Location: 17 36.75'S 163 07.23'E
Today we woke up at sea, another day closer to Australia. I am sure I am not the first one to say this in a trip log entry recently, but it is hard to believe we are on our last big leg of the trip. We have spent too long in Polynesia and I have grown incredibly fond of this area of the world. When you take into account the beauty of the islands, the quality of the marine environment, and the attitudes and welcoming culture of the people, I am really not sure if there is another part of the world that can top it. Polynesia refers to an area that spans most of the Pacific, running from Vanuatu down to New Zealand, across to Easter Island, and up to Hawaii; we are lucky to have been able to visit to many of the islands, starting in French Polynesia and running west, all the way to Vanuatu. I loved getting to learn about the history of the people that used their seafaring skills, far ahead of the Europeans at the time, who explored and moved across these islands, bringing their culture with them. Each island we went to had a slightly different feel to it, but each had the same friendly people that made us feel at home in their country. Turquoise waters and coconut trees everywhere we went didn’t hurt, either.
I am sad that we are out of the South Pacific and the magical islands of Polynesia, but I also could not be more excited that we are en route to Australia, a country that I have been lucky enough to spend time in on several occasions. I know everyone else on the crew is excited as well, and I can’t wait to share some of my favorite spots in the Whitsundays and Cairns with them. Today we motored along towards our destination, although we recently got some wind and chucked up the main sail, giving us an extra two knots going into the evening. Marine biology class was centered around learning about artificial reefs and marine protected areas (a relevant topic as we make our way towards one of the largest MPAs in the world – the Great Barrier Reef), and then we spent Leadership class playing some fun games that grouped us into personality categories as well as discussing methods of communication and why people are hardwired to get defensive when their core beliefs are challenged. After class, we resumed watches, enjoyed yet another beautiful sunset at sea and settled in to the cockpit together for a meal of shepherd’s pie.
Happy (slightly belated) anniversary to my parents! And hello to my Grandma and all other family and friends who keep up with us every day 🙂