. Making it look easy, though, isn’t easy.

And so to the crew of the Sea Explorer, Jim, Iain, Elayna, Corrai, and Gladys, thank you for sharing your professionalism, your skills, your stories, your home, and your world with me for a brief moment of time.

As I shed the skin of my 35-year old self and take on the fresh new skin of 36-year old James, the memories that were made (and even the ones that were lost on Thursday night) will stay with me forever. Interesting people will show up on these boats and you will do interesting things with them. Whether you bring a dive buddy or find one aboard, you will bond with these people through good times and bad. When I say bad times, I speak only of the nature of life. All things carry with them a degree of uncertainty and risk, and just getting on the boat is proof that you have accepted and embraced this. You’ve come to experience life, and life will surprise you. It’s meant to. The way to discover yourself is to put yourself in the direct path of life’s power. It will change you, and possibly even transform you. You discover not only who you are, but who you are becoming. The arc of your life will bend in new directions. What’s not to like about that? But not without you being a willing participant. They’ll tell you where to go to see majestic sea creatures and to briefly join the life of those vibrant communities called coral reefs. But you are the one who must go down there and see it. You are the one who must find the pathway through the mangroves, the one with blue sky at the end, to find your way to the other side of the island and commune with the ancient lizards who bear with them thousands of years worth of the stories of their kind. Go talk to them. If you speak the language of the world, they will tell you many comforting things. If you don’t know what the Language of the World is, I’ve left you a guidebook on the Sea Explorer. Go there, find the library, and read the Alchemist. Every night after the night dive, the Aft Bar was open and the world was set to rights by myself and my shipmates. Star-gazing, venting, laughs and tears were shared. By the end of the ride on Thursday, a jubilant crowd congregated aft and began the process of blowing off the steam built up after six days of amazing experiences. Things got sloppy. But that is as it should be when you make port safe and sound; time to make the rafters roar. Don’t pass it up. Go to the Sea Explorer and experience life. It’s too short not to.