The image attached to this post is what led to the concept of this piece, and truly has left me at a crossroads. We just left Nikumaroro a few days ago, and I’m still wrestling with the idea that our return to Pago Pago (and effectively back home) is imminent. This trip in totality has really been surreal; it feels as though I’ve been aboard the Seamans for way longer than a month. We’ve achieved so much in such a short time: watch rotations, sailing, science deployments, swim calls, island visits, class assignments, and the list goes on and on. I now find myself in between the idea of being at sea a little longer, but also the seeming readiness to return home and continue on my post-graduate journey I began before this trip. Both are equally exciting, and I don’t want to miss out on either.
Nikumaroro was truly a breathtaking experience. I was a part of the FAD mission that Delaney mentioned in the previous blog post, so I got to circumnavigate the entire atoll. Baby Black Tip Sharks galore! The crystal clear waters allowed for excellent viewing pleasure of the marine life and the coral reefs in the shallows. On my land expedition (that Sophie and I hijacked because we had the FAD mission on top of our watch’s time ashore) we found a little clearing under some palms to dig into some freshly knocked down coconuts. What an experience to sit down on a tropical island and drink coconut water you just harvested; not something you do every day for sure.
We’re about to enter J-WO phase. J-WO’s are Junior Watch Officers; we’re basically applying the sailing skills we have learned this whole trip and taking over as Watch Officers for our watches. I’m a little nervous to take the reins on running my watch (which includes hourlies, sail handling, taking notes of headings and plotting positions, and much more), but I know with B-Watch watching each other’s backs I’ll make it through okay!
To my family, as always, miss you loads and cannot wait to call when I get to Pago Pago on August 12th.
To Nikki, ahhhhhhhh! It’s only a little more than a week until I’m with you again. I can’t believe it’s been over a month since I’ve seen you. I love you so much, and I can’t wait to see you in San Diego on the 13th! Can’t wait to share an Ortiz’s burrito with you!
- Jason Gonsalves, B Watch, University of Redlands