The last couple of days have been a blast! We have been at anchor in the lagoon of Rangiroa, resting up after a few days at sea and preparing to commence our long transit to Hawaii. In the meantime, we fortunately are able to enjoy a bit of what the Tuamotus have to offer. Yesterday we spent our morning snorkeling on one of the most beautiful, vibrant reefs I have ever seen. Sighting highlights include some black tip reef sharks, a moray eel, parrotfish, and schools of 50+ unicorn fish sticking their little snoots above the surface of the water. Afterwards, we fought the heat of the afternoon with some nap time, more swimming, and much-coveted chance to launch and play with our sailing skiff, Gene. Shout out to Sam from S-307 and Ava from S-306 for giving Gene some much-needed love and attention, enabling us to play with her right now! Sadly, evening activities were canceled due to squalls. The rain was quite refreshing, though.
Today, our morning focused on getting in a bunch more training. Team science started things out. Katherine led groups through deploying the shipek grab to see what the lagoon floor is like. Matt drove our rescue boat at precisely 2 kt (give or take) to gather net tow samples. Meanwhile, Vanessa helped people work on their plankton identification skills. After all of that, it was deck’s turn. Cynthia taught people how to whip the ends of lines as step one of her project to make new sail ties for the ship, Olivia taught a lesson about the physics of sailing and different points of sail, and I practiced knots with the students.
The afternoon was much the same as yesterday, managing the early autumn heat by avoiding the sun, or submerging in water. Fortunately, no squalls at the moment, so as I write this the bulk of the ship’s company is enjoying another rarity in our program, a movie night! The deckhands were given control of our morale drive and selected The Hunt for the Wilderpeople.
Shout out to Mum. I actually wrote a blog entry, so I figured I should say hi! Sounds like I won’t be able to make it out East for a visit after this trip as I’ll be sailing S-309 as well.
Rocky, Chief Mate, A Watch