After a day of anchoring near Mala island, and a day of motor-sailing around the Tongan sea, we arrived at Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha'apai. This is the world's newest island, formed by volcanic eruptions from within the ocean. Scientists thought that the volcanic matter was not going to stay out of the water, but it did, and that's how the island was created! It's still a pretty unexplored piece of land, so we are extremely excited to be here and do some science. This is a stop that wasn't originally part of the voyage, and our captain, Jay, told us not to get too excited about going there, but here we are. Dan from NASA is also here, and we hope to help him out with some research on the island and learn from this truly unique opportunity. Among our many goals: to search for flowers and pyroclastic bombs, the latter being solidified ash, the presence of which may help explain why the island has not disappeared into the ocean. Tomorrow we will all have the chance to go ashore, and I look forward to it.
Life aboard the Seamans was quite eventful throughout the weekend. We had our first field day, a cleaning extravaganza that takes place every week in order to keep our home clean. My watch was in charge of cleaning the galley, while the other watches were in charge of cleaning other areas of the ship. We took everything out of the galley and scrubbed almost every inch of it with soap and water. It was tiring, but after this activity we were allowed to swim in the ocean. This was a really fun surprise after hours of hard work! I'm very enthusiastic about sailing again after a few days on port, and happy to keep exploring the beauty of Tonga.
Hello to all my family and friends, and happy late birthday to dear Cara, hope your day was full of love and fun!
- Debora Ortiz, A Watch, Knox College