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Location: Vuro, Fiji

FAMILY, FRIENDS, AND THOSE WHO ARE UNDECIDED; WE SAW MANTAS!!!!! The entire student body finally got to see mantas when we went snorkeling today, and I can confidently say that we went through all the emotions. There were 3 different mantas in the first go-round, and a fourth was added when the second group went out, which was even more excited. The first group was also joined by a spotted eagle ray and a white tip reef shark, so it was overall very eventful. Amanda sent a picture of the underside of one of the mantas to our manta contact in the area, and she was positively identified as Aunty Kay. And for those of you noobs that don’t know about the underside of the manta (which I didn’t until about 5 days ago), it acts as a fingerprint of sorts because every manta has a very unique spotted pattern on their bellies. Now I can move past 9:30 this morning! Many of the students spent a lot of time studying for our first ICC exam and writing their leadership autobiographies on one of our first consistent rainy days of the semester. We’ve been very fortunate with our beautiful weather, so we were due for a bit of foul weather that gave everyone an excuse to wear their full foulies for the first time. After lunch, a group snorkeled over to the island that we are anchored at and participated in a bit of frolicking and exploration on the beach and in the surrounding rocky areas. And yes….a group of 20-somethings do indeed still frolic on occasion. Gabe and Max made an octopus friend named Hachi that they were not allowed to keep. Ky also saw Eva Birds, which are her aumakua, so she was very excited about the good fortune that they brought us.
On the subject of the wide variety of animals that everyone saw today, the squeeze question for the night was, what is your spirit animal. Both E and I discovered that we have the same spirit animal (dolphin), which is why we have very similar personalities, which was exciting. Gabe invented a new animal for his answer, which Steph deemed a Creep (crab and sheep). Basically, it would either be an underwater crab-adjacent sheep or a terrestrial fuzzy crab. Both were very weird images. Then we had Tyler as a golden retriever, Chloe as a crow, and Will as a black bear (very adamantly a black bear), which were the most accurate answers that we received in the squeeze circle.
We have a very rainy night ahead of us, which constitutes lots of foulies for watch tonight.