Just as we had begun to settle into our roles and responsibilities on watch underway, we’ve anchored and changed routines. No longer are we standing for 6 hours with the same seven people, only seeing others in passing at mealtimes or when we decide to use our free time to be social rather than catch up on rest. Our three watch groups have now coalesced into two; with less sail handling, boat maneuvering, and science deployments our time onboard looks a little different.
Fins on, ready for a snorkel mission.
As an example, most people are awake during the daylight hours which means there is more cross watch interaction. Our main focus on anchor is the twice daily snorkel reef surveys. Upon arrival back to mothership Cramer, students lay into processing samples and data and work on their projects. Crew also takes advantage of this time at anchor to catch up on projects around the boat.
There is plenty of work that is fun, but there is also fun just for the sake of having fun. Swim calls, aloft training for future skylarking opportunities, and snorkeling just to feed curiosity and look. On the list of cool wildlife seen around the ship are dolphins, spotted eagle rays (underwater and leaping into the air), sting rays, sharks, octopi, urchins, and fishes of all sorts.
For me, personally, today was the first time in a very long time I have gone snorkeling. It felt like I was at a buffet where my eyes were bigger than my stomach. I literally could not get everything into my field of vision how I wanted. My head was constantly on a swivel lest I miss something really cool happening on the reef. I had to consciously tell myself to relax, be present, and just focus on one thing at a time and be content to observe. If I could just watch one part of the reef, the life and dynamics presented in the 1 square foot in front of me, then that would be perfect. I would see so much more that way rather than just scanning a large swath for something… especially not knowing what the “something” is.
Maybe there is a profound lesson in there somewhere. It probably is about being in the moment and appreciating what is right in front of me. It also has to do with the beauty in all things, the details that are easily missed but are right there if only you take the time to look.
Ruthann, Mate in Training, A Watch