Home sweet home at Gump Station in Moorea

May 6, 2024

Author: JD Reigrut, Vassar College & Emily Bengston, Oberlin College

Hi, we’re JD and Emily, just some kids from the (boat) neighborhood here to talk to you today about our first 24 hours back on land!

Our reentry to land life began with saying goodbye to the wonderful boat crew not continuing to Moorea with us. We miss them already and are so grateful to have met them. We met up with our favorite human and professional basketball player, Jen who took us to the market in Papeete. It was so crazy to see all of the cars and people and sounds of the town when we were used to the open ocean with our 37 closest friends and no one else. After drinking some boba and trying to make everyone our new closest friends, we returned to the Bobby C. to collect our belongings and began the harrowing trek (about 5 minutes) to the ferry. Some of us (Emily) packed light and were able to make it in one go; others of us (JD) had a stuffed shark named Winston who kept wanting to escape.

Eventually, we all piled onto the ferry where the French tourists seemed uninterested in positive door control – a necessary boat skill. Amelia and I (JD) played “Alphabetical, what are you bringing to the emergency life raft” and were shocked when no one else joined in. Here’s what we came up with: an anteater, berries to feed the anteater, a cod end jar, a declination table, elbow pasta (the really big brown ones), the flying fish in Gene, Gene, a helping hand, Izzy, Julia’s Dog, Kaptain Allison, a lint roller, Matt’s foulie hat, a nautie (nautical) almanac, olive oil, pample juice (water full of grapefruit, a boat delicacy), question, rust remover in your eyes, a sextant, Turner (the Matthew Turner), underwear, and a vector master.

We took the bus to Gump, our home for the next two weeks, and went swimming off the floating dock while everyone else unpacked. After weeks of being on the ocean without being in it, we felt like our journey was complete. We eventually moved into our rooms and had an all-hands dinner with so much amazing fresh fruit and veggies!  With all the excitement, we were ready for a long shower, some laundry, and sleep. Overall, our first day back on land was a great success – although some of us are still adjusting. I (Emily) am struggling to remember to feed my compost to the goat in our backyard rather than the ocean, Megan walked face first into a glass door, Charlie sat down and broke a wooden chair, and I (JD) looked up and a coconut fell on my head. Speaking of coconuts, Sam Sam the Coconut Man has found his new passion collecting and opening coconuts around campus to keep us well fed! The fresh coconut water is amazing, but our favorite thing about coconuts is that they’re round – like a BASKETBALL!!

* Basketball, basketball, come one, come all *

* Basketball, basketball, come one, come all *

We’ve yet to play basketball in Moorea, but are looking forward to two great weeks of fun and bonding, no matter what sports we play (UCLA students, we’re going to crush you in volleyball).

Love from land <3

JD and Emily

JD Reigrut, Vassar College

Emily Bengston, Oberlin College

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