(pre-note: read this part leisurely with some upbeat music)
We woke up to another beautiful morning in Hawaii and a delectable breakfast of sweetened quinoa, home fries, and pineapple. After cleaning up, Port watch was eager to begin our last reef survey only to have our excitement shut down by 30 knot winds. Although it was one of the coolest (temperature wise) days yet, 30 knots is not typical surveying weather, not to worry! We are very open to chill mornings (after many dawn watches, a few extra hours to do whatever you want is reviving). Until the wind died down and we were ready to being surveying, starboard watch took turns holding down the fort while the rest of us spent the morning reading, a lot, enjoying the wind chill, some bonding, and BUSTING down some food. After our lunch of veggie stir-fry, starboard watch was off to start their very last survey. Although I didn’t know it yet, we were about to have ourselves an afternoon…as soon as starboard got back to the ship, things got crazy (start reading this part really fast and maybe change the music to like hard rock or something). We had to quickly trade positions, where Starboard needed to get out of the rescue boats, give Port their PFDs, and move out of the way, while Port had to collect all of Starboards things, move them aside, grab PFDs and snorkel gear, make sure we had all of the survey supplies in the boat, and get ourselves actually into the boat. Now imagine this happening all at the same time within 5 minutes and in about 10 feet of deck, it was crazy stressful, BUT we made it and started our survey (which ended up to be interesting for both groups because of the currents and other stressors but also turned out fine in the end). Now tired, salty, and sun warmed, we analyzed some data, ate chicken-pot-pie and mashed potatoes, and spent the rest of the night showering, jamming to music while cleaning, and enjoying the last bits of disconnect from the rest of the world. Although today was definitely a test of how well we can handle unexpected changes and stress, I am sitting here in the little library off the main saloon, listening to music, laughter, and overwhelming chatter and could not be happier. I love this group of people and the way that even through the harder days, we wrap up the night in the best way we know how, together.
Hi family, I’m super tan and blonde and reek of salt and a third day worn shirt but I’m having so much fun. Give Cricky a kiss for me, I love and miss you guys so much.
Stella Jaunich, A Watch, CU Boulder