Setting Sail for Orona

July 22, 2019

Harrison Rogers, C Watch, Whitman College

conner-of sunrise and harrison


Ship's Log

Current Position
3 Degrees 25 Minutes South. 171 degrees 45.35 Minutes West

Ship’s Heading and Speed
165 Degrees 7 knots

Sail Plan
On our way to Orona

Clear Skies

Souls on Board

Hi Mom! Today is the day we set sail for Orona. My early morning was spent recovering from a long night of performances, dancing, storytelling and a feast I won’t soon forget.  After few hours standing watch my fellow watch mates and I hopped into our Defender (small boat) and headed to a new coral sight recently named “coral plains”, and for good reason.  The sight is overgrown with massive expanses of coral that appear to resemble the rolling landscape of the American west. Coral hills, valleys, and long expansive “plains” fill your view and beyond. As you probably already know, as an avid fisherman, every time I enter the water here it is a both a blessing and a curse.

I gaze upon monstrous Napoleon Wrasse I have dreamed of catching and releasing on coral atolls in the south pacific since I first learned of their existence eight years ago, I am approached by Blue-star trevally that come so close I could touch them, and then of course there’s the dinner time blow ups of monstrous Giant Trevally. Something tells me I will be back for them one day. Conner and I wasted no time this morning considering it was a short 30 minute snorkel. The highlight of our morning had to be when we were approached by a juvenile green sea turtle that kept us company for quite a while at just a few arm lengths distance.  On our way back we took the skiffs through the “cut” which is an experience I will never tire of. Seeing hundreds if not thousands of noddies flying a few feet above your head is an awe invoking experience. When we got back to the boat we were greeted by our new friends. The children from the primary school were aboard and excited to play and sing during the last few hours of our stay on Kanton. It’s a special to see how much our short visit means to them.

I am sad to leave Kanton, but I feel I have experienced a tremendous amount in the two free days I spent here. I already mentioned the torture of seeing so many beautiful species I have always dreamed of catching; and while true, by Miita and Tuake’s grace my time here was not totally bereft of presenting a lure. I was honored to receive an invitation to fish with three local fishermen in preparation for our feast last night. It’s humbling to think how few have had such an opportunity.  As always the day proved to be a mixing of cultures and techniques, but as a result of our shared foundational identity we fell into a natural rhythm as if we had been fishing together for decades. After just a few hours we had enough Yellowfin, Dogtooth, and Red Bass to feed everyone at the event and even a little extra for a boat meal or two, the first of which Lauren prepared this evening. Tuna poke, new memories, and a night of epic stars, I couldn’t have asked for more.

Kiss Lucky for me. Tell Dad I love him. Thank you for all that you’re doing while I’m away (remember to sell that lallapolooza 4 day pass). Love you. Miss you. – Harrison

- Harrison Rogers, C Watch, Whitman College

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