(This blog is about my experiences working and living aboard the M/V Sea Hunter, a 220’ treasure hunting ship)
We left Miami early with both excitement and anticipation in our hearts. Most of us had never been to Haiti, let alone after an earthquake. We really had no idea what to expect. Some of my friends were worried about my wellbeing and health. They were concerned something could happen to me or I could catch some kind of disease. I wasn’t the least bit (not sure why) worried about my health. We had all been taking pills for malaria so I felt confident I would be fine. My biggest concern for myself was being overwhelmed with emotions. I already knew that Haiti was a 3rd world country and that I would see things that were upsetting. I was more worried with being able to keep it together so that I could continue to be helpful. There would be a lot of work once we got there, so I tried to stay positive and think of only the good we would be doing.
The trip was calm and uneventful (just the way I like it). When work was done, a few of us would sit in the galley and put together small care packages. They would consist of rice, beans, water and cans of vegetables. Shaw’s grocery store had given us hundreds of strong cloth bags with handles, so we filled these to the brim. Every available inch in the galley was covered with green cloth bags filled to the brim. I also tried to get outside each day. I would go and sit on the fossil deck and enjoy the scenery while catching some rays. (I know too much sun isn’t good for you, but it’s my guilty pleasure). I especially loved watching the changing colors of the ocean. Leaving New England, the ocean water was dark and eerie looking. You weren’t able to see but about an inch below the surface. But it’s just the opposite as you get into the waters of the Caribbean, it is spectacular! The many shades of blue and green change with each wave and it seems like you can see straight down for a mile. When the sun is reflecting off the water you better have good sunglasses or you will go blind (not literally, but it feels that way). I have always loved how it feels when you go from a cold air conditioned room and step outside into the warm sunshine, it just envelopes your body and soul. The closer we got to Haiti, the more beautiful the ocean was. I wanted to jump in and feel the water.
Our first stop in Haiti would be the port of Miragoane, as they had a deep water dock that the Sea Hunter could hook up to. There we would be able unload some of the cargo in the ten containers, the mobile medical van and the water desalination unit. We would next head south towards the port of Les Cayes. This was where we would meet Father Marc Boisvert, a catholic priest who founded Hope Village, the orphanage that would receive the remainder of the donations.
As we approached the channel into Miragoane, a small boat came towards us. The person aboard was waving us down, so we came to a stop and helped him aboard. He greeted us all and then went right into business. He stated that he knew the channel inside and out and could take us around a treacherous reef. The last thing we needed was to get stuck or ground the ship. It wasn’t like we could call a local company for help. We didn’t have a chart of the area and when you have a ship the size of the Sea Hunter, you have to be extremely careful. In this instance we would need a local who knew the waters and here was our guy. Of course, he wasn’t doing it for free; his price was $100, which Greg paid. With money in hand, he thanked us and got back into his boat to lead us in. Greg looked at us and chuckled, “Let the games begin”.