Location: komodo

Hey everyone! Kirstyn here tuning in for my last skipper day of the program 🙁 To not get sad, let’s jump into it!

Starting the day off before wake-ups, we moved anchorages and headed towards Pulau Punya Besar. In the midst of moving, I got everyone up, and we got breakfast going. To eat, we had delicious crepes made by Tom and his sous chefs, including Kee and Nora. We all love a sweet meal to get our day going. After breakfast, we prepped for our rescue course. We unpacked all dive gear and set out to shore on the dinghy. While waiting, some of us had a little free time to either snorkel around or layout. I went for a snorkel, and it was one of the best snorkels I’ve had yet! I got to see a blue spotted ray, an alligator fish, the prettiest coral, and amazing biodiversity within the ecosystem. After free time we got things going. To start it off, we had two groups to work on vertigo and a diver out-of-air situation. The rest of the rescue course consisted of acting out and completing scenarios. To put into perspective, we had people laid out on shore covered in blood (ketchup), divers going unresponsive in the water, and the first responders saving them while controlling bystanders. The scenarios put our practice to the test, and it was fun watching everyone come together to contain the chaotic environment.
Concluding our morning, we took a dinghy ride back to the boat and had lunch. Surrounding us were many other boats, and we were even tied to one. It’s apparently unusual to tie up like that, but here it’s normal. For lunch, we were served chicken salad, and it hit every spot! Having fresh vegetables is something we never take for granted. Romeo is super cool and a great rescue diver! <— That was Romeo coming in and trying to have some spotlight. Anyway, back to what I was saying. Lunch was very fulfilling, and then it was time to go finish up one last rescue scenario.
This go around was a bit on the rougher side for Sierra and I (will go into details later). Role play was all the same, except people traded positions to get a go at another situation. I was a snorkeler this goes around, so I was standing by till I saw unusual behavior from a diver. When it came to action, I had to go save Sierra because she was a panicked swimmer. I swam out and tried to control her by talking and grabbing her from behind to tow her. Then things got tricky. As I was signaling for help, there were too many casualties and not enough rescuers. As I was getting her toward shore, I had to stall till I got another hand because she needed to be carried since she couldn’t walk. Barbara finally came to support us, and we had her in a position to get carried out of the water. While we were carrying her, we lost form and had to set her down. She was still in the water, though, so we needed to get her up just a little more. I decided to grab her by the arms while Barbara had her by the legs. Then, out of nowhere, I’m falling over a decently sized rock, and we drop Sierra, our already injured patient. I started bleeding on my legs and became a real-life injured person.

Little did I know Sierra had also hit her back on the rock, so she was scraped up too. This was a mess of the mess. However, we still carried out with the scenario and got the job done. Once everyone was finished, we were finally over. Now we are officially Emergency First Aid responders AHHHH! Wrapping up on shore, we got our dinghy rides back to the boat. The funny part was when Sierra was climbing onto the boat, and Jussaidsays, “Hey Sierra, you still have some ketchup on your back,” when in reality, it was real blood and a real scrape from the rock, lol.
Everything got unpacked, and we took our ocean showers. After showers, we then again moved anchorages. This time we were moving to go watch the flying foxes at sunset. Dawn was very peaceful, and the weather was perfect. We had an hour of relaxation and then gathered on deck for dinner. I asked Smash when we would see the bats, and apparently, Jack radioed boat KLM Samsara Samudra and the guy said the bats didn’t exist anymore. This was pretty ironic but unfortunate at the moment, but a plot twist coming soon. The next 30 minutes were filled with lots of excitement. Before we started counting off, the sun was setting, and then we spotted dolphins!! The view was beautifullll. The birds were nose-diving, and the dolphins were jumping in the air. Then to the other side of the boat, some people witnessed a tuna jump approximately 10 feet and do some flips.

Meanwhile, there were crazy noises coming from the mangroves, and we didn’t think the normal birds were making those sounds. Kee saw a few birds and was convinced it was bats, but no one believed her. But what do you know, she was right. A swarm of bats came flying from the mangroves and swarmed the air. Sure enough, boat KLM Samsara Samudra radioed us back and asked if we could see the bats, funny considering he fooled us into believing they no longer existed. Overall, the evening was filled with awesome animals, a pretty sunset, and can’t forget beef stew for dinner from the chef team.

For squeeze, I had my question inspired by Dray, and it was if you could relive any moment from our journey, what would it be? This was bittersweet recapping our journeys, but also nice to appreciate the amazing things we’ve been through. I recapped our moment in Papau with the kids from our fuel stop. Our interaction with them I will always cherish. To wrap up the night, we had elections for leaders for our next passage. Everyone gave their speeches, and we cast our votes. For your winners, you had Dray for skipper, Margaret for 1st mate, Larkin for navigator, and Barbara, Justin, and Ethan, for engineers. Yayyyy!!
For this ending, I’m not going to wrap up today, but this voyage altogether since ya’ll won’t hear from me again. I am so grateful to have crossed paths with every person on this boat. I have been inspired to travel and take on adventures following this trip. I don’t exactly know how we’re supposed to go back home and adjust to a “normal” life. For almost 80 days, these people and this environment have been all we know. As much as I look forward to getting a pedicure, eating fast food, and taking a real shower, I’m going to miss every aspect that comes with living on a boat. It’s insane to think two months ago, all of these people were strangers. We have formed genuine connections and life-long friendships. In many ways, we can’t act the way we do on this boat outside, or people would find us very strange in ways I’m not going to list, haha. But Vela has brought us a home and so many memories I will cherish for the rest of my life. To say we got lucky with the group of people on this boat is an understatement. From the beginning, everyone clicked and bonded in the best ways. I have enjoyed learning from the staff members and taking in all that they teach. I will especially miss them, knowing there’s a low probability of seeing them again. But hey, who knows? It’s a small world. Seamester is everything I needed in my life, and I will be walking away with a full heart and the happiest memories. So thank you, Vela, <3
P.S. Margaret is awesomeeeeee!!!