Location: Vava'u, Tonga

Today we had an early morning fire drill. Everyone was up at 5:30. After the fire drill, we started our day with some french toast. While most of us were cleaning, some of us were getting ready to swim with the whales. After clean up, some people were getting ready for land, and others were getting ready for their dives. Each group went their own ways for the day. My group was diving today. We were going to start the dive off at a shipwreck we saw then do two more dives while working on skills for Advanced Open Water. Today we all got certified for AOW on our three dives, but the most thrilling dive was the dive at the haunted ghost ship.

The ship was called “Clan McWilliams” and was built in 1917. The boat was a 6,000-ton steam vessel that sank in 1927. The vessel set sail from Fiji and was stopping off at different islands in the Pacific Ocean. It had a crew of 273 people on board for the trip. They were transporting all different kinds of goods. While they dropped some goods off, they would pick some more goods up on the way. They just set sail from Fiji for their 32nd trip across the Pacific. Two days into the sail, they just saw the land of Tonga when the vessel caught on fire. As the crew tried to put the fire out, the captain sailed the boat into the harbor of Tonga.

Once in the harbor, some crew members abandoned ship, but only the brave ones stayed. The captain and 28 others were still on board trying to put the fire out. Once the fire got too big to put out, the captain knew the only way to save the boat, and the rest of the crew was to beach the boat. While he was trying to run the boat aground, one of the 28 crew members, the engineer, locked the captain in the captain’s room. They did not have enough time to beach the boat, and the boat started to sink. The sinking of the ship took the lives of 28 crew members and the captain. The boat now sits at the bottom of the harbor waiting for people to dive it and relive the history of the boat. While diving the boat today, you could feel the presence of the crew on the boat. Looking into some holes of the boat felt like looking back into history and seeing the crew scrambling to save the boat. You could see where the boat gave out in three different compartments. The visitability was murky and gave off a spooky feeling.

After the dive, we went back to Argo to have lunch. We all talked about how creepy but cool the dive was. After lunch, we went back out to finish the rest of the dives. When we got back for the day, everyone was back on the boat and was telling everyone how good of a day they had. The people that went swimming with the whales got to see a week old baby whale and the mother while seeing other whales. The people that went to land went and explored the islands and swam in some caves. We finally wrapped the day up with a delicious dinner, brownies to celebrate Tim’s birthday, marine bio class, and some much-appreciated sleep.

Pictured: Shelby, Rhea, Anastacia, Emily, and Coral on the way to the wreck; Emily inspecting a jellyfish while descending to the wreck; various views of the structure and marine life of the Clan McWilliam wreck; gorgeous mother and baby humpback whales; Henry, Lucy, and Tim enjoying searching for whales; Cat, Panos, Henry, Lucy, and Tim on the lookout; Henry, Lucy, and Tim continuing to search; Henry excited for whales; Lucy, Henry, and Tim dedicated to the search; Lucy excited to have spotted some humpbacks; awesome cave exploring after swimming with whales; octopus with anemones and anemone fish inside the cave; Garrison, Frank, and Sam enjoying some shore time views; Tim excited for his birthday brownies courtesy of Steph; sunset at the end of another wonderful day.mil