I am back from sea! I went to Honolulu, where I spent nearly two weeks, then on a boat, up to the coastal waters of Alaska near Kodiak, then Sitka, and finally we arrived in Seattle after 34 days of sailing.
It was probably one of the most amazing experiences I’ve had, and that’s saying something. I got on the ship having no idea what to expect. I thought I’d work, eat, and workout, mainly. I brought a couple of books, TV shows, video games, and comic books to entertain myself. I even brought a book to teach myself some more programming.
At the end of this trip, I only managed to make it through two books and half a season of The Walking Dead. I was honestly surprised at how much I really enjoyed spending time with the other folks on the ship. We played card games, board games, watched movies together, and spent a lot of time just sitting out on the bow of the ship enjoying the beauty of the ocean, sometimes talking about random things, but also being perfectly content to sit in silence with our own thoughts.
I saw more sunrises than I’ve seen in my entire life, discovered I don’t get seasick, and bonded with people over the shared misery of being cold and wet, lack of good coffee, and being exhausted from so much work.
About half way through the cruise, I realized I had developed a pretty serious crush on one of the people aboard the ship. I didn’t think much about it… it was just fun to flirt, share some laughs, and brighten each other’s’ days.
When we finally got to Seattle, nearly the whole science party and ship crew got together at a local bar for post-cruise food and drinks. Every so often, I’d catch the person I’d develop a crush on looking at me from across the bar and smiling. I excitedly told one of my friends who knew about my crush, but chalked it up to me just reading into things. Eventually, a couple of us, crush not included, decided to head to Capitol Hill for Pride festivities. I met up with one of my old friends from the military. We all went to a bar, drank, and talked. Half way through the night, a crew of other people that were aboard the ship showed up, much to my surprise. I was genuinely surprised at how open minded and willing to celebrate Pride many of them were.
As the night was winding down, due to some being a bit too drunk and others just being tired and hungry, a few of us went for some late night food. And that’s when things got interesting.
I won’t go into the boring details, but suffice to say, I ended up spending the night with my crush. It took some convincing on the part of our friend, due to them being unsure because I’m married and trans, but we had an amazing night together.
As a side note, Alex and I recently decided to see how polyamory could work for us. The two books I read on ship were both on that subject: The Ethical Slut and Opening Up.
I spent the next few days trying to spend as much time with them as possible without trying to be smothering or overwhelming. We went to the Pride parade together with a couple of people, which much to my surprise, was very reminiscent of San Francisco Pride for me. I have a feeling I’ll be disappointed by San Diego Pride this year. We got coffee one morning, and then dessert later that night. And our last night in town, we ate at a delicious seafood restaurant. I walked them back to their hotel afterwards… and they suggested that I could come up to their room, if I wanted, or we could walk around elsewhere. I was an idiot and told them that I should head out. I was staying with Alex’s best friend, whom I hadn’t heard from much during the day, and I was staying with her for the night, so I thought I should probably figure that out. So, I said my goodbyes and walked off to wear I parked my car. I was feeling a little down at that point, and thinking to myself that I couldn’t believe I had just done that. I messaged them and said, “I should have come up to your room.” They asked why, and I said, “because I really wanted to, but didn’t want to impose.” They then gave me the door code, and I promptly turned my happy ass around.
I’m currently writing this as I sit on the plane on the way home. I’ve been spending the majority of my time trying to unpack my feelings. I don’t know where this will lead, if anywhere at all. I spent the first part of the flight drafting an email, that I haven’t decided if I will send or not. If nothing comes of our shared time together, I’d be pretty sad, but still grateful that it happened. I wouldn’t take it back, even if I do have to deal with some crappy feelings. I’m actually bracing myself for that outcome, because I don’t see how it can end any other way. I am having very strong feelings emerge, but I don’t know if they’re shared to the same degree. I mean, I obviously know that they like me, but to what degree? I haven’t felt this strongly for someone since I met Alex. It’s just very strange for me having to deal with these emotions when I thought I was pretty damned lucky to have even experienced this with one person, let alone two.
All in all though, even without the brief love tryst, I’m really grateful for the opportunity to sail the ocean and do science. After this experience, I’m seriously considering a career in oceanography. I can honestly say that this has been a real eye opener for me for what it’s like to really love the job that I have. I’m really hoping that some of my new contacts will pan out.