Location: Rarotonga, Cook Islands

The day begins at 7 am, there is a slight nip in the air, and there is a harmonious voice there gently waking you up to the words of Robbie Williams’ “Angels.” Perfect awakening, right?

It’s the 4th of July, so as the residents stir, this is quickly transformed into a chorus of voices singing every American patriotic song you can think of, Tim and I became worried as the only Brits on board we might end up in the dinghy, and Canadian Maddie by commonwealth association, so we agreed to raise the American courtesy flag in honor of their Independence Day.

The day then kicks off full swing by prepping for our passage to Tonga, everyone on deck and below ensuring the boat is 40/40’ed which has probably been mentioned and explained before but is a term I’ve heard on board here, meaning readying for 40 degrees of heel and 40 knots of wind. Strapping and lashing everything down to avoid the issue when we are getting bashed about on the open waves. This also included husking all the coconuts we were given by Jack so that we can store them below.

Simultaneously Tim retrieved an anchor for a local that he lost two years ago, making some friends over here, and leadership class commences once prep comes to a close.

Post lunch, we unleashed the students on land for their final “free time” before we depart. Due to wafting smells, many only get as far as the burger hut 100 meters from the boat.

Back on board, I was given the reigns with the “squeeze,” In addition to the daily appreciation, I posed that everyone should share an interesting story, and the results had us all in fits of laughter. We also ended with turning to our neighbors and, in honor of the 4th of July, saying, “Blimey, it seems there’s trouble in the colonies.”

So the sun rises and sets on our last full day in Rarotonga. This island has given us many gifts in the form of experiencing its culture, natural beauty, and the local populace. I certainly had many points that stand out to me: the meal out in the village which had us roaring with laughter and transfixed at the traditional display; sitting at the needle “highest of the island,” suddenly it goes quiet as everyone is absorbed in the breathtaking natural beauty of this place; Jack visiting the boat and being happy as he is bombarded with questions about life here, only growing in enthusiasm as he gives each answer.

It is time to leave and continue our voyage to new and exciting experiences further afield, but we will forever remember you Rarotonga, thank you for everything you’ve given us.

Pictured: Some of the crew in their patriotic attire to celebrate the 4th of July, flying the American flag this morning.