Location: Nuku Hiva

Call me Ishmael, this morning we awoke at the crack of dawn to embark on a wonderful journey through the wilderness of Nuku Hiva. After a brief meal, we have driven ashore on the dinghy, roaming the shops and fruit markets, in awe of the variety and abundance of the native fruit. Soon our lovely guide, Richard, came and introduced himself to us. We climbed into a convoy of trucks and took off, up into the mountains. As the air grew thinner and thinner, our jaws dropped in a simultaneous fashion. The views were incredible. After reaching the top, we got out of the trucks and proceeded to journey our way down the mountain back to the harbor. Awaiting us in this jungle paradise was an unbelievable variety of fruits and jolly plants! We tasted papaya, star fruit, lychee, grapefruit, bananas, guava, limes, coconuts, and hot peppers. Oh, the joy in plucking a fresh tropical fruit right from the tree and biting into it! The simplicity, the proximity to our food, to not be separated from the farms by fluorescent lighting, tile floors, and grocery clerks made the experience voraciously invigorating. In between these luxurious feasts, poured the infinite knowledge Richard seemed to have about local legend and history.

While the beginning of the day deserved the Melville treatment, the end of the day found us back in the classroom. Divemaster candidates continued their in-water training, those that already have their Rescue diver certification went snorkeling in search of more mantas, and the rest of us got stuck into our Rescue diver knowledge reviews. Eliza prepared us a lovely dinner (including brownies!) that felt a little bit like the last supper, as we all, collectively, prepare to walk through the valley of the shadow of death, dive into the belly of the beast, look death in the face and laugh, and otherwise take Amy’s marine biology exam now to complete our day. Our squeeze question tonight was, “If you could spend one day as someone else onboard, who would it be and why?” Many people said they wanted to be Tim, either because of his good looks or because of his work ethic. Others wanted to be Bryant or Meg because of their endless sailing knowledge. It was a nice opportunity to think about and appreciate each other’s strengths.

Pictured: Our whole group at the top of the hike with a beautiful view of Baie de Taiohae; Kai, Alex, Seby, and Alexa on the way up to the top; the amazing view; Jack, Peter, and Alex at the top; cute little piggy we saw along our walk; Ian excited about a cool drink at the end of the hike; some of the decorations in the cathedral we visited; the whole group surrounded by greenery.