We landed in Valparaiso, Chile, on the 10th, ending the epic trip that was the Melville´s 2010, transect of CLIVAR P6.
I have to honestly say the time spent on the boat was incredible. While during the trip, the days seemed slow and at time monotonous, I look back and can barely believe that we left Tahiti, on January 4th. With a full 12 hours off each day, and only sporadic work during the shift, there is plenty of time to work out, relax, discuss anything and everything with others, and eat delicious food; I read for fun more on the Melville than I did in all of college (remember, Math Major), but still have to finish Aztec. I can honestly say I learned a lot from my time on the Melville, not simply in my future career of oceanography, but in human nature and personal reflection.
Thats not to say I did not want it to end; making port in Valparaiso was anticipated and enjoyed. Among other things missing from the cruise, alcohol was consumed that first night and many times since. Dancing occured, as was some excellent sleep without the constant noise and motion associated with a boat. We all partied in Valparaiso for a few nights, then headed down the coast to Pichilemu, a small surfing town.
We stayed at Hostal Marres, a gorgeous beachfront property owned by Chilean Surf God Diego Medina. While there was some confusion about overbooking the first night, we figured it out; we had a couple of tents, and I slept in mine beneath the same southern-hemi stars I had stared at the whole trip. We woke up within site of Punto Lobos and prospects of some adventures and a discoteca that day and night. The next day was very restful, and included mainly the beach and a delicious barbecue.
People started leaving the next day, but there were still enough of us to enjoy some wine overlooking the break at Punto Lobos during sunset. We had one more night in Pichilemu, again with dinner and drink in the main town. The next day, I said goodbye to most from the ship, and made my way south to Villarica. I am still here now.
Things I´ve learned:
--Tons of Spanish. Most importantly, ¨Mas lente, por favor¨ (slower, please). Chileans speak very quickly.
--As shipmates, we enjoyed eachother´s company sober. Once off the boat, we realized that we are all real fun people to party with as well.
--In the USA, we use foreign language to make businesses and such sound exotic. Down here, English is often used (i.e. Sports House). While this should not shock me, I simply don´t think of English as exotic.