Position: N 09°49.852’, W 093°24.212’;
The KTC&S Show
As I type this blog, the wind is blowing ~25 knots outside and the sea is rolling. We’ve reefed our Main Sail (reduced the surface area) and will probably be reefing the Mizzen Sail shortly. It’s a bit difficult typing in this weather, not to mention sitting up straight in my seat…but challenges are fun!
It’s been twelve days since we’ve left Cabo San Lucas, yet it feels like we’ve only been at sea for less than a week. It amazes me just how easy it is to lose track of time out here on the ocean! I believe it has to do with how busy we keep ourselves on and off our watches. As mentioned in some of the previous blogs, we have three watch crews. They are as follows:
Team 1: Kalolo, Taleni, Charlie, Sala
Team 2: Fani, Fa’apa’u, Schannel, Jayde
Team 3: John, Brynne, James, Tasha, Robbie
Our days revolve around our watch schedules and the tone of our day is often set by which watch we have. For example, a 3am to 6am shift usually means you sleep from 6am to 12pm (12pm being when the next shift would start and of course, lunch). The 6am to 9am shift usually means you are up, ready for breakfast and for the day ahead. The dynamics of each watch are different. I think of my watch as “The Kalolo, Taleni, Charlie and Sala Show” (“KTC&S Show” for short) because we are always laughing and if other crew members happen to be up at the same time, they are laughing alongside us, at the things we do or the stories being told, and not to mention the non-stop singing by Taleni (he’s been nick-named radio). On the KTC&S Show, we have Kalolo and Taleni who are both part of the Gaualofa core crew and have a wealth of knowledge about sailing and celestial navigation. We also have Uncle Charlie (as everyone calls him) who sailed from Hawaii to San Diego last year. Lastly, we have myself, Sala, the rookie on the KTC&S Show.
One of the highlights from the KTC&S Show over the past couple of days was “Squid Night.” On Squid Night, the KTC&S Show collected 36 squids on the deck in a span of 3 hours (12am to 3am shift)! The squid were flying onto the deck from all directions! We all took turns making rounds on the boat, almost like an Easter egg hunt, keeping our eyes peeled in the dark of night for the slimy, eight legged creatures. At one point, Taleni got hit in the leg by a flying squid and then less than a minute later one flew into my arm, causing me to scream like a school girl. The rest were found squirming around on the deck…it’s pretty amazing that so many accumulated on the deck in one night! The following day we made fai ai fe’e for lunch…which was a hit with the whole crew!
To give a bit more details about the characters to help in imagining the show: Kalolo acts like a wise old man and he loves to tell stories and give explanations, however, only those that know him well enough can tell which are true (at this point in the voyage the whole crew knows him well enough, so we are constantly laughing at is tala pepelo). Taleni is the youngest on our va’a, but is also the biggest and strongest. Taleni takes on a lot of responsibility being the strongest on the va’a and is always there to help when his strength is needed. It gives me great comfort having him on my watch. Uncle Charlie is a timeless jokester, who can get a crowd laughing, sometimes by only uttering a few words. Sala takes too much time to explain.
During another episode of the KTC&S Show, “Apple Soda Night”, I spent almost an hour (which felt like two) arguing with Kalolo and Taleni about apple soda. After spending my obligatory 45 minutes on the foe I sat down to take in the beauty of the night and study stars. My silence was quickly interrupted by Taleni and Kalolo (Uncle Charlie was on the foe). “Sala, fa’amolemole, alu e aumai le fagu igu apu lae i totonu le kula.” I would respond with “E le fia igu a’u le mea ga, alu oe ma aumai pe a fia igu.” Back and forth this went on for almost an hour! “Se fa’amolemole Sala, e le ika Lole ia oe pe a aumai.” It was funny because I was promised sashimi, oka, sushi and a fofo if only I went to get the bottle of apple soda from Lole’s forbidden cooler. It was like a scene out of the Bible, except instead of the forbidden apple, it was the forbidden apple soda. Uncle Charlie stood-by laughing as the bantering went on. No one drank apple soda that night. Thank goodness the following day we had that last bottle of apple soda for lunch, or I’m sure I would have heard about it again the next night.
We have had several guest appearances on the KTC&S Show. One of our favourites is the pair of dolphins that have visited us on three different night watches. Their presence is known by the spouting we hear off the side of the boat. Two nights ago, they gave us a spectacular performance due to the bioluminescence (plankton) in the water. The figures of the dolphins were highlighted with bright yellow (almost neon) lights, created by the bioluminescence, so we could see their bodies and their trails in the water zigzagging around each other and trying to swim side by side with Gaualofa. It was more amazing than any light show at Disney World. Our most favourite guest so far is definitely Mother Nature’s Strong Wind (~20knots). When Strong Wind shows up our time on the foe is exhilarating and flies by! The force that you feel on the foe can be compared to walking a pit-bull that has just seen a cat or riding a wild horse; you have to be careful not to let the foe run loose!
So there you have it, a little glimpse into the day to day activities on Gaualofa. I’m going to have to wrap this one up, because the KTC&S Show will be starting up again in 5 minutes! We have the 9pm to 12am shift tonight and Strong Wind is still blowing! Stay tuned…there’s more to come! We miss and think of you all often!
Fa soifua and alofa tele atu,
Sala McGuire and Gaualofa crew
The Samoa Voyaging Socety (SVS) works to promote positive Samoan cultural values, respect for the ocean and nature, individual and social responsibility, discipline and integrity.
The SVS considers that the reintroduction of traditional sailing in Samoa will provide opportunities for youth development (sports, leadership), environmental awareness, cultural development and, potentially, tourism opportunities such as whale watching and adventure tours.
SVS is developing hands-on educational and training programmes in traditional sailing and navigation. The programmes will target young Samoan youth including school children, school leavers and other interested groups. The task of learning traditional sailing and navigation skills also develops leadership and discipline among the youth, leading to well-rounded young people capable of contributing positively to the growth of this nation.