So in the end, was it worth it? Jesus Christ. How irreparably changed my life has become. It’s always the last day of summer and I’ve been left out in the cold with no door to get back in. I’ll grant you I’ve had more than my share of poignant moments. Life passes most people by while they’re making grand plans for it. Throughout my lifetime, I’ve left pieces of my heart here and there. And now, there’s almost not enough to stay alive. But I force a smile, knowing that my ambition far exceeded my talent. There are no more white horses or pretty ladies at my door. – George Jung, Blow, 2001
As I write this, the sky is alive with stars. Absolutely the most incredible site to see — a sky with no clouds, no moon, no other light sources. Utterly black to the very edges where it gets smudged like an artists palette, and above splattered with white speckles that are so numerous you can’t even begin to fathom their numbers. It seems they are all falling so close to the earth’s surface that you can reach out and touch them, sending a ripple across all of them.
I spent about an hour standing on the starboard side of the boat looking at the constellations. Bob and I were trying to find Aquarius, since I’ve yet to ever seen the sign I fall under in the cosmos. I figured out its general whereabouts, but turns out its stars are just too faint, even in the darkness that the open ocean allows for. I did find Pegasus, Aries, Pisces, Sagittarius, and I believe Scorpio. Well, Bob found them and pointed them out with a flashlight. I can’t take credit. We started talking about sailing and his adventures. This guy has been all over the world and been paid for it. He told me that he was working on a private yacht and sailed to Sydney, Australia and lived there for 5 months waiting for instructions from the owners of where to sail next. The owners had originally wanted to go to Sydney and then sail to the Great Barrier Reef, but had decided to jet to Switzerland to ski instead, so Bob and the other crew members were in Sydney for 5 months. On that same boat, they had somehow gotten a 30 day clearance to sail in and around the Galapagos, in a time were a 72 hour clearance was hard enough to get. Talk about awesome. I need to get a job like that.
It’s like the conversation that I had with my brother today. He and I got to Skype for about an hour, which was great since it seems we don’t talk nearly as much as we should. Not only that, but also actually getting to see someone versus hearing just a voice really adds to it. For example, while I was sitting outside talking to him on the computer, a morning dove came flying out of no where and landed on my lap — RIGHT on my computer. WHAT. What. What just happened. Where did this bird come from? I’m in the middle of the GD ocean. We had more birds today than…alright. I’ll get back to the birds. What I was saying is that my brother and I had a conversation about “life” today — moreso about just getting “out there” whatever that may be. Carpe Diem. Grab life by the horns. Shake it up. Dive into the moments. Drink up the experiences. Stop being so freakin’ passive about the every day and looking for the opportunities. I don’t believe that some people are just lucky and get experiences, I think that some people are just able to create them more easily because they’re looking for them. They don’t let things pass by while they’re planning on something else. Woo.
End soapbox rant.
But, similar to Bob’s lifestyle, is where I was going with that. He just got out there in his own way and he’s seen the entire world. Literally. Have I mentioned he did a 5 year circumnavigation of the globe? I’m almost positive I did, but it bears repeating. And that was WHILE GETTING PAID FOR IT. That’s so nutty, but it worked. It’s actually still working for him. I mean, come on. That is awesome.
Today was one of those days though. Not one of those days, like the ones were people are always like, “UGH It’s just one of THOSE days! Get me a super extra jumbo sized iced coffee with 5 shots of espresso. I can’t even deal.” No, not like that. I meant one that is congruous with the rest of my already set up theme — not letting things pass by. We saw a total of zero whales today, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t take full advantage of the other opportunities presented to us. Namely in the form of Mahi fish.
