Flukes, Fathoms, and Farewells
March 18, 2023
Elliott Bates, C Watch
14° 54.093’ S 147° 42.079’ W
Ship Heading and Speed
225°at 4.3 nm/hr
Weather / Wind / Sail Plan (from 1300 Watch Change)
Winds ENE Beaufort force 3, seas NE at 3 feet, scattered cumulus clouds, 31.9 °C. The mainstay sail, forestay sail, and topsail are set. We are expecting to set the course sail and raffee.
Description of location
20 nm SW of Rangiroa, 180 nm NE of Mo’orea.
Today we departed from Rangiroa, Tuamotu Archipelago, making way under sail to Mo’orea, Windward Islands. Just prior to departure we made ready the ship and cleared the decks, reclaiming both wet and dry laundry to below. The morning work complete, we celebrated with a swim call! Each sailor leapt skywards from the bowsprit, taking in the beauty of the turquoise waters. As we swam the tides began to change…
… to change to the perfect departure! We were dependent on a rising (water flowing into the lagoon) tide, allowing for maximum control while we navigated to the high seas. C Watch and I were on duty for the act. Once safely away from Rangiroa the mainstay sail, forestay sail, and topsail were set on a steady broad reach.
Sails set, each sailor took a breath of relief and headed to lunch.
Suddenly, the intercom roared to life: WHALE OFF PORT MIDSHIP! Three sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) danced alongside the ship. Tails slapped.
Blowholes shot water higher than the deck. We witnessed one whale drift lazily abeam, soaking in the radiating sun. Cheering erupted with every act, the great majesty of Nature playing before us and the atoll.
Yet we continued. A sad certainty tinged with hope filled me - nothing is surer as the final sight of an island by sea. To watch the place that inspired us with its incredible community, multicolor reefs, and warm coral sands disappear over the horizon is to utter a final goodbye, one where ‘until next time’ hangs on the salt laden air. No one knows when that next time will be. Hope endures with the memories of paradise.
Thank you to everyone following along with the blog at home. Your support and messages from afar, whenever they arrive, means the world to each of us.
We have each come so far in our aspirations, abilities, and knowledge from the voyage. Departing Rangiroa, our last new port of call, shows how important your support has been. Thanks again.
Author Name & Watch
Elliott Bates, C Watch
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Hey! Looks like a blast gang – Latham
Hey Gang! It sounds like a blast out there. Don’t let Rosie near the beans!!