Location: Malolo, Fiji

I remember one of the most exciting things about going on holiday was being woken up early in the morning to go to the airport. Perhaps this came from the fact that at 9 years old, it was still okay for me to sleep in the car on the way, and I could ride the novelty fuelled high of an irregular sleep schedule for a morning, or maybe it was just the adventure of it all. We may never know for sure. Come to think of it. I can still today fall into similar behaviors from time to time. For example, I still struggle to get to sleep on Christmas Eve, any opportunity for breakfast out is a reality-bending treat, and learning obscure animal facts (facts about uncommon animals or facts that you might find surprising about more everyday species, I hear you ask? The answer is, of course, both) is still a fascinating way to spend time. Well, generally speaking, the same applies to when we opt to leave an anchorage early in the morning. As that initial, groggy, “what was I thinking” vibe gives way to the sound of the dawn chorus and the first dash of light above the horizon, it is hard not to be excited in a setting such as this. Also, I really like breakfast. Along with raindrops on roses, whiskers on kittens, and brown paper packages tied up with string, I would go so far as to say it is one of my favorite things. And having a breakfast such as that which Bridget prepared for us today, given the above context; well, just wow.

This is how today began as we lifted anchor and left Drawaqa (the Q is pronounced NG – who knew?) first thing and then got stuck into a delicious assortment of confectionaries for breakfast. Next was a bit of oceanography with Steph. I’m often struck by what a pertinent setting this is to study the ocean. This might sound like a plainly obvious statement in that we are, of course, on a boat, but I think the very nature of what we do stops the ocean from becoming mundane or simply a given. The way we interact with it changes, the way it behaves will never be the same twice, and like so many good things – the more you look, the more you see. We then led onto a guest class by Gabe on Polynesian Navigation. Having spent the last ten years in Hawaii, coming to the islands as a sailor, Gabe has a keen interest in the topic and is incredibly well informed. For example, he taught us about something called the aitak (I cannot guarantee that this is the correct spelling) system. Which, to the best of my understanding, were a means of navigation that relied upon calculating angles in your mind between your current position, the position of an island you hoped to get to, and another imaginary island whose only purpose was to serve as a reference point from which to derive said angle. Unfortunately, I don’t think I have done this idea much justice here, but to say it represents a breathtaking feat of merging conceptual and applied geometry, astronomy, and seamanship, is to say that the universe is a somewhat large place.

Now by this point, I’m sure that the observant among you might be wondering how the title photo is a dolphin close up, and we are now into the third paragraph of the blog without touching on this? Today we had one of the most amazing dolphin encounters that any of us have ever experienced. We had a pod of maybe 20-30 individuals leaping and spinning close enough to the boat that I found myself honestly beginning to consider how we might best respond to one landing on deck. Moments like this are truly incredible. We can’t plan for them, and I’m sure we miss them quite often, be it due to our looking the wrong way at the wrong time or it being night. But that’s the amazing thing about the environment we exist in on Argo. We live in a place where we are lucky enough that truly beautiful things such as this go on all around us whether we care to look or not.

Dolphins underneath the bowsprit
Moonrise and Sunset in Musket Cove