|Melon-headed whales as seen by Evan and Jacob’s robotic submarine, ROV Beepity-beep|
Our calcium finger nails stroke the strings, hum of vibrating metal and wood sing forth in a harmony of fifths, palms slap wood, voice-box resonates:
All my life I’ve been waiting for,
I’ve been praying for,
The people to say…
Red moon rises over the horizon, Halloween orange, color of spiced apple cider, cake doughnuts, and autumn. Today is our first day in Kiribati, the tiny Fanning Atoll, and earlier we welcomed the kind customs officials onboard with our song:
That they don’t want to fight no more,
There’ll be no more wars,
And the people will say…
We have been in our own little world aboard this ship, and it feels strange to now be in someone else’s. To see other people – a reminder that the world we have created for ourselves is not the only one that exists. Sometimes on bow watch, it is easy to believe that the world consists of only a blue circle covered by a blue dome. Everything we know and use is onboard our little steel boat at the center. It feels like a fairy tale where we create our own rules and customs. I am reminded of Lord of the Flies – I wonder if this is why the rules of the ship were laid out so painstakingly beforehand, whey they are followed with such attention to detail…
But what is this human Earth we live in anyway, if not one where we have created arbitrary rules – rules of ownership, borders, customs of trade and politeness and warfare? I recall our song to the customs officials.
The Milky Way splashes above me like the spilled paint of a free-style abstract artist, stars as liquid as in the night of my high desert homeland. Just beyond the rail comes a breath, a drizzling of droplets, and a sleek grey form slips back beneath the waves. There exists a world beyond our human Earth, with no rules put in place by reasoning, just laws that are. We sail to study this world, Nature, the intricate dance of organisms and ecosystems, push and pull of geology and time, vibrations of atoms and molecules. In the water, the phosphorescent flashes of bioluminescence do their best to mimic the stars.