Location: Koh Tao, Thailand
Today was our student-led passage from Ko Samui to Ko Tao. It was 41 nautical miles and took approximately 6 and a half hours. The only navigation tools we were able to use were the radar, the compass, the charts (with plotting tools), and sliced bread. Yes, sliced bread. It was to test our speed, as one person would toss a piece of bread into the water at the bow and another crew member would time how long it took for it to reach the stern. We then plugged the time and the distance into an equation to determine our speed. Anyway, I got to be Kris (our skipper) today. I was consulted when decisions were made and knew just about everything that was going on on the boat, and let me tell you this: It was exhausting. Don’t get me wrong, it was really cool being able to lead a whole passage, but man, do I want to just go straight to bed.
Something else I found really interesting about today’s passage was the overall attitude of the staff members. Most of the time, the staff would act as normal crew members, making small suggestions if they felt their input would be valued and putting all of their effort into their tasks side by side with the students. They were also quite respectful towards what the watch team leaders and I would say, as we try to be to them on all other days. Those aren’t the interesting parts though. Occasionally, I would see what I assumed was a small smirk on the faces of some of the staff and it made me think that I wasn’t doing well enough. I would take a deep breath and work harder each time. Finally, we end up fully anchored in the bay in Ko Tao, and Kris comes up to me, shakes my hand and tells me I’ve done well. This made me smile a bit on the inside (and a lot on the outside), rethinking many of the times during the day that I thought I was doing something incorrectly or poorly. Then Squeeze came. A few of the staff members congratulated us all on a successful passage, commenting on how we all worked very hard and were great. This made me smile a bit on the outside (and a LOT on the inside). My bad assumptions from the day were dead wrong and as someone who quite enjoys being right, I definitely have never been more happy to be proven wrong.