As I sit here in my bunk with people all around me, with Bela playing his guitar for Hailey, I start to think back on this experience.
I remember how I decided to become apart of the program: 2 weeks before it was due to start my dad asked me if I would be interested. Three days later I decided ‘Why not!” and was on a plane by the 2nd of September. I remember getting to the boat; I was pumped to be living on such a cool vessel, so was everyone. We met our watches, and I was in watch 2 with John, Andrew, Caroline, Marlee, Layli, and Tommaso. We all became immediately close. This was my earliest memory, but I have so many memories here that I want to write all of them. But I will stick to just a few favourites.
Lisbon, Portugal was our first port. The engine had broken and we were having shore leave. I was in a group with Caroline, Tommaso, and another. I remember Tommaso and I were always considered the children of the group - we’d get distracted easily buying random matching sunglasses, going off and looking at some cool graffiti. But I strongly remember this one scene: Tommaso and I had just bought some random snorting pig (which we later on used for wake ups) and we would put on our sunglasses crooked and we walk behind the group snorting the silly pig. After noticing we were behind, again, Caroline would come and say “Oh my God, you guys are so - “ but then would end up breaking into laughter because of how we were goofing off. It was really fun and in this moment I knew I had found my people, I knew that I had so much fun ahead of me and I began to get more and more excited.
My next memory is in UNEDCO, the spot in Southern Spain where we stayed for about a month while our engine was being repaired. It was morning and everyone had just eaten their savory breakfast, and we all gathered outside early to run around and to watch the sunrise. The entire sky began to turn an amazing color of pink and the dogs were playing and a double rainbow had just appeared. The sky was filled with so many shades of pink and red and orange; it was definitely THE MOST beautiful sunset I had ever seen in my life. Everyone has pictures, but I'm sure nobody was able to capture that moment. I was like a sign for all of us, saying: this is where we belong.
Flash forward to Tristan da Cunha, on our hike to the potato farm. We were all walking along this gravel path, gazing at the view of how the rolls of grass suddenly just cut off into ocean on one side, and many cows below a mountain on the other side. I remember the hills weren't just regular hills: they had steps that I learned was because cows cannot go down hills, which I thought was pretty funny. People were taking their artsy photos left and right, and I took some myself but after a while I just decided to enjoy the view. The group I was in had purposely fallen behind, so far behind that we couldn't see other people. We had the best view of serenity, the sound of peace, the taste of flowers (because I ate one), and the feeling of ease. Tommaso at this point ran off and started doing this artsy dance which was hilarious. This all added happiness and youth to my memory.
St. Helena. We were on this hike and I had again fallen behind, A for the view, and B because I'm bad at hiking. But luckily I had Tommaso to keep me company. Stairs up and stairs down, three peaks we would cross, to the final peak, obviously another amazing view. On the way down once again we were goofing off, and I wanted to get an artsy video of me walking through this arch of vines, so I had Tommaso take it. I walked silly down the hill and end up slipping on some mud and falling on my butt it was once again, hilarious.
Another last memory I’ll write about happened yesterday, anchored outside Canada. I was busy organizing and packing my stuff when I was called up by friends to hang out in hammocks on the aft deck with them. I agreed and assumed it was just a few hammocks hung up around the side, but little did I know. I finished organizing and I walked to the aft deck to be greeted by about 6 hammocks hanging from an array of places, like the mizzen boom, and the railings of the side of the bridge deck over the aft. Everyone's hammock was a different color and the light would shine through the thin fabric and emit and new, bright colour. I got in one and there was some soft acoustic music playing and everyone was laughing, not thinking about how soon we would be apart, as we were just enjoying each others' company. Relaxed, we were truly 'living in the moment'.
Each of these memories are so special to me, but there are hundreds more I wish I could type. I remember each so vividly and I assume that although you, the reader, is trying to imagine the scene, you'll never really know what it was like to be in these moments, here, as a part of such an amazing program with such amazing people. I don’t know how I’m going to explain this adventure to people in the future. I'm not a very in depth person, but I hope I can at least get my friends at home to understand how this group all came together. I love everyone here: I’ve made friends, enemies, and I’ve even fallen in love. I know that I will remember and miss everyone here so much that it's going to hurt. But hopefully someday we can all meet up again, together.
- Written by grade 12 student