Thoughts Between Islands

In a Stanford at Sea program, Bryant Irawan is sailing with 29 other students from Tahiti to Hawaii. Snorkeling, scuba diving, and researching are just only some of the activities occupying his time besides helping to keep the boat afloat. This is a log from his adventures.

Today, we anchored off Caroline Island and resumed snorkeling operations. I must admit I was a bit grumpy today trying to get as many snorkeling spots as possible, but in the end, my efforts were not necessary. I loved the three snorkels I did today, but it was just too much.

Anyways, I want to take advantage of this blog space to write down some thoughts I’ve had after what has been a little more than a week at sea. It would be useless to explain the beauty of Caroline Island. It’s beauty simply cannot be expressed in words or even pictures and video. One must take the effort to get here to truly understand how magical this place is. It is definitely one of my favorite places in the world now.

My first thought pertains to unlocking the key to immortality. It’s been said that twenty year olds feel as if they are immortal. Even when they do get injured, they heal quickly and resume “dangerous” activities. I don’t believe this is the case for me. I fully understand my limits.

Besides having a love for the ocean, I have a love for whitewater kayaking and I have progressed to the point where there have been situations when I could have lost my life. And I know others who have not been so lucky. I love gaining extreme experiences, but I’ve also experienced enough to selectively choose my adventures wisely. That being said, I still do believe I am immortal-but in a much more roundabout away… Let me explain.

We’ve only been out at sea for nine days or so, but everyone agrees it feels as if we’ve been at sea for months or even years. It’s not that we’re not busy doing anything and time feels as if it’s passing by slowly because we’re bored. On the contrary, I’ve never worked as hard as this in my life. There have been days when I have worked 17 hour days for the ship-albeit voluntarily.

Being in class, on the other hand, is different. Sometimes, I think I just graduated elementary school last year. School via classrooms has blazed quickly and has often felt like a blur. From my experience, whenever I’m having adventures and pushing myself out of my comfort zone, time slows down. When I kayaked down the Grand Canyon, for example, I can clearly remember each of the 6 days and can even give an hour by hour synopsis of what I did in the canyon. So if we choose to keep having adventures, to keep expanding our horizons, and to keep having near-life experiences, perhaps we can feel as if we have lived forty lives in one life. To live and not to breathe is to die in tragedy.

So it seems like there’s only room for one mind-blowing idea for this blog post. Tonight, we will get underway for the next 4.5 days and head to Malden, another pristine, uninhabited island. I’m looking forward to having more adventures and becoming more immortal!

-Bryant Irawan / IM

Posted by Dr. Randy Kochevar 

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