Approaching Fiji: A Swim Call!
October 20, 2019
18 degrees South, 178 degrees East
Ship’s Heading & Speed
Docked right outside of Suva, Fiji
27 degrees Celsius, Warm and Sunny with low winds
This morning started off slow with a late wake-up for A Watch as we had watch till 1 AM last night. I slowly rose out of my bunk in the forward ship and made my way to grab some waffles. Watch began at 13:00 and A watch had the privilege of making sure we stayed on the right course as we began to approach Fiji. After only about 30 minutes, Captain Chris called a swim call and the excitement cascaded among me and my peers. There is a unique excitement about a swim call in the ocean, the feeling of the drifting current, endless meters below you, and an interconnectedness with the large mass of water around you. I was able to jump off the bowsprit- which used to be incredibly scary, but now is something I feel comfortable doing (as with most things on the ship). This whole process has been completely foreign to me: hauling on a line only to have it eased, passing the stays’ls, boat checks, and navigating with the stars and horizon in front of me- which I could look at endlessly. Briefly after, me and some members of my watch were able to furl the jib (one of my favorite things to do!). We carefully have to walk onto the headrig and place the jib into a zig zag pattern and tie it with a reef knot in order for it to be carefully placed into the sail cover. It feels like and looks like we are standing above the ocean and as we yell up, aft, down we are able to correctly furl the jib.
While everything has been completely foreign to most of us, everyone has worked together in a way I have never seen before. As we swam in the ocean and furled the jib, I reflected on the experience on a whole and how lucky we all are to be able to experience something so unique and most people only dream of (I know I have since I was little!). The vast horizon of only the ocean in front of you is something so surreal and epic – I can’t quite put it into words. Everything in the ocean amazes me- from the silent crash of the waves, the glowing essence of the bioluminesce, and every single organism that has made a vast expanse of water its home (and how it is my home for 6 weeks!). Each wave slowly kisses the ship and with each powerful constellation and sunrise/sunset the waves reflect the beauty of it. The ocean has an endless beauty and power of guiding people together and every day on the ship I am reminded of that and grateful to be able to experience something so legendary.
Abbey Townsend, A Watch, University of North Florida
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