Location: Underway to Palau

Hi everyone, I’m Emma and your skipper for today!

We continued underway to Palau with a rough sea to start the day, but it settled as the day went on. Watch teams have been absolutely amazing, and I have loved spending time with mine, as well as hearing all of the stories and inside jokes from the other two groups. Justin was head chef today and, with the help of Nora and Kee, made the best food so far, with fried chicken sandwiches for lunch and bento for dinner. We had our Oceanography lit reviews due last night, and everyone seems to be less stressed and settling into passage life. We had both oceanography and seamanship today, where we learned about anchoring and FINALLY GOT AIR CONDITIONING for class (it doesn’t work if the boat is too rocky), which was a huge and very welcome mood boost. We had some light rain scattered throughout the day, which helped quell the heat during the day, and the wind has calmed down, so it’s not as cold on watch. I’m still amazed at how much and how quickly the weather changes. Today, for example, it was sweatshirt weather on my early morning watch, followed by tank tops and shorts all afternoon and still being hot, to everyone in raincoats for lunch. Throughout the day, we got some beautiful rainbows, with two long ones in the afternoon and four shorter ones during dinner.

We are switching up the watch teams in a few days, which is a very melancholy thought for me because I can’t wait to spend time with other people, and I also adore my current group. Watch Team 3 with Kee, Ben, Nora, Romeo (Bomeo), Elexia, and Margret has been so fun, and also exhausting. Romeo’s speaker has been a blessing, and between him and Nora, there is always the right music for any mood or time of day. Last night we talked about horror movies (not Margret’s favorite) and UFO/ ghost stories that are definitely scarier in a 2 AM delirium. Everyone’s helming has improved dramatically, and Elexia is always eager to drive when everyone else is exhausted (or, in my case, seasick) and has saved us on some rough nights. Ben told Margret, Romeo, and me about dive mastering and instructing, and for the record, if you had told me 24 days ago I would be interested in becoming a dive master, I wouldn’t have believed you. Everyone, staff, and students have taught me so much about seemingly everything over the past weeks to the point where I sometimes answer questions I didn’t think I knew the answers to. I am so grateful for everyone here and their patience with me and each other, as well as all of the laughter, exhaustion, learning, and overall growth as individuals and as a group.

Now I have to do my mandatory shoutouts to home, including my Mum, Dad, Amy, John, Nina, Grandad, Mimi, and Papa. I’m almost positive I’ve forgotten someone somewhere, but I send love and well wishes to all of you. I want to thank anyone who encouraged any of the staff or students to join our voyage because everyone here has their own “ecological niche,” to use a marine biology term. We all cover each other’s weaknesses and recognize strengths, and I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to spend a summer with.

All the best,