Although my day technically began with my 0040 watch, it really began when I (and my roommates in the foc’sl) were jolted awake by the *very* loud sound of the windlass deploying the ships anchor. We had to move away from the dock to accommodate ships that needed to dock in the harbor, so I woke up to blue water outside my porthole instead of the shipping container. Not bad. Maren was thrilled that when she came to do morning wake-ups, everyone was already awake.
Our new anchored position also meant that getting to Vava’u was a little more challenging than walking across the gateway. Emily shuttled us all in a small boat over to a floating dock so that we could make our meeting with VEPA, the Vava’u Environmental Protection Association. After an informative slide show presentation about the wide range of work that VEPA does and a question and answer session (and a lunch break), we joined VEPA for a beach clean up. I lost count of the number of bags we filled, and along the way we saw a huge variety of fish, moon jellies, fruit bats, and oyster fisheries. It was a hot but very rewarding day.
After the beach clean up, we had free time to explore Vava’u, and by the time we were due back to the ship, she was docked again. Upon returning to the ship, we all dressed up – to the best of our ability—for a very special dinner. Pen, our Tongan observer, and his family brought a feast for us all to enjoy, and both the food and the company was amazing. The night ended with delicious chocolate cupcakes courtesy of Sabrina and a loud and slightly off-key rendition of “Happy Birthday” to celebrate Frank’s 23rd birthday. I couldn’t have asked for a better end to an awesome day.
Bye for now,
Cecelia Bolon, B Watch (Best Watch), Northeastern University