Offshore Reunion

Last night was the S.A.L.T.S. AGM. The last half (two-thirds?) was devoted to a multimedia presentation of Offshore put together by Skipper, complete with with photos and video highlights of the trip. People started arriving 15 minutes or so before the doors opened and it was like a huge reunion of trainees and crew: I hadn’t seen lots of them since we arrived home in  June of last year. Strange really, I spent every moment of every day for months with some of these people and now I haven’t seen them in months. Needless to say there were hugs flying all over the place. I felt a bit disjointed as there were so many people I wanted to see – I kept turning and seeing someone else to grab. I’m not usually like that. I usually stand on the edge of the room and have a select few conversations while people-watching. It was really exhausting.

The presentation, however, was fantastic. The video footage was all new to me: most of it I hadn’t seen since we actually lived through it. Some of the most moving footage to see was of our time with various islanders in remote locations. There was quite a bit of our friends on Hiva Oa, including their singing of the Marquesan National Hymn. Then there was some of the Palmerstan Islanders, including our dancing and that of the ever-graceful boys. The video of the whales we swam with in PNG was also moving. It was so graceful to see a dozen or so whales gliding through the water and some of us diving down to see them and them surfacing to see us. Wow. At one point during the whales, I caught the eye of another crew member and we mouthed “SHARK” at each other because that is pretty much how it went down. Skipper left that out of the presentation.

The whole thing brought tears to my eyes. Such good memories, amazing people and places and community on the boat. Someone said to me afterwards that they felt they had lived it with us. “Hmmm, not quite,” I thought to myself. The show missed some key things below decks. Sure, you see the crazy motion from on deck when waves come crashing over the side, but what about when those waves lift up the closed skylights to dump water on the table in the middle of a card game. Or when the waves lift the skirt around the bottom of the mast and pour waterfalls down onto freshly baked muffins you were planning on serving for breakfast in 15 minutes. And what about when the swell is so huge that your galley assistant for the day drops the 100 oz can of chickpeas all over the floor as she slides all the way across the galley and slams into you. And the heat, nothing in the photos gives any indication of how bloody hot it was on deck and how much hotter it was in the galley. Oh the good times, that is what memories are made of.

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