Musings From Aloft

March 15, 2024

Author: Ren Block, Mount Holyoke College

Ren Aloft 3small

Ship's Log

March 13th, 2024Position: Dunedin (docked)Weather: So lovely

Hello Everyone !I am sort of at a loss for words as I sit here to type this blog. This trip,which is now (unfortunately) near its end, has left me nearly speechless.Even so, I'll try my best to describe the wonders I've been experiencing asI sit here, warming up with my cup of hot cocoa down below after my secondtime aloft, and reminiscing. (Also, as I write this, Nicholas is playing asong from my favorite video game on the ukelele and it's filling me with somuch joy and nostalgia. Thank you Nicholas).Anyways, I hope this doesn't come across too rambly, but I do not know howto express my love for this wonderful place, ship, and crew in any otherway. Today was our last day in Dunedin, a city filled with some of the mostdelicious food and kindest people you will ever meet. In every shop andrestaurant I went to, even with the security guards that watch over our shipduring the day, I fell into conversations with the people I met like theywere long lost friends. I could physically feel joy radiating off ofeveryone in this city, and I think it must come from living is such awonderful place. In the past three days, I have explored more thrift storesand used bookstores than I have in my entire life, and spent all of my moneyin the process. I lingered in coffee shops, ate the most incredible Frenchtoast, gelato, and samosas, and got to watch the people I have grown to lovethroughout this trip fall in love with the places around us as well. I havethe biggest smile on my face as I remember kicking Nicholas' butt in pool atmy first ever real pool hall while eating fries (to be fair he actually won2/3 games, but I put up a good fight).I also went aloft today, for my second time ever! Aloft is one of my newfavorite places in the whole world. Aloft and Lookout are the two placeswhere I feel like I can be alone with my thoughts in the most peaceful waypossible. It's also partly why this writing is so whimsical, I feel like I'mstill stuck in the clouds with the birds. It also made me so nostalgic for atrip that hasn't even ended yet. While I was sitting up there, I thoughtabout how much I have learned while being here. From my watch winning thepin-rail chase, to sailing through the Cook Strait in a gale, I feel like Ihave grown so much. I can finally steer at the helm without feeling soscared to run the ship aground, which is also a nice change. Not to mentionmy day as Stustew! It was so much fun, and combined my loves of cooking withmy love of the sea. And if accidentally made a non-kosher Shabbot dinner,that's neither here nor there.I also am so grateful to every single member of this crew. I have made someof the best friends of my life here! I know that I will be texting Katie(the beastest of beasts) about every single life update, and will be sendingNeel the stupidest videos in the world. I couldn't have done this withoutthem. In fact, by this point, everyone is in the Main Salon with me, makingtoo much noise in the best way possible (sorry Drew, I promise that we'lltry to be more quiet).Okay, well, I hope that this made sense to anyone but me! Thank you all forreading this mess of emotions and joy that I'm sending out to the world.Love,-Ren BlockP.S. Hi Mom, Dad, Grant, Poppy, and Belle! I love you guys so much, and Ihave fun gifts upon my return 🙂P.P.S. I wish that doordash via albatross was real, and I would spend all ofmy money.(Pictures to include: Ren aloft 1, Ren aloft 2, and Ren aloft 3)

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