The day began early to the not-so-exciting morning wake up for anchor watch at promptly 0450. I peeked out my porthole, by the sight of land glimmering in the dusk. I clamored my way on to deck and was greeted by a cheery Chad learning about anchor bearings from Sam. Of all the places I could sit on the Quarter Deck, I plopped right next to Chad to enjoy the beautiful sunrise.
Not to my surprise, I ended up refilling the coffee again (the Barista has set me up with a 17-14 ratio of cups of coffee drunk to cups of coffee drunk after needing to refill the coffee pot) before journeying up the Labtop to do some journaling. Today I finally finished catching up, recapping our past 7 days into the funniest and wittiest summary for my smart and witty future self.
Everyone gathered at our snorkel briefing: Lila, Shay, and I are hiding in the dark unintentionally!
Below me, the deck buzzed with excitement for our snorkel expedition happening at 0745. Everyone scrambled to find their equipment and dive slates, lathered up in Sun Bum Hair Lightener (yes, that is my secret, please tell the paparazzi to stop sending me emails), and made our yummy sandwiches prepared by the iconic Cat and Gracie. And just as promised, the dive boats arrived and carried us 500 meters to shore.
After we got our fabulous briefing , we sloshed onto the boats in our shorty wetsuits, knowing full well that our sunburn/tan lines would be extra silly, and motored on over to the highlight of the day, the REEF ADVENTURE. Our path took us through a break in the land strip that connected sea and lagoon, where strong current pushed us quickly over multitudes of megafauna. Sharks for Evan, rays for Rea, and even a school of miscellaneous fellas drifting along for all to see! After drifting for a while, we entered the famous aquarium, where the coral and fish where unlike anything I've ever seen before.
Flora, my esteemed snorkel buddy, counted many a Christmas tree worm and I was astounded at how many big eyed red fish lurked around in the shadows of the coral, seemingly unmoving in their sulking state. After doing our tally's for Elliott's thesis, we lugged ourselves onto the boat, peeled our wetsuits off and devoured some Cheezits (please sponsor me) before heading back home to the Robert C Seamans. And somehow it was only 1030.
I took the time to read aloud my new book (The Idiot, recommended and brought aboard by Gracie) to Nils, Rosie, and Ben, who all eventually fell asleep listening to the satirically hilarious tales of Selin and Ivan. After a mini squall that violently awoke a resting Nils and sent everyone rushing under deck, we began to prepare for another exhilarating part of our day. The Mokarran Society was coming to visit us and give a lecture about their work here in Rangiroa! Lila and Marge (Sophie M.) prepared some lovely snacks out on the quarter deck.
Jean-Marie Jeandel and Claire-Sophie Azam arrived with big smiles and lots of insane information. After a quick tour of the ship, we gathered into the main salon (in the heat) to enjoy a wonderful presentation on the Mokarran, or the Great Hammerhead Shark, which coincidentally is my favorite kind of shark! Their work involves tracking and understanding these magnificent creatures in the Rangiroa Atoll with the most respectful techniques for the sharks, community, and the integrity of the ecosystem. It was a lovely afternoon with lots of stories, science, and fun!
After bidding our new friends adieu, we pulled out trusty Jean for a little sunset sail. As freshly minted sailors (or not so much with the case of Aaron), Flora, Aaron, and I hopped on in. Aaron at the rudder and main sail, Flora with the jib, and I at the bow, I couldn't help but feel that somehow I had peaked. We sang some Kurt Vile as the sun went down and floated over the bright blue waves with not a care in the world, the pink sunset lighting up our faces -the wind in our hair. So content we were that I failed to mention how close we were to the Robert C Seaman, and how Kevo was waving, signaling us to stop. And there I was, the rudder in my left hand the main sail in my right, barreling straight towards the ship, an entire audience aboard telling me to turn.
Miraculously, I managed to avoid hitting the ship, but tragically that meant we had to tack and attempt landing number 2. The positive was that I got to practice my sailor maneuvering and listening capabilities, the negative was that on this fated second attempt, I did in fact ram into the stern of the Seamans, much to the chagrin of the crew. However, on a masterful third attempt, it seems that winds were in our favor. Aaron, our faithful leader, verbally steered us in as I, the brawn of the operation, managed an insane landing - right up to the portside -where an audience of crew awaiting with cheers and flowers (well maybe not the last part). Somehow still smiling, we crawled up on board, victorious in the face of potential disaster. I gave Jen the biggest hug I could and hobbled next to Rosie to enjoy the green flash.
Thanks to our wonderful stews, we enjoyed a dinner of pesto gnocchi and some soup leftovers from last night. C watch was on galley clean-up, which always seems to turn into a dance party that inevitably leavers us sweaty and slightly ill, but filled with lots of joy. Jen and Megan jumping around to Can't Hold Us by Macklemore has to be one of the highlights of my trip.
As I sit in the library, the light flickering and sweat dripping, with drifting sounds of Ukulele and Lila's beautiful singing, I feel overwhelmingly grateful for the past 11 weeks. Right now, there's no place I'd rather be!
Ps. Family I miss you all so much! I am sorry I couldnБ─≥t call, but no oneБ─≥s hot-Spots are working here! I will talk to you all so soon - say hi to Lincoln and Jackson and Cleo for me!