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Camping Trip in Mangareva

By Chelsea McBroom

February 15th, 2014

The starboard watch overnight Monomoy trip turned out to be a very wet one. We had been lucky with weather since the Picton Castle had arrived in Mangareva, having only a few light squalls now and then, but that night it poured. It wasn’t until the following day that I found out what the chief mate, Dirk, would have done (and that is use the mainsail from the Monomoy for shelter) but at the time all we had was a very large and very holey tarp to use and a basket woven mat to sleep on under our sleeping bags.

It wasn’t until the sun was just about to disappear that people had the motivation to build something shelter-like. We took the bits of lashings we’d brought, folding the tarp in half to lash that part of it up and the other half blanketing the ground. Lian wrestled trees and old branches to make us posts to hold up the sides. Unfortunately even by this point it had rained quite a bit so we were soaked, hardly being warmed and dried by the bonfire we’d created and some things were left dripping. Maria said she went to bed in wet clothes and a very damp sleeping bag and woke up in the same uncomfortable state. Pania and Erin had brought hammocks which they had strung between the trees and seemed relatively dry.

Our tarp shelter did rather well, and it didn’t rain again, but now and then I would be woken up by a large drip falling from the trees, onto the tarp, and then directly onto my face, once into my eye. Gustav made a friend – a cat, whom Pania was sure was pregnant because she ate an entire can of cocktail sausages, who kept him company throughout the night.

The majority of us woke at around 6am and began cleaning up, antsy to get back to the ship to say goodbye to those leaving (Amy, Beamy and Captain Moreland), some temporarily. Everything was covered in sand. Once it was shaken out and packed away as Lian strummed away on his guitar and a bit of coffee was made for those desperate coffee drinkers, hands were called to the monomoy. The tide had gone out and the boat was fairly beached. We heaved the boat together wading through the warm sea water and this time brought our things out to the monomoy before jumping in and sailing off.

Sam, the watch officer, commented that it was a good thing we left early; there wasn’t much wind until we came out from behind the small island and towards the ship. The sky was clear and the cool of the morning slowly dissipated. Some of the crew were kept awake at the helm, main sheets, jib sheets and leeboard as we tacked back around the coral and others scooted down between the totes of supplies and backpacks for a snooze. There was hardly any chatter but for the commands of the watch officer; it was a boat full of sleepers and daydreamers.

Getting as close as we could to the ship by wind, we eventually took out the oars to row with just enough time to say goodbye to our friends – once again shocked by how quickly people become family members on board and how fast time goes by before they go.

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