The Empathy to Love a Whale

April 22, 2024

Author: JD Reigrut, C Watch, Vassar College


Amy, Amelia, Aronah and I crushing a 100 count in the lab (photo creds Sarah)

Ship's Log

Thursday, April, 18, 2024

Noon Position: 38°03.4’S, 144°18.3’W:

Ship Heading: 280°T

Ship Speed (knots): 5.4

Taffrail Log (nm): 2335

Weather / Wind / Sail Plan (from 1300 Watch Change): Sailing on a starboard
tack under the four lowers, winds NNE force 6, rainy with low visibility

Description of location: South Pacific Gyre Core

Hi all you land lovin’ scallywags and assorted other shore folk!!

Yet another lovely day on the Bobby C! There’s no better start to a day like
a dawn watch. You really have to make the most of your days when your weeks
are only three days long. Today’s watch was slightly more treacherous than
most, with the deck being restricted due to severe rain and wind. But what
an amazing chance for me to finally debut my full foulie outfit because boy
do I look good in navy blue PVC! Got to take a free ocean shower outside of
my usual 3-minutes once every three days. The weather definitely kept us
busy with us gybing every wind shift to make as much northern progress as
the wind would allow. We unfortunately missed out on our traditional dawn
watch teatime (invented by mate Meg herself!) but still found time to enjoy
Elaina’s amazing snickerdoodles.

After my usual 5 hour nap/second sleep, I got to enjoy the best day of the
week (for our non-watch standers who still adhere to a seven day week)…
VALVE DAY! I got the luxury of partaking in a valve day last week during my
friengineer day in which Dewey the engineer and I exercised every valve on
the ship. If there are two things to know about Dewey, one is that he
doesn’t love valve day and two he recently lost his watch – current
hypothesis is that it’s in the deep reef of the main because there’s only
like 100 ft to lose something in around here. Knowing these things, a
certain group of motivated individuals under the alias “The Frogs” planted
clues on valves around the boat, leading Dewey to a certain word in the
dictionary where he could find a gift of a replacement watch (that’s made of
string and is only correct at 12:10) and a variety of other friendship
bracelets because “though time is fleeting, friendship is eternal.” Though
we’re a very prank-motivated bunch – including constantly putting a “veggie”
clothespin on people, changing all the computer screensavers to silly
pictures, a super disco, and team science conspiring to steal Izzy’s
barnacle – I have to say this is some of our finest work.

Post lunch, I received my daily mail from Postmaster Izzy which included a
letter from my long lost lover Emily, and some affirmations from Elaina
telling me that I can do hard things like wear my pants that are really,
really dirty and need to be washed so bad (Mom, you were right. I needed to
bring more layers). And in the library, Amelia, Mya, and I drew up a
beautiful deck report on the changes in the weather, obviously including a
song. It would be criminal to do a report of any kind without closing with a
catchy tune. Our song writing session was interrupted by an announcement
that there were whales!!! Everyone rushed on deck and spent the next hour
looking at the sei whales swimming super close to the ship! And just because
Davi spoke to them in her finest whale tongue, they did amazing tricks. We
speculated that one of the whales was in love with the shearwater flying
overhead in a very Romeo and Juliet-esque situation, provoking a thoughtful
question from Emily: “if you were a bird, would you have the empathy to love
a whale?” With class postponed for an afternoon of whale watching, we drank
hot chocolate during our makeshift snow day and played charades (which
Clare, the engineer, is unfairly good at).

Overall, another amazing day on this floating house/school/work/kitchen/fire
station/sanitation department/hospital etc etc. with my 37 closest friends!
Hope everyone is placing bets on the day we turn left (unless you’re Nick
the scientist – who says hi to his family – who guessed we’ll turn right).

Missing everyone back home and can’t wait to update you on everything in two
short (land) weeks!! And for my dad, I drew an amazing picture of a platypus
in a visor in my Sheet Anchor. XO

JD Reigrut, C Watch, Vassar College

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