Off the Grid

April 10, 2024

Author: Anneka Pitera, C watch, Oberlin College and Conservatory

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Ship's Log

Monday, 8 April 2024

Noon Position (Lat and Long): 42° 05.9’ S x 162° 58.7’ W
Ship Heading (degrees): 055°
Ship Speed (knots): 5.7 knots
Taffrail Log (nm): 1190 nm
Weather / Wind / Sail Plan (from 1300 Watch Change): Sailing on starboard tack under the stays’ls, jib, and jib tops’l. Wind SxW with unlimited visibility.
Description of location: Southern South Pacific Subtropical Gyre

The days leading up to our departure were difficult. Trying to say goodbye
to all of my friends and family took many phone calls. And the suspense of
not knowing how the transition to no cellular service was going to be was
definitely difficult. If only I could tell my past self how seamless and
amazing this first week has been, with the first two days as an exception.

Those were difficult with a combination of sea sickness, home sickness, and
sleep deprivation. With only 12 hours between each 6-hour watch to sleep,
eat, take time for myself, and socialize, building a balance has taken time.
The watch rotation works in a 3 day rotation, aka what my watch calls a 3
day week. Because of this, there is one day every three days where you have
two watches: Dawn watch (0100-0700) and Evening watch (1900-0100). During
these days I have averaged a total of 3 hours of sleep between dawn and
evening watch. Not great, I know, but there are just so many exciting things
that are happening all the time! Or, what happened two days ago, when the
ship was moving too much for my body to sleep more than one hour in the 24
hour period. (To my parents: do not worry, this is completely normal and I
am getting enough sleep the other two days). This does not help with my
balanced schedule, though (oops).

Not having internet connection has not been an issue. There has been so much
activity, especially at the beginning, that I forgot my phone even existed.
My focus has been on finding Glaucus Atlanticus (my research topic) but so
far, to no avail. We have found so many other cool creatures during our
neuston and meter net tows including the Portuguese Man O’ War! Who knows,
if we don’t get any glaucus we will be changing from “Team Glaucus to Team
Man O’ War”(Sarah K.).

I could tell so many stories from this past week though none of which has
any mention of internet or phones. Many of us have said it feels like “we
have always lived on this boat, we were born here, never seen land” (Finn
T.), and it is so true. The movement of the boat has become second nature,
phones are out of thought. As time has gone on, I have started liking the
idea of texting less and less. Being here with these amazing people and
talking face to face has felt way more fulfilling than texting ever did. I
used to think texting was great, I could say my thoughts easily to a screen,
but I am realizing now that it never felt genuine or real.

Many people have said this in their blogs, and it is true. When you are on
lookout there isn’t much to do but think and take in the 360 degrees of just
ocean surrounding you. No people for miles. I have never felt so connected
to nature, or so alive for that matter, than I have on this boat. I know we
are only starting our second week, but I already know I will miss this
experience dearly. It will be difficult transitioning back onto land,
probably more than it was to go to sea.

To my friends and family (and dogs), I have been doing amazing. I miss you
all so dearly. If you’re wondering how the food has been, the stewards make
such amazing food, every meal I say that it is my new favorite meal.

To my parents, I miss you both dearly. Though I have had such a great time
here and I wouldn’t change this experience for the world. I know you both
miss me as well and probably worry, but don’t worry I am doing just fine, if
not great, with my 37 new closest friends. Give the dogs a hug and a kiss
for me.

Uncle Royce: I have learned so much about sailing. It has been a lot of
information all at once, and I still have a lot to learn, but I know at the
end of this I will have much to talk to you about.

Gigi and Rowan: I chose today for my blog because it should be published
tomorrow which is Gigi’s birthday and as close as I could get to Rowan’s.
Happy birthday to both of you! Gigi, You’re 21 now(Or will be the day after
this comes out)! And Rowan! No longer a teen congratulations! I miss you and
everyone else at school so much. I can’t wait to catch you all up on
everything in a couple weeks!

Much love to everyone back home. (I am so sad I am missing the solar
eclipse). See you on the other side!

Anneka Pitera, C watch, Oberlin College and Conservatory

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2 Comments

  1. Allegra Pitera April 14, 2024 at 19:28 - Reply

    So wonderful to hear of your amazing trip! The Ocean, ship, research, great meals & new friends sound like the perfect recipe for a fabulous life-altering adventure! Good luck finding a Glaucus Atlanticus!
    The eclipse totality was spectacular but you will have other chances to see it in the future! We miss you of course! Coco & Banksy say Hi! Love & hugs from afar! XOXO Mom 💕😘

  2. Dan Pitera April 14, 2024 at 20:23 - Reply

    We are so happy to read all of the blogs. They are amazingly effective in giving us some sense of what it is like, especially for those of us who really will never know…Like Me.
    Anneka, such a wonderful post! We know you are doing great! We never had a doubt. Yes, we miss you. But that is a small price for doing any adventure, especially this one! Continue to take it all in…

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