After four days of snorkeling our hearts out, backflipping into dinghys, and taking all the selfies with bird that we could, our time in Palmyra (or as some people like to say, Palmooora) has come to an end. This gem in the middle of Pacific that is hardly a dot on a map, is a truly wild oasis. Our time here has given us a glimpse of what a thriving ecosystem should look like and showed us how important it is to protect special places like this. On our last day we got to celebrate Alessandra’s birthday with a lovely chocolate cake and fresh coconut water that we extracted from coconuts that the station staff harvested and delivered to us. Later in the evening the only tattoo studio for 1000 miles opened up shop on the boat and Alessandra gave a few crew members tattoos with her stick and poke. To our disappointment, there wasn’t a souvenir shop anywhere on the atoll to purchase “I survived Palmyra” mugs and t-shirts and so people figured tattoos would be a good way to remember the trip. For the rest of us, pictures, bruises and memories are all we are taking back with us. 

Around 9am on Saturday we pulled the anchor and set sail back to Oahu! It’s been a busy few days of sailing. Not too long after we cast off, over half the boat was sea sick (as expected). While I was emptying a puke bucket overboard I heard a loud bang in the downstairs in the galley. The table had completely detached from its hinges and Ben and Alessandra were bracing themselves sideways holding it up. We found some new screws and while racing upwind with the boat fully heeled over we took up the project of reattaching the table which was a sweaty success. Also, from all the rain in Palmyra over the past few days, we have a leak in the ceiling. Heading north, we have been chasing the ITCZ the past two days which is not helping with the leak or our supply of dry clothes. Most of our watches have been pretty wet and fashionable in our bright orange “happy suits” (our foul weather gear that is the only thing keeping us sort of dry.) We did have a break in the clouds in the middle of the night and the sky filled with stars. At the same time, bioluminescence twinkled in the water and lit up the ocean under us as we carved through the waves. Moments of appreciating simple beauty like this make up for all of the little challenges we are faced with each day.

The wind has been consistently blowing 15-30kts and we are well on our way! We are sailing close hauled averaging about 8 kts and are traveling about 200nm a day. Currently, we are just over 600 miles away from Oahu. With just a few days left we are hoping to see a little sunshine, and maybe a mermaid. 

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