“Thar she blows mateys! Lower the whale boats ya landlubbers and bring us back a beauty of the deep! Fire up the main furnace, Nate!” That’s our captain, Chris, bellowing to the crew to set out on a whale chase. Ha ha, I am kidding. We did, however, see a pair of minke whales this morning as we sailed out of the Bay of Islands, heading for the deeper water of the Kermadec Trench. The whales, along with dozens of gannets diving to their breakfast, and a pod of dolphins on the hunt, were a fitting goodbye to land and coastal waters. As we proceeded towards the deeper ocean, a large albatross bid us farewell before disappearing over the horizon.
Whales, albatross, and the open ocean are three things I’ve been able to check off of my semester wish-list today. One has to take advantage of a clear, sunny day like today, since the alternative is below-deck, where sea sickness can be much worse, bouncing between the walls as you move from your bunk to the head and back. Now that we’re moving away from land, our world has become varying shades of blue and white as far as the eye can see. A far cry from the fall colors of Vassar on the other side of the world.
As part of the second stage of the sea component, we’ve shifted watch mates. B-Watch, my little family for the trip, is now working with Rebecca, the first mate. Our watch has proved quite lucky when it comes to wildlife sightings, ever since one of our first night watches when we were treated to an incredible display of bioluminescence. After our visit to Paradise Bay, spirits are high as we head out to Kermadec, and all that
awaits us in the open ocean.
Shout-out to my family, Maya, and all my friends, sending you all love from the deep!