Location: Mo'orea, Society Islands
As we get closer to the end of our voyage, there will be a lot of ‘Lasts’– last time setting the Fisherman Staysail, last time having to be a Saltie on a day when Alex is Head Chef, last night watch together, looking at a million stars, laughing at inside jokes and sitting at the bow looking for meteorites lighting up the inky sky. Last night was our last night at sea, and it was one to be remembered. After dinner, where Alex seemed to have dirtied every dish in the galley to serve us all make-your-own sandwiches, (8 knives? 5 chopping boards?!) Watch team 3 took the deck from 2000-0000 for our final watch.
It’s been such a blast being with Watch Team 3, we have had a lot of good times, a lot of ridiculous conversations, a lot of laughs and have learned so many things together. It’s bittersweet to come to the end of our voyaging and to be counting this ‘last.’ The people you sail with define the experience you have. Your shipmates become something more than friends, more like family. You can’t choose them, but you spend so much time together and go through so many experiences together that you build a special bond.
As we sailed Argo onwards past Tahiti, rolling off the miles, nothing but the wind to carry us, we recorded speeds of over nine kts for most of the watch. The bright lights of the North Shore and the lighthouse at Venus Point melted away in our wake. With the wind a steady Force 4 on our beam, and smooth seas in the lee of the high, majestic Tahiti, we made the most of our time on deck. Towards the end of our watch, the wind died away, shadowed as we approached Mo’orea,
We called Skipjack (our name for Jack, who has been elected student Skipper) and Watch team 3 did what they do best, jumped to handling the sails (they do a lot of other things well too, but they are the A-team when it comes to handling the rigging) and as a team, led by Alex, our fearless student elected Watch Team leader, we sheeted staysails amidships and dropped the jib. Sophie and Drake flaked the sail on the bowsprit as the halyard was lowered, putting it to bed for the last time, and Watch Team 1 appeared on deck for our midnight handover, so together we handled the Mains’l and flaked it on its boom.
Just before 2 A.M, we approached the passage into Opunohu Bay, on the north side of Mo’orea, and we transited the reef pass in the middle of the night, guided in by the lights and our radar, dropping anchor in the head of the bay.
The light of day arose over the most spectacular and rugged green pinnacles and mountains surrounding us here in the bay, and the plan for our Monday was to continue with our Rescue Diver exercises. How lucky we have been, to be able to do our skills in multi-hued, picture-perfect blue water, surrounded by the green, green splendor, basking in the sun.
We had a lot of fun with it too, learning how to pull an unconscious person from the water into the dinghy, there were a lot of giggles as we watched everyone test their skill. Probably my favorite moment of the day was watching the guys on my Rescue Diver team try to ladder-carry each other, playing dead, onto Argo. David B easily carried Sam up the ladder, but when Alex tried to carry David D up…well, I guess you just had to be there (check out the photo, just the tip of the iceberg!)
Back on board Argo, sails were being unbent (removed to put into storage) by the Middle children (Alexa, Ivan and Jack) who had had some shore leave in the A.M, and Jenna and Brittney were having some hilarious Divemaster-related shenanigans of their own, aided by some of the crew, who have been flexing their acting muscles playing as dive customers. The lasts may be coming, but we are still packing as much into each day as we can, and as I write the students are sitting their Marine Biology final exam. Good luck, friends!
Also, a big shout out today to Ivan, happy 25th! And thanks for having a birthday, so we got to eat delicious chocolate cake-cookie combo dessert…
Pictured: Argo at anchor in the picture perfect Opunohu Bay, Rescuing Bianca from a hair-tangle, Amanda towing Bianca during Rescue Exercise 7, Kai getting Eliza into the dingy in 11 seconds flat! Fake-unconscious David D gets ladder carried by Alex as Sam, David and myself laugh.