Flukes, Fathoms, and Farewells

March 18, 2023

Elliott Bates, C Watch

Crew and scientist jumped, swam, and surfed, to celebrate our time in Rangiroa. Kelly Morgan photographed the event from her drone.
2023-03-18_KM_SWIM_small

Crew and scientist jumped, swam, and surfed, to celebrate our time in Rangiroa. Kelly Morgan photographed the event from her drone.

Ship's Log

Noon Position
14° 54.093’ S 147° 42.079’ W

Ship Heading  and Speed
225°at 4.3 nm/hr

Log (nm)
1967 nm

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.

Souls on Board

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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…

Kelly Morgan captured the Robert C. Seamans navigating the Tiputa Pass on a rising tide. The timing of our departure was critical; coral heads jutted from the water while dolphins swam alongside. Rosie Chater skillfully piloted the vessel through at the helm.

Kelly Morgan captured the Robert C. Seamans navigating the Tiputa Pass on a rising tide. The timing of our departure was critical; coral heads jutted from the water while dolphins swam alongside. Rosie Chater skillfully piloted the vessel through at the helm.

… 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.

C Watch set the above sail plan. For the first time in a longtime the engine remained off as we progressed towards the next destination.

C Watch set the above sail plan. For the first time in a longtime the engine remained off as we progressed towards the next destination.

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.

Three Sperm Whales were spotted by Jen Borderud.

Three Sperm Whales were spotted by Jen Borderud.

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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2 Comments

  1. Anonymous March 21, 2023 at 14:04 - Reply

    Hey! Looks like a blast gang – Latham

  2. Latham March 21, 2023 at 14:12 - Reply

    Hey Gang! It sounds like a blast out there. Don’t let Rosie near the beans!!

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