Night Shift Transformations

(Underway, Moorea – Huahini)

Farewell Moorea, you were oh so fine. We surfed your waves, ran your roads, swam with your sea life, and got lost in your forests. Our gratitude is genuine. Another thank you goes to the Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort and Spa. We loved the comfy chairs in your beautiful lobby, and more importantly, we are exceptionally grateful for the free wifi you were streaming there.

At last light today we upped anchor and headed out Tareu Pass. We set off into the sunset with Huahine as our next port of call. (Huahine is sooo much fun to say. The ‘e’ on the end is pronounced. Give it a try! Huahine, Huahine, Huahine!)

We haven’t done an overnight passage in a while and this particular one was no dream. The winds were kind of high, in the 15-20 knot range, and the seas were big, lumpy, and incredibly unsorted to begin with. As the night rolled on, the swell figured itself out and I took the first shift of the evening. Gregory was up next, and then shifting was over.

If this passage would have been anything other than a single night, and if Gregory didn’t sleep for the majority of his shifts anyway, I would have had to give him crap. But instead, I will call him a gentleman.

He left me to sleep down in our cabin, as he incrementally extended his “boat check” alarm from every 15 minutes to every 25. The conditions were mild, the traffic was zero, and the sleep was easy. For both of us.

It’s crazy to think how far we’ve come. In the beginning I rarely left the helm seat during my night shifts. I was forever monitoring the wind instruments, scanning the dark horizon, and imagining all sorts of scary and improbable situations we could only be mere minutes from.

Now? Now I watch a movie on the laptop in the sheltered comfort of the salon. I glance at the AIS radar on the inside VHF screen from time to time to see if there’s any boats in the area, and when my 15 minute alarm goes off I swing myself out around the bimini supports to give the darkness around Oceanna a 360 degree scan.

I will admit, these are some of my favourite moments. The moments when I feel most like sailor. The ocean is rolling and splashing and careening down Oceanna’s hulls, the wind is wonderfully filling her sails, and the sky is alight with a trillion billion stars. I feel so infinitely small – a tiny spec in this big, bad world we get call home. Yet at the same time I’m on top of the world. I couldn’t be bigger.

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Gregory installing more precautionary, Spectra line braces to our side shrouds. Me looking longing at the cruise ship wishing my brother Shea and sister-in-law Tasha were on it so we could go pick them up for a visit.

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Kaycee’s Salad Roll Factory.

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Moorea in the rearview. Huahine not yet in sight!

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