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8th of February, day 8

This morning our Young Explorers were on cleaning duty. After one week of activities and living on the boat, it was now in need of a good scrub and tidy up. Pangaea is a big sailing vessel  so when 19 people live on board 24 hours a day, everything gets used intensively! Our Young Explorers had to sort out their bunks in the cabins, clean the inside of the boat and rinse the outside and the deck. At 9:30 we were ready to lift anchor and sail towards the direction of Barren Island, 50 Nm from South Button Island. This meant another four and a half hours on the open ocean. That would give us enough time to hoist the sails and show the basics of sailing to our Young Explorers.

Barren Island is a big volcano in the middle of the ocean. Around the island, the depth reaches 1000 meters!  In 2004, due to the earthquake that produced the tsunami, the volcano woke up and had its last massive eruption. Approaching the volcano, we could distinguish some smoke on the top of the
mountain, but everything was still a bit foggy. As soon as we could distinguish the entire island, we observed our first eruption of smoke and ashes. A few minutes later, we could feel the sand on our faces and the deck was covered with a thin layer of black dust.

As we approached the volcano we could distinguish the huge lava field that was created in 2004. Pangaea's anchorage was not easy to find as the water was too deep and the island is surrounded by steep cliffs. After a few minutes, we finally found a small kind of plateau 20 meters deep were we could drop the anchor. As we were quite close from the shore, we decided to run a mooring line at the stern of the boat to a big rock on the shore.This would assure that we would not be blown against the island. As soon as the engines stopped everyone jumped into the water with their snorkels to go and explore the marine life around the volcanic rock island.

What a superb sight! The colors of the fish were highlighted against the black lava background. We could see lots of new young corals growing everywhere. We could also clearly see some very big fish including sharks. Pangaea's crew decided fish would be on the menu for dinner. A competition was open between the fishermen on the dingy with their line and the fishermen in the water. Unfortunately, the nature didn't seem to be ready to give us more than we already had on the boat and our two teams came back with empty hands.

Even without a catch of the day we still ate fish for dinner. It was caught by Simon. We filleted it and cooked it on the barbecue! Tomorrow, we plan to dive with the Young Explorers so they can have a closer look at the coral and enjoy this amazing marine life.

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