Today I woke up around 6:30 to various voices and boat noises that indicated to me that we had reached the channel outside of Papeete, Tahiti. Always curious to get a first glimpse of a new spot, I popped my head up the companionway. A beautifully breaking wave was off starboard past the reef protecting the channel, and land stood off to port. It was strange to see traffic as people headed to work – still nothing in comparison to what people are used to in the US, but it was still the largest city and most cars we have seen since we departed Panama City a month and a half ago. By 7:30, we woke the rest of the crew to prepare to come onto the dock just south of the city. After almost three months of working together, we have become an incredibly efficient crew, and we quickly got docked, sail covers on and the tarp up, and got ourselves sorted. We then had the morning free to go explore the town or just hang around the marina or go grab lunch. We met back up at 1 pm to tackle a round of BA (boat appreciation) and split up into teams to get some of the messy jobs done to make our lives easier tomorrow when we go to pack and do the last round of cleaning. Xander and Grant took on cleaning the saloon bilges with Ben while Audrey and Jack did a detailed clean of our dinghies Nopadone and Smoke. Henry got in the freezer to give it a good once over, while Soofer and Nova took on everyone’s favorite job, cleaning the gray water tanks. Everyone put in an awesome effort, and we got a ton accomplished in just over two hours, at which point we took much-deserved showers at the marina.
After dinner, we all met in the saloon to watch a great slideshow put together by Lindsay, allowing us to relive the past 88 days… it was pretty funny to see some of the photos from the beginning and the changes in various hairstyles and skin color, and absolutely amazing to think about everything we have done over the past three months. For starters, we sailed 6,700 nm and crossed a pretty good chunk of the Pacific Ocean. Members of our crew have accumulated several levels of PADI diving certifications or passed their Yachtmaster theory, in addition to the completion of the regular academic classes onboard. Shipmates who had never spent a night on a boat or sailed before are now competent sailors. 18-year-olds who have never had to cook their own food have planned menus and cooked absolutely delicious dinners for a crew of 25. Tonight at the squeeze, I asked what was something about you that has changed over the course of this trip, and some of the answers made me so happy and proud. Many of the people on board said that their work ethic has improved, that this experience has given them perspective or a new drive to work towards their goals, or that it has given them new goals. Knowing that this trip has had such an influence on someone’s life is the absolute best thing about this job, and I get a major proud mom feeling hearing how they have grown.
Arriving in Tahiti was also a big personal event for me – four years after having joined Seamester in Tahiti, I have now returned, and with it finished my circumnavigation onboard Argo. When I started four years ago, I don’t think I could have imagined how much I was going to learn, see, and experience and it has been absolutely amazing. Thank you to the staff and student crew of the spring trip for making the last leg of my trip around the world a great one 🙂