Location: Flying Fish Cove, Christmas Island

Christmas Island is the gift that keeps on giving. Yesterday’s crab extravaganza was only the beginning of the natural wonders this island has to offer. Some amazing birds/flying friends we’ve seen: Golden Bosuns, Abbott’s Boobies, Flying Foxes, Frigate birds, and Imperial Pigeons. If you want to see the wow factor, look up the Golden Bosun; they look like a rusty tropicbird. This morning was filled with diving and cleaning. Steph took some on another deep dive to explore the wall here in Flying Fish Cove, while Jake took the rescue divers down for a few modules. The site here on Christmas Island is a beautiful reef that starts out around 25 feet. After swimming a few minutes north out of the cove, a wall starts to form that drops down to (honestly) unknown depths. Once the wall starts to open up, the reef is covered by small fish swimming up, large coral heads, and large fish swimming out in the deep. It is truly a sight out of a BBC documentary, maybe even my favorite BBC hit documentary, The Snail and the Whale. While they were diving, the rest of us gave the boat a little love by doing a deck wash, floor scrub, and general tidying. Being on and off the boat on shore and at the beach makes the boat covered in a fine layer of dirt, and it was intensely satisfying to remove that dirt. Even though it is not as picturesque of a scene, cleaning the boat is no less beautiful than a reef covered in fish.

After the morning activities everyone went their separate ways for some free shore time. Some explored a nearby grotto, some went fishing and found coconuts, some went shopping, and others went to find a beach. Tom and I got the rare opportunity for some time off the boat, and wow, did we hit the jackpot? Our only important stop was the post office. We got only the best things a post office could offer. I know you all guessed it- a “Not Negotiable” stamp and you better believe it will be used daily. In fact, has been used plenty already to stamp the foreheads of would-be-negotiators. Our other goods consisted of a neck fan for Tom. Have you ever been cheffing in the galley with sweat pouring down your face? NOT ANYMORE- because this fan is a personal wind tunnel in a comfortable, lightweight package that you wear around your neck. Another good one consisted of a pencil sharpener that made Tom nostalgic, so he was pretty obsessed with it, and I could not persuade him to leave it behind.

Anyone on board can tell you how great Christmas has been to us, but I am also excited to leave land for the sea once more. Land always gives us the space to breathe and the opportunity to be alone for more than just sleeping. It also makes us forget about Vela and the togetherness she creates. Once at sea, it’s just us, the boat, and the infinite expanse of sky and sea. We usually find it easy to get back into the grind of boat life and to remember to be thankful for what Vela has to offer us.

P.S. Photo included Margaret picking up her debit card from the very friendly Christmas Island police after it fell out of her pocket – they even stopped by the boat to make sure she had gotten it back!