Location: Banda Sea

What is up, good, good people of the land- this is Skippa Snow coming to you with one final message. This trip has been a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and there were many moments that I wish some of you back at home could have lived through with me, but alas, all I can do is share them with you through the stories I’ll tell and the lessons I’ve learned.

Lesson one: Celebrate the small victories that occur throughout the day, every day.
Boy, oh boy, today was not easy. The sea state picked up a bit, and all day today, people were not feeling the hottest. Starting off with our 8-12 watch team, Jack was zombified because of his seasickness, and a few more people trickled up to get some fresh air. Simultaneously, Kee was cheffing up some delicious butter chicken in the galley. Unfortunately, some people saw their meal twice… Most of us had an oceanography quiz and then the two-hour NavMaster practice exam- it was kinda brutal. Once the NavMaster exam started, the terror began. Starting off strong, Perry blew chunks on the deck right outside of the companionway!

Shortly after, Barbara crept over to the lifeline to toss her own cookies. Meanwhile, everyone else is sweaty and working hard down below in the dungeon. Next, on the way to grab her PFD, Lilli fell victim to the odor of the heads, which resulted in some trashcan pukage. Do they ever recover ??? Honestly, who knows? I certainly won’t (jk…). Anyways, afterward, most of us took a nap either in the sun or in our bunks to decompress from all of…that. Then, as we waited for the final touches to dinner, we all gathered in a community in the cockpit and shared the stories from our crazy day. Sitting atop the chart house and looking over everyone, Kirstyn turns to me and says, “Aw, look how happy everyone is. Like, today was a pretty hard day, but now everybody’s smiling and just laughing about it.” And you know what? She was right. There was a smile on every single person’s face, and I felt super proud of being surrounded by a group of people with that mentality. We also revisited the moments of everyone who fell at some point today. In my personal experience, Kee fell face-first into the cockpit while actively calling for Jack. By the time he turned around, he thought he was hearing voices. Then at lunch, Dray and Perry had a little tweedle dee and tweedle dum moment as they held onto each other for stability while neither one of them was holding onto anything else. Kirstyn then fell about one second before the group photo was taken, and to end the night with a bang, literally, Lilli had a torpedo roll straight into the wall of the chart house. Thankfully, everyone’s okay, and now we can all replay these moments in our heads whenever we need a good laugh. Hearing about everyone’s oddly specific red and green flags also entailed a good laugh tonight. So, amidst all the challenges of the day, we’ve each learned how to walk away with gratefulness for the small things like Ethan grabbing the trashcan for Lilli, Kee creating two amazing meals, the feeling of competency after the NavMaster exam, having the opportunity to sail without the motor all day, and so many more.

Lesson 2: The ocean is fricken sick!
Yeah, of course, most of you know how awesome and dope the ocean is, and I know your loved ones hype it up every time they get to talk to you, but that’s because IT IS! So far on this trip, I have been blessed with the opportunity to see dolphins streamlining in bioluminescence, a major grouper spawning event in Palau, super healthy coral reefs with limited damage, a squid inking away in the UV light during a night dive, flying fish that fall into people’s cabins, giant schools of fish broken up by the presence of a shark, and even Nemo in his anemone! But, outside of the obviously cool things, I’ve spent hours and hours gazing out at the sea and still cannot fathom its expansiveness. In marine bio, we’ve learned many cool things about all the life inside the ocean, and in oceanography, we learned a lot about what allows for this life. I feel like I’ve learned so much more about the ocean, yet with everything I learn, the more I feel like I don’t know anything. The ocean is diverse and beautiful and, at this point, has become a home. No matter where I go, I’ll always have a piece of the ocean in my heart.

Lesson 3: Soak in every moment you have with the people you’re with because time always goes by faster than you think it would.
This one’s pretty obvious. Yes, I’m also a fairly sentimental person, which doesn’t help, but this trip really did go by in the blink of an eye. I know we still have like 16 days left, but that time will evaporate. Of course, we all miss you guys back home, and I know you miss all of your loved ones as well, but I know that once this trip is over, I’ll look back and miss the people who became my temporary family for 80 days. I would write about all the things I know I’ll miss, but there are too many. The point is, when we get home, I hope all of us get to spend quality time with you all, catching up on the day-to-day and creating more memories, but as for now, I’m happy where I’m at because I know I’ll never be in this exact community again. Thank you for sharing your people and allowing them to become some of my people- they’re all pretty sick human beings.

Well, signing off for good, Skipper Snow.