Hello! My name is Emily Rose Stringer, and I am a fourth-year student at
College of the Atlantic. I just came off of dawn watch (01:00-07:00) and I am writing this post before I take a much-needed nap. Dawn watch was unique today! 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 and especially overnight. I was standing lookout and I could see the rain approaching, suddenly there was a torrential downpour which soaked us all, a very exciting time to be standing lookout! As the squall cleared we were able to see the shadow of Tuvalu on the horizon. We are currently making our approach to Tuvalu. Over the course of our voyage I have spent time painting the ocean every single day. I find that it helps me to notice the unique qualities of the ever-shifting water. I have never been so far out on the open ocean and I want 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 have been sailing without sight of land – it feels freeing. I spend hours staring out into the ocean, watching each new wave crest and bubbles simmer. I am truly mesmerized by the ocean. The ocean is a million colors. Every day I have to mix new watercolors to achieve a palette that honors the seascape. Every few minutes the sea shifts her colors and slips into a new wardrobe. Sometimes the sea looks ultramarine blue, deep and quiet. Other times the ocean is a tumultuous grey color. Sunsets paint the seas a deep purple tone and sunrises streak the water 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 create deep troughs. Crashing whitecaps throw sea spray and bubbles that float and fizz. The wind gently sweeps the surface of the ocean and pulls small ripples along with it. Raindrops pierce the water leaving concentric circular signs of their descent.
It is breathtaking to be surrounded by nothing but water. The sea meets with the sky and forms an unbroken horizon. Though the horizon is not perfectly flat! Large distant waves punctuate the horizon creating a jagged line. I never 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 are absorbed by a rising waves).
The sea is filled with sound. Waves crash and tumble, swells lazily bump against our hull and the foam hisses and spits. The ship cuts through the water. At the bow the ship bounces and thuds against the water, sometimes with quite a deal of force. At the stern our wake flows out from beneath us with soft bubbling and gurgling noises.
Happy birthday Mama!
The ocean has left my hands rough and sticky with salt after handling lines and sails this morning. My whole body is coated in a layer of sea salt, I can taste the rich brine of the ocean. I can feel the salt on my hands and the 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 to be out on the ocean. P.S.