Approaching Tuvalu

October 13, 2023

Author: Emily Rose Stringer, College of the Atlantic

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Ship's Log

Date: October 12, 2023Time: 07:50Location: 8°34.42S x 179°07.54EWeather: Myriad squalls with force four winds out of the Northeast. The sky is filled with cumulus clouds.

Hello! My name is Emily Rose Stringer, and I am a fourth-year student atCollege of the Atlantic. I just came off of dawn watch (01:00-07:00) and Iam writing this post before I take a much-needed nap. Dawn watch was uniquetoday! We are approaching Tuvalu and our watch was the first to sight land!We also have been going through some squalls over the past day andespecially overnight. I was standing lookout and I could see the rainapproaching, suddenly there was a torrential downpour which soaked us all, avery exciting time to be standing lookout! As the squall cleared we wereable to see the shadow of Tuvalu on the horizon. We are currently making ourapproach to Tuvalu.Over the course of our voyage I have spent time painting the ocean everysingle day. I find that it helps me to notice the unique qualities of theever-shifting water. I have never been so far out on the open ocean and Iwant to use this space to paint an image of what it feels like to be at sea.The open ocean is wonderful! During our transit from Fiji to Tuvalu we havebeen sailing without sight of land – it feels freeing. I spend hours staringout into the ocean, watching each new wave crest and bubbles simmer. I amtruly mesmerized by the ocean.The ocean is a million colors. Every day I have to mix new watercolors toachieve a palette that honors the seascape. Every few minutes the sea shiftsher colors and slips into a new wardrobe. Sometimes the sea looksultramarine blue, deep and quiet. Other times the ocean is a tumultuous greycolor. Sunsets paint the seas a deep purple tone and sunrises streak thewater with warm yellows and pinks. I have even seen a lavender-colored sea.The sea’s surface is always a unique and new texture. Large swells createdeep troughs. Crashing whitecaps throw sea spray and bubbles that float andfizz. The wind gently sweeps the surface of the ocean and pulls smallripples along with it. Raindrops pierce the water leaving concentriccircular signs of their descent.

It is breathtaking to be surrounded by nothing but water. The sea meets withthe sky and forms an unbroken horizon. Though the horizon is not perfectlyflat! Large distant waves punctuate the horizon creating a jagged line. Inever could have imagined that to be the case. Our world is all water.Occasionally seabirds wheel above us, and we often see flying fish. (Yes!Flying fish truly soar above the surface of the water until they areabsorbed by a rising waves).

The sea is filled with sound. Waves crash and tumble, swells lazily bumpagainst our hull and the foam hisses and spits. The ship cuts through thewater. At the bow the ship bounces and thuds against the water, sometimeswith quite a deal of force. At the stern our wake flows out from beneath uswith soft bubbling and gurgling noises.

The ocean has left my hands rough and sticky with salt after handling linesand sails this morning. My whole body is coated in a layer of sea salt, Ican taste the rich brine of the ocean. I can feel the salt on my hands andthe cold sea spray on my face. I am grateful to be kissed by the ocean.I am grateful to experience the power of the South Pacific, I am grateful tobe out on the ocean.P.S. Happy birthday Mama!

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One Comment

  1. Sara (Satya’s mom) October 24, 2023 at 23:42 - Reply

    Gorgeous, tactile impressions, Emily Rose! Thank you so much. Love your painted sea textures,

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