SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans
A full day in Vava’u
alongside in Neiafu, Vava’u
Ship’s Heading & Speed
Warm, clear, winds force 2
Today was another exciting day in Neiafu. The day started off with another opportunity to work with VEPA (Vava'u Environmental Protection Association). We headed to Keitahi Beach this morning. The beach was gorgeous upon first glance, but the trash up and down the beach soon caught our attention. In only about an hour, we filled 47 bags of trash. We also had a few students filtering sand through mosquito net filters VEPA made to sort microplastics on the beach from the sand. According to Ali, who was doing some of the filtering, there luckily weren't very many microplastics in the sand. We cleaned for about an hour and then jumped in the water quickly to cool off before heading back to the ship for lunch. Working with VEPA has been so interesting. As Amy said yesterday, VEPA is the only NGO working on environmental issues in Tonga, so they have a lot on their plate and a lot of knowledge to share with us. I'm excited to learn more from them when they join us for a day sail tomorrow!
The afternoon today was a big chunk of free time for exploration. I visited a few shops and a market in town and got a chance to relax for a few hours on solid ground. When we got back to the ship after our break, it was all hands to prepare the ship for our dinner guests. We welcomed a group of about 20 high school students from the area onto the ship to eat dinner with us and get to know each other. A few of them will be coming on our day sail tomorrow as well! Our other dinner guests were Betty, a local craftsperson who sells her items at the market nearby and has been a longtime friend of the ship, and her grandchildren. A few of us had bought things from Betty in the market earlier so we were excited to see her again and get to chat more.
The most exciting and a little stressful part of the dinner was being sung to by the high school students (who all sung beautifully) and then having to get a song together to all sing back on the spot. Luckily, most of the students knew the words to Wagon Wheel, so even if it may have not been our first choice of song, we pulled something together very quickly and sounded pretty good.
Tomorrow we set sail again and I'm excited to share our boat with the friends we have made in Vava'u on the day sail. After the day sail, we'll be headed back out to sea. It's just a few day sail to get to Tongatapu, our next stop in Tonga, but nevertheless, I can't wait to be moving again.