Everything about this day was completely unexpected, but that may be why this was the most unique birthday I have ever had. It started out with an early wake-up at 6:20. Breakfast was cereal, specifically Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Every time I took a heaping bite out of my bowl, someone new congratulated me. In the Salon, Abby G. Allie, Emily, and Autumn had so kindly organized a birthday sign for me, which hung over the tables as everyone ate their meals. When I walked on deck to start watch, we were still docked at the marina in Savusavu in Fiji. It was raining, but seeing the mountainous landscape rising up in front of us as the locals busily walking by the sailboat made the rain so worth it. My fellow B-watchers had purchased an ice coffee for me (diary free) which absolutely made my day. They most likely got sick of me talking about iced coffee the past six weeks and needed some relief. Thank you Sam, Olivia L., Süpi, and Abby T. As morning watch went on, it continued to rain but none of us really cared. It felt so nice to be cooled off, especially since it was spent at Fiji. We sang songs and waved at the Fijians walking by. Later on, we left our spot on the dock, and anchored out in the bay. The plan was to stick around here until the weather calmed down some. The watch was very lowkey, but I still loved it nevertheless.
My research partner and closest friend Hallie and I finally completed our project on carbon dioxide partial pressure, and proceeded to tell the entire crew. This moment was exciting for Hallie, as it was her final assignment of undergrad. Congrats Hallie! For an afternoon snack, the stewards baked a beautiful sprinkle cake. Ashley initiated the singing and presented me with my piece with a candle. It was honestly the only traditional aspect of my birthday. In this moment I felt an immense appreciation for the members of this journey. Every day, the deckhands, staff, and students make one another feel so welcomed, and I am grateful that I got to share my 21st with all of these cool people. B-watch especially has been so kind and supportive as we learned the ropes along the way. Thank you to Emily, Sil, Izzy, Sam, and Abby for making watch so much fun and pushing me every day. As the day concluded, I had to think about past birthdays. Here are some birthday traditions that happen every year that I reflected on today: 1. Dad makes breakfast, normally pancakes but it can be negotiated if something else is requested. 2. A surprise lunch or dinner happens where the birthday person gets blindfolded and driven to a fine dining location. Normally this is a genre of food that the individual loves. 3. My mom always makes a home-made German cake. And as we eat the cake, she HAS to rehash the weather on the day of the person’s birth. As I can recall, it was a beautiful sunny day.
This boat has its own birthday traditions, and they are equally as amazing as those I experience normally. Thank you again for all of the birthday wishes I received today and for making me feel special.
Sincerely, Olivia Patrinicola (University of South Carolina Marine Science, B-Watch) To Mom and Dad, I am so glad I got to chat with you for a brief moment, but I am really looking forward to talking on the phone soon, miss you! To Will, I also cannot wait to see you. I have so many crazy stories to tell you, and I am looking forward to hearing about what you have been up to. To my friends from home, happy birthday to the August birthday girls! And a late happy 22nd birthday to Miss Maddie Knowles. Hope it was a good one.