Hello friends! Fair warning: awesomeness to come, this has very possibly been one of my favorite days of the trip so far, so buckle your seatbelts.
As of early this morning, we have officially arrived in Nuku Hiva! Anchored in Hakatea Bay, we arose this morning to the 0600 beckon of an all-hands breakfast. The whole crew got to sit on the quarterdeck, eat the amazing food, and take in the beautiful mountains that the island has to offer.
After breakfast everybody dispersed, preparing themselves for a long day of hiking and getting wet! Before our departure the deck was once again, a sunscreen lathering party. Though despite our best efforts many still fell victim to the UVs. Thank goodness for lab fridge aloe! After packing our lunches and securing our life jackets, we were soon taken to shore via the rescue boat.
As soon as we got on land we were immediately greeted with soft volcanic sand and all the sea glass I could ever dream of (like, grandma, you wouldn’t believe it. It was so much). No, I did not kiss the ground, I had been planning on it for dramatic effect but alas, I forgot. Once all of us had been transported from the Beefy Bobby C. onto land for the first time in approximately 11 days (but who’s counting), we met our lovely guide, Maria, who was going to be guiding us through the jungle! The road to get there was lined with houses playing music, dogs running around, and horses! So many horses!
Cute little group photo post-stream
As we entered the canopied jungle the heat of the day subsided a bit, and cooled down a lot when I slipped and submerged myself into the first river we got to cross. Oops! With my body temperature cooled and smiles on all of our faces, we passed through more small creeks, slick mud, and beautiful lookout spots as we got higher into the mountains. Una found a mossy rock along the trail that made her heart sing and I am eternally happy for her! I can concur it was a very beautiful rock.
Then, we heard it before we saw it. Possibly the most pristine stream I have encountered in all my years was straight ahead. Our group split into 2 here.
One group would be led into the valley, and one would be staying for a few minutes at the stream before we would switch. I stayed by the water. This freshwater stream may possibly have been my absolute highlight of the trip so far. I came prepped and ready so as the first group went off to see the valley, the clothes were off, bathing suit was already on, and I was in the water. Chad (don’t be fooled, it’s Rosie) and I followed Engineer Nate’s lead and floated ourselves down the rocky waters, letting the water carry us where it may. The end result was many belly scrapes and many very happy hikers.
We sat, basking in the perfect coolness of the water until the first group returned and it was time to continue our hike. Because it’s the dry season, the waterfall in the valley was dried up, but the sunlight shining on the towering rocks overhead were just as awe-inspiring. We walked silently as to not disturb any possibly loose rocks above. When we got back to the stream, Maria told us that just past where we could see, there was a place we could ACTUALLY swim and people went running. A little swimming hole lived just a minute from where we had set up lunch and almost no one could touch the bottom!
Then we packed up and made our way back. Though, we didn’t go straight back.
One wheelbarrow and multiple crates later… So much fruit
We made a little pit stop at the house of one of the other tour guides and they gave us free bananas! Telling us to, “Take 2! Take 3! All of them!”
Everyone in the group was stuffing our faces with easily the best bananas I’ve ever eaten. We also bought most of the fruit from their fruit stand.
Coconuts, bananas, starfruit, oh my! The galley is incredibly well-stocked now and when the galley’s happy, the crew’s happy!
From there we made our way back to the beach and set up camp under the cool shade of a tree. Some people went back to the ship, some surfed, some dug into their freshly shucked coconuts, and some slept, wiped from the day we’d had.
And it was only 1300!
We had our fun on the beach for another 3 hours and after Rea, Adele, Jen, Chad, Flora, Aaron, Massi, and Elliott caught some totally awesome waves (entirely inspired by Chicken Joe from Surf’s Up), and I made some new dog friends, we headed back to the ship.
Just as everyone was regaining their sea legs, Megan brought out the fiddle for the first time this trip! And, surprise surprise, as of just hours ago, the fiddle is my new favorite instrument. The Robert C. Seamans is conducting a new type of science now because mere minutes after Megan began shredding the strings; FOUR manta rays were dancing around our ship! Accompanied by 2 large tiger sharks spotted by Ben and Nils aloft!
Me and Chad: submerged
At our ship’s evening muster just after the sun had set, Elon Musk interrupted Capt. Kevo’s announcements by launching countless Starlink satellites, shooting through the stars in a line above us. Then, as the full moon rose over the mountain, a group howl erupted on the quarterdeck. We can’t help it, we’re sailors, and the moon just calls to us.
Now wait a minute… 4 manta rays?? Make that 5! We just saw one off of the science getting a little evening snack of some tasty copepods attracted to our water light.
Now as I’m writing this, drinking my ship tea (which is different from land tea, I assure you), I am incredibly grateful. After that amazing day we’ve just had, we’re going to go to sleep tonight on the same tall ship we’ve been sleeping on for the past 2 weeks, with amazing people we never would have met had we not chosen to be here right now. I am so unbelievably grateful to be having these mind blowing opportunities that I’m having on a daily basis and for these amazing connections that have been formed around them! I’ve also shucked and eaten more coconuts in the past two weeks than I thought I ever would which is a total plus! Now excuse me, I have to go continue sanding my coconut bowl.
Shout out everyone back home! Miss you guys and can’t wait to tell you all about these amazing adventures! <333 (prepare for some crazy awesome slideshows)