I’m going totally out of order of events, but that’s fine. The mahi fish. They are the best colors out of the Crayola crayon box of 115 colors. Bright, bright aqua blue with a brilliant yellow on their bellies, but when you get them out of the water and on deck they have some green to them. And by that, you can already surmise that we caught some mahi because how else would I know this. We had gone past a batch of what looked like sargasso weed around 1:15 pm, so I radioed down to the pilothouse at the urgence of Shouping. I wasn’t going to since we had already spent some serious time picking krill out of sargasso around 11:30 am, and I wasn’t sure anyone was ready to do more of that. My sentiments were echoed in Bailey’s response of, “Thaaaaanks, but I think we’re done with the sargasso for now.” Seconds later the boat was turning around, so I assume that someone in the pilothouse told him differently.
Now, I’m sure I’ve mentioned that there are usually fish that like to hide under the patches of weed(s) at the surface, and that’s why I figured that we turned around. Johnny was out with the cast throw net trying to pull up some specimens. I doubted the success on it because it didn’t seem to be sinking fast enough to really get any of the fish, as they’d swim away before it sank enough to trap them — but it worked! He pulled up two or three fish. They quickly got to work gathering some buckets of water when I noticed a lot of really bright blue dashes quickly moving around in the water — uuhh, guys, I think there’s some mahi? Oh why yes, those would be mahi. Good eyes. Bailey and Johnny had already been out on deck and out came Ian and Matt. Baiting lines, throwing nets over, throwing food compost over, throwing old bait fish over. Trying to entice the mahi. Ian got what I assumed was a fresh piece of fish on his line from the hand-cast nets catch and before I knew it, he had baited a mahi and it was up on deck.
Total event timelines are blurry because I was up on the mid-level the entire time watching them silly boys try and fish, but Ian ended up baiting two mahis, which really is an accomplishment since they seem to be tricky little buggers to get. At least given our equipment. Watching them kill the mahi wasn’t the most pleasant thing and the deck needed a good rinsing after all the fish that had seen their last moments there (Is that gruesome? Sorry.), but overall, it was interesting. At one point, we were all watching the mahi swim about the starboard side when this huge greyish cloud came rushing up from under the boat. At first I thought it was another whale shark since the color and size seemed similar to when we saw one, but I quickly realized that didn’t make sense. It was moving about so fast like a swarm of underwater bees — but it was a huge, huge school of tiny fish just absolutely balling around as one huge force. You see the cartoons where hundreds of these little fish join together to make themselves look like big fish, the whole safety in numbers bit, but that’s really what it looked like. A “bait ball” as Ian called it. The mahi were having fun swimming in and out of the school, trying to break up their unison.
We seemed to attract just about every wildlife we could out here, except the ones we want — whales. We saw schools of tuna feeding, the mahi, other fish, krill, sea cucumbers, crabs, a sea turtle, jellyfish, and a strange amount of avian wildlife found their way to the boat today. We had a moth in the pilot house this morning. The aforementioned morning dove hung around all afternoon and into the evening. Last I knew, it was still catching a catnap on the aft deck. I suppose it can’t be called a cat nap though. Cats eat birds afterall. Either way, I saw what I think I identified as a tern flying around this morning and this afternoon there was a frigate flying near. We’ve also had smaller visitors come and spend some hours on the boat. One was really enjoying a piece of watermelon early on in the day and I think that’s why it decided our boat was a good place to hang out.
My last watch ended at 3, so I figured it might be time that I actually shower. I hadn’t for awhile. What’s “awhile” you may be wondering? Maybe 3 days or so?
Umm. Try 6.
Ew. Gross. I know. 6 days? Without showering? That’s so grime. I was what I usually call “grease piece.” Strangely enough though, my hair didn’t seem that bad. I mean, I wouldn’t lovingly try and run my hands through it (you can try, if you want), but it was just that time. It’s not that I don’t like to shower and be clean, it’s just that when showering becomes more of a chore than a pleasurable experience, you have a tendency to avoid it. It’s a little different when you’re out on the ocean and needing to conserve water. I took one though and now I’m clean for, oh, maybe the next week. Juuust kidding, I’ll shower again before I hit the 6 day mark. Promise. I’m aiming for 3 days.
On another note, I apparently missed dolphins bowriding in the afternoon. I had thought we were out on water that was too deep to really see dolphins, but I guess that’s not factual.