DAY THREE (10 August)
By: Felix BornholdtJourney details taken at 20:00
It was with a sense of joy (and an equally enthusiastic sense of relief) that we finally caught a glimpse of the driving force behind our voyage this morning: Raoul Island.
It’s hard to describe the almost profound feeling of relief that one is overcome with after spending considerable time on the high seas. Our now normal 0650 wakey wakey wakey was soon followed by a somewhat disconcerting rumbling from deep within the ship as the Canterbury put down anchor, not far off Fishing Rock.
For the first time during the voyage I think nearly the entire crew was somewhat at ease, the sea had eased off, a warm, almost humid sun had risen and the ship sat happily moored off the north coast of Raoul.
I think perhaps the most astounding thing, for me at least, is the colour of the water up here: a deep, rich blue, both deeply inviting and also somewhat unnerving.
As we gathered on the top deck early this morning we were greeted by a small mako shark that swam around off the port-side bow and then vanished; presumably to report our arrival to the extended family.
Our snorkel leaders and scientists were not deterred however and left in a rhib (rigid hull inflatable boat) around midday to scope out potential dive spots for tomorrow. They returned with a number of possibilities, having sighted lionfish, a turtle, a number of crown-of-thorns starfish and large concentrations of tropical fish (and not a single shark).
Nonetheless, we were given the full shark-safety lecture by Clinton Duffy (be smooth, calm and don’t try to head one off unless you’re looking for a fight) and a full snorkel brief with Samara, a slightly less nerve-wracking experience.
The rest of the afternoon saw one half of us squeezing into wetsuits for a snorkel tomorrow, the other half preparing their bags in quarantine for the first night on Raoul.
For me at least, the sense of space and isolation is a huge presence here, it is both humbling and somewhat surreal to be in a place like this and you often find that you need to remind yourself that you’re moored off an island, 1000kms away from civilisation and sitting on top of a 10-kilometre deep trench.
And to think that I’d normally be stuck in chemistry on a Friday.------------------------
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