Location: North of the Equator

We are two weeks into this passage now, and at our current speed, it’s looking like we have about a week to go! Morale is fairly high onboard after our equator crossing shenanigans yesterday and mini 4th of July celebration featuring Justin’s delicious apple pie. The apple pie was a little bittersweet to eat as it officially marks the end of our fresh fruit rations onboard. I think we still have a couple of limes left, but it’s slim pickings, and I am sure we’re all dreaming about the fresh fruit and vegetables that are hopefully awaiting us in Palau.

My watch team had watch from 8 pm to midnight last night, which meant we got a fairly good sleep through the night and were back on at 8 am to noon. Our evening watch was very bright under the freshly full moon, yet we could still see the southern cross in the south, Venus ahead on our course, and the big dipper to the north. I was excited, having just crossed into the northern hemisphere, that we would soon be able to see Polaris, the north star. However, it was still below the horizon.

Emma, Sierra, and Kara were cheffing away in the galley all morning and brought out some grilled cheese and tomato soup for lunch. This seems to be a popular meal onboard. After lunch and clean up, the students had back-to-back science classes. Ben taught about different types of fish in marine biology, and Heather taught about global wind patterns and ocean currents and gyres in oceanography. I sat in on the oceanography class to get a little dose of that sweet, sweet air conditioning and learned about Ekman Transport and Ekman Spiral, which is super neat. Some of the oceanography class crosses over to meteorology. Many sailors would learn through their training, so it’s always fun to sit in and learn it through a more scientific lens, but Ekmans transport isn’t something I had heard of before.

After class, the seas were so calm we opened up the pool and went for an ocean swim. We were in the water somewhere between 5000-6000m deep, that’s over 16,000ft. It’s pretty wild swimming in water that deep. The water was so blue and so clear it felt like you could see down forever. I put a mask on and dove under the boat to see two tiny little fish hanging out in our shadow. Pretty odd to see them all alone all the way out here. They were quite timid, so I couldn’t get close enough to ID them.

After our ocean swim, students enjoyed on-deck showers, and then we got back on the road to Palau. As we continued to head northwest in a flat glassy sea, we watched as a lone dolphin on a reciprocal course slowly passed by, headed into a double rainbow off our stern. It was a pretty magical moment. We ended the day with our traditional squeeze, where we went around and said what we appreciated most today about the day. For most of us, it was the ocean swim, and we answered a question the skipper came up with.

My question was if we could have two crew join us on board (one for good vibes and one to stir the pot), who would it be? I said my dog Chewee, who I miss dearly, for good vibes. He would def be a hit onboard! And for the pot-stirring crew member, I chose a character from the reality TV show below deck!

It was a pretty fun question, and we got some great answers. Alister, if you’re reading this, Smash chose you for the good vibes!

That’s it for today. Students are eagerly waiting for us to turn on the generator so they can bake the cookie dough they made yesterday. We better get the oven on before they eat all the raw dough!

Lots of love to all the friends and family out there. I am sure you are all missed – I know I miss my people back home!


Photo 3: Marg in the deep
Photo 2: Sunrise
Photo 1: Justin, Marg, Dray, and Vela