Location: Lawa Darat, Indonesia

At approximately 6:30 a.m., the bacon set off the fire alarm. We all jumped out of bed like it was Christmas morning. Everyone grabbed their lifevests and emergency bags, and Finn even brought a bag of canned beans! No need to fret about a fire, though. We got an A+ from Captain Tom on our fire drill. After everyone was settled, we enjoyed a view of the morning sun over Lawa Darat, where we had just anchored. It’s so cool to wake up each day, walk up the companionway, and have a completely new landscape. We enjoyed breakfast tacos made with love by Lena. I really liked the fresh avocado in them.

The first dive group set off in the morning and saw HUMUNGOUS reef sharks. I heard one was 8ft long! Group 2 ran into a stingray, which sounds awesome. Group 3, my group, did not see any sharks, unfortunately, but we did see some turtles, a gigantic cuttlefish that Smash said she’d never seen in the wild before, and lots of vibrant coral. Fifty feet under, you would just look up to a massive hill of coral with schools of fish frolicking about. Some schools were bigger fish in a tight formation streaming by, and other smaller fish of the same kind huddled in circles feeding off coral. I enjoyed flipping my head upside down to look under rocks and was shocked to see some red tentacles sticking out. A closer peek and I got to see a very funny-looking small, bumpy octopus with a disproportionately large head. On another note, it is sad to see some of the coral bleached. I’ve started exploring research projects for Oceanography class addressing the misfortunate events on these most beautiful reefs. It’s amazing how these habitats have been preserved through our bad behavior as humans. Occasionally, I’ll find myself picking up trash with a gut wrench from being in such awe at the same time. The current was super strong on this one, so we just floated down the line and didnt even need to kick. I was constantly spinning my head around to spot neon parrotfish, Moorish idols, and clownfish-filled anemones. In between dives, the lads and lassies had fun jumping off the boat, catching up with schoolwork, and taking a well-needed nap after our longshore day yesterday. We worked on autobiographies for our leadership class, and I finished identifying fish and drawing them in my logbook.

We ate some burgers for dinner, which slapped and taters ofc. It was a really chill day; my highlight was having the fruit baskets full. I can’t wait to be head chef for the first time tomorrow. After dinner, we had a great first Navigation class for Nautical Sciences. We discussed longitude and latitude, along with looking at a slightly intimidating sailing chart. I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that we get credit for learning everything we do on the boat. As it’s so applicable to our experiences, it almost feels like common sense, such as being able to identify marine creatures and understand the ocean to every extent. Days move so fast but slow at the same time because of how much we pack into a day.