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Ship Logs

Expedition Existence
Written By Carlos Eyles

September 16, 2002

I wake late this morning at 7:30am, after a restless night's sleep. No one I've spoken to has slept really well. It is the sleep of the deeply fatigued, and in rather tight conditions that can get quite warm. To those of us with the metabolism of a mynah bird, it can get downright uncomfortable. The wind is howling out of the southeast at nearly twenty knots, the clouds are dark and full of themselves and I am staying on board.

Living this kind of existence is hard on the body, joints start to stress and muscles, unused to lifting heavy objects give out, and as the ibuprofen doses start to go up for my shoulder I think its time to give it a rest. It is not so much the diving but the loading Loading the zodiacs.and unloading the zodes (Zodiacs) in difficult swells. Never mind the sharks -- that daily undertaking loading and offloading is, by far, the most dangerous aspect of the day. Handing gear and scuba tanks on and off the boat with a eight-foot rise and fall on slippery decks is a precarious dance. Yesterday I miss-timed my jump from the zode to the Rapture and while hovering in 'no-mans land' one of the deck hands, "Ice," caught me and with the strength of a young lifeguard, the kid lifted me to safety. These guys are doing this with each and every team, six boats sometimes three times a day. It is utterly amazing that no one has been injured and a real credit to the crew and their captain. Women comprise about half of the teams, and are asked to do no less than a man, they carry tanks, they transfer gear, they dive, and some of them are small people. Kara, who can't weigh more than ninety pounds soaking wet, sits atop the pontoon of the boat ready to dive wearing a scuba tank, regulator, BC, weight belt, transect reels with heavy wire, and assorted other gear, all of which must weigh more than she does. Yet smiling she falls in backward, I don't believe she could actually stand up, and if so, not for very long.

We all are accumulating our share of scrapes and bruises. Nothing serious so far, a smashed hand, a sliced foot, a broken toe, and a lot of very close shaves.

Like any army, this expedition runs on its stomach, and I have been on some horrible trips where we wound up eating month old cabbage that was considered a treat. These cooks and the food so far has been extraordinary, I don't know how they do it. Mostly its chicken, but we have yet to have it prepared the same way twice. As the journey progresses the true test will come, for the fruit will perish as will the vegetables, but for now one could not ask for better chow. I think to a large degree that food keeps moral high and yesterday and especially today when the wind and swell are kicking our butts, and knocking out the most positive outlooks, they know that a good meal awaits them when they return.

Early on each team would more or less stick together for meals, often women with women and men with men. The Hawaiians usually ate together. But now I see that things are starting to loosen up and everyone is beginning to mix. Though we are still segregated by disposition, by that I mean the serious folks like to talk shop and the silly folks like to giggle and seek out their own failings and quirks, by-in-large entertaining ourselves in observance of the cosmic joke. I tend to want to laugh a lot, which makes some people uncomfortable, particularly if they are having a rough day, those of us in the silly state like to congregate in the far corners of the salon and make ourselves sick with laughter at meal time. It is a way to release the stress of the work load. Speaking for myself (and I tend to fall to the lazy side of the human folly), the workload had been tremendous. I was not prepared for rising early, taking notes throughout the day, diving hard then returning to the boat, cleaning gear and then going to work. On such a day back home I would be going to bed about the time I sit down in front of the computer. Mike May says it's good for me, makes me tough. I intuitively resist what's good for me and quite frankly being tough isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Despite the hardships, which, in this place of extraordinary beauty and healing, is scarcely a hardship, for I would unhesitating do this at every opportunity for the rest of my days. I am among my extended family here, my ohana, and there is nothing quite like being in a tribe of sea people. There passions run deep and true, and already I have made friends that will live in my heart for the remainder of my life. We each influence the other in ways we are unable to fathom here in the present, we only know we are changed by the experience and by the relationships that will continue to build, while we ride the wake of the Rapture into the second half of the expedition and into the history we shall all be a part of and will be a part of us.

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