Location: Underway to Tahiti!

“Time may be bolder, even Children get older, and I’m getting older too.”
– Fleetwood Mac

Hello again! It feels like just yesterday, we were in Panama for the last day (for the first time), and I got to write to you all. I’m sure you remember (you have a great memory, it’s something I like about you). Today wasn’t super eventful, but it feels like we’re all (I definitely am, but I’m starting to sense it from others) finally getting into the groove of this whole “underway” thing, last night we started Divergent, which I’ve never seen before (to Indi and Ruby, I enjoyed it), and we plan on finishing it tonight. Our final (mandatory) Marine Biology essay was due about… 2 hours ago, so this morning was filled with a lot of watch team 2 staying up after watch to finish theirs (myself included). Our lunch was pesto sandwiches. The bread was the best so far this entire trip, in my opinion. Steph made it during our watch. I watched her make it while sneaking some hot chocolate from a private stash at the bottom of my bunk (promise you won’t snitch, I think the public supply ran out days ago). It was really nice, though; we had fries and chickpeas and everything.

After that, we had an Oceanography lecture and leadership class! Oceanography was nice, it was about shores, and we discussed the rest of the program’s schedule. We have a lot to do, but it’s coming together fast (to my parents, I haven’t missed a single assignment, and the only one I was late on was when I lost my laptop, I had it done on time, I promise). Leadership was fun! It was basically a trivia night about almost everything we’ve talked about on the boat, from Marine Biology and when Seamester started to who on the staff used to have frosted tips (I was the only one to know it was Tom). My team (we were called “Modog,” which was a nickname for me that people are trying to get to stick, I really don’t think it will) was in third the whole time, but we wagered all our points and, like many teams, ended up with zero. After that, we had a long break and had our elections for leadership positions! I imagine many of you will be really excited to learn who got what, so here you go: Ula is our new Skipper, Elise is our engineer, and Gabbie and Toria are our program managers (I have so many ideas to bounce off them. Also Toria wanted to make sure I specified they were called “Tubby,” as they ran together), Skyler is first mate, and Ted is our new Navigator. So if anything goes wrong, blame them (just kidding, obviously). That was everything exciting, though! As I’m writing this above me on deck, Miles just grabbed a flying fish that flew on board and threw it back into the ocean, saving its life, so add that too.

I went around the boat and just wanted to get some messages out for others. Mark! Ted says happy birthday! He made sure I wrote that down and so I do too. Gabbie really wants her parents to know happy anniversary in like two days, but I’m happy to (hopefully) be the first one to wish it to you, Mr. and Mrs. Johnson. Hi Shnelkes + Bruckermeiers! That’s from Ula.

I’ve gone around and asked people if they have anything specific to say to their families, so I’m gonna take a second and do the same. It’s a bit selfish, but hey, it’s my blog, not yours; I know you’ll understand (again, it’s something I like about you).
Hey, so this is the first time I can say anything in 9 days, and the last time I can talk to you for about 13 days (that’s the rough approximation for our arrival in Tahiti). I hope everyone is doing well. I’ll do this one at a time just to be thorough (because I wasn’t enough last time). Indi! I’m so sorry I missed your birthday, I brought it up multiple times to everyone here but I tried calling you on both the phone and Whatsapp. I also sent a small text through Whatsapp, I think? But I was stressed when I sent it at like ten at night, and the internet was so God-awful in the Galapagos. I told who I could, to tell you I was trying and missing you, but I want to take this chance to say, Happy Birthday, I wish I could have talked, and I will when I get a minute of rest when this is all over. Ruby, the last time we talked, I was in Panama, and my connection was good enough to talk, but I just couldn’t say enough. This trip is so crazy and weird I will probably feel dizzy when I begin telling you everything that’s happened; I think this is what it feels like to have an adventure or experience that’s “mine,” as Mummy said.

Finally, Lola, love you lots, and I don’t know if I’ll be home for your birthday, but I will definitely have good internet and stable ground beneath me. I will do everything I can to talk or video chat either on my phone or laptop. I will also (if my time in Tahiti permits) try and grab a birthday present for you (and Indi, Ruby, and then the parents, and then one for myself, naturally). Last but certainly not least, my Mother and Father. It’s probably been mentioned in previous blogs, but we’ve started VHF training, so when (when.) I pass the VHF test. We’ll get a little card in the mail I can put in my wallet to show I am VHF certified, and the crew test is soon; I know Mummy is going to find that the coolest thing in the world, and I can’t wait to talk about it, but that’s not what I want to use this time for. I’m going to try not stand here writing until I have watch in 3 hours or begin to fall asleep or cry or do anything other than try to say everything I want to.

There’s a lot, is what I’m trying to say. I feel it in my throat and my eyes as I write this, and I think at least one of you knows what that means or feels like or can help me articulate it in the amazing way you do. Can you tell I’ve been reading a lot? I told you before I’ve read three different books, but I’ve finally started again and got my hands on Call Me By Your Name. I forgot to tell you this when we talked (I was very stressed when you weren’t picking me up), but I did one of the many, many, many things you always told me to do and bought a notebook, it’s too late to start journaling (and I think I’m thinking of too much to write down), but it’s going to be for poetry. I’ll start writing again, maybe it’s the reading or the struggle to sleep or introspection or literally any single thing, but I keep getting urges to write again, which I hope is a sign of the change you wanted to see a long time ago. It’s hard to remember everything I feel, but I’ve been waiting for the sea state to calm, which is apparently going to start tonight, so tomorrow I will stay up like I used to and just write, and I’m very, very excited. Although you know how I feel about our “small little town” and its inhabitants, I’m excited to come home to our silent apartment and sit at the dinner table while everyone’s asleep and write a little bit more before anything other than this experience and how I feel matters. I’m excited, not in the way I’m growing to hate this boat or anyone here, but I’m excited, so excited. The watches, the work, the small amount of space, and the endless ringing-in-my-ear ocean have given me such an excitement to have “my time,” call it “my time” or “me time” or time to do “whatever I want,” but I hope you get excited at me being completely honest and genuine in saying I want the time to be mine again, and I hope you hear all the meaning I’m trying to pack into such small important stupid little words that have enraged me in their simplicity these last few years.
Thank you so much for this and more, and I love you. I love all of youmore than I know.