Chad on Deck
February 24, 2023
Rosie Chater (Chad)
The day cracked open to the sight of Ben and Lila, time lapsing their yoga on the GUMP station pier. Some day they will get that yoga sponsorship. The rest of us lazed about the morning, waking for a luxury breakfast at 0800. With a bin of baguettes with fresh pineapple and brie under the fare, it’s hard not to be a morning person in Mo’orea. We’re so spoiled.
As the sun poured her rays over the land and sea, the day unfolded into organized chaos—our groups specialty. Rosie (AK), Arron (Mimi), Nils (Niels), and Flora (Flobs) worked on their flying shapes as they enjoyed their last Gump dip off the pier. Niels and Aaron mastered the art of the no-handed dive, while Rosie became Michael Phelps. I took some bomb photos while getting splashed by the acrobats. Once fully saturated, I ascended our beloved hill for the final time.
The rest of the morning was a blur. I spent a fair amount of time staring out at the sea trying to place myself in the world. It was an oil slick beyond the reef. Beautiful glassy calm water for miles, reflecting the cumulus clumps above.
We cleaned the bungalows and said our goodbyes to Raymond and Penny (station puppies) before lugging our heavy bags up to the top of the hill for the trucks to pick up. We then enjoyed our final poisson cru and rice for lunch. Melina, Wendy, and Val delivered a truly touching goodbye to our group, followed by shell leis as a parting gift. They told us about how when someone arrives, they receive a flower lei as a welcome, and when they leave, they are gifted a shell lei, as a sign they will return. Before we knew it, we were sitting on the cool cement floor of the ferry terminal eating fried banana balls and coconut milk cake. Una (Tuna) bought some red citrusy mangoes that gave her the dreaded Cheeto fingers.
We soon boarded the ferry and stood atop the third deck to feel the breeze. Great crested terns soared along with us, flying low over our heads and calling out their little tern calls:) Brown boobies and black noddies skimmed the water surface, chasing flying fish. That ferry ride knocked my socks off, and I wasn’t even wearing socks to begin with.
Pulling into the ferry terminal in Papeete, we saw our beloved ship and a group of souls donned in indigo Howling Bird Studio T’s (white print). Fabulous T-shirts, really. I wonder where they all got them. Finally meeting the wonderful crew, we boarded the ship with all our luggage with a quick fire-line and found our beds. I have to say my first steps on the Robert C. Seamans felt no short of right. I’m so ecstatic for her to be our home for the next month! We mustered on the quarter deck for a welcome round of names and home ports and zesty facts (another specialty of ours). At long last! We have our watch groups! I am now a proud member of ‘C’ watch, the “C” standing for Chad, of course. In our watch groups, we did some orientation stations of the science deck and lab, the engine room, line handling, and boat checks. By the end of these meetings, the sky was a painting of gold, pink, ultramarine, and even a vivid rainbow!
As the sun set on the day, we chomped down on some burrito bowls that Cat and Gracie (our stewards) whipped up for us. After dinner, we had a science deployment demo, a galley orientation, and a birthday celebration for Evan and Olivia! The rest if the night will be spent unpacking into our little caves and getting our last proper night of sleep before watch schedule consumes us. Bonne Nuit!
Rosie Chater (Chad)
P.S. Snarah if you’re reading this I love and miss you dearest! I can actually smell you from here <3
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rosie smells absolutely RANCID all the way across the ocean i swear i’m so stupidly happy adventures are being had <3