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Under the Rainbow (and the Weather)

Oct 13, 2010


Location: Formentera, Spain
Author: Sarah Collonge
Watch Team One got us off to a splendid start bright and early this morning, and as they waved goodbye to the resorts and parasailing schools of Mallorca, they turned to face our passage to Formentera. The minute we were under way, it became readily apparent we were in for an exciting day. Almost immediately the boat began to pitch, and those who were not on watch all struggled to pull out their lee cloths, hoping our blue tarps that hook to the bunk above us would hold us in place. Before lunchtime, we had experienced heeling angles reaching up to 40 degrees, and those on bow watch were more than once greeted with the pleasant surprise of a face-full of warm Mediterranean. Looking at the horizon, you could see little pockets of squall in front of us, most of which we did not directly encounter, but got close enough to marvel at the rainbows they made. But life goes on even when we are underway, and after the chefs admirably cooked their way through a morning of sliding dishes and flying cutlery, we all ate and cleaned up lunch the way we always do, if a little more zigzagged than usual. There are no passengers aboard Argo the staff and shipmates alike are listed as crew, but for half an hour this afternoon we did take on one tiny passenger in the form of a green finch. In the middle of Boomer’s lecture about the mysteries and intricacies of the freshwater system aboard Argo, Boomer suddenly pointed to one of the life-lines, and sure enough there was a little bird clinging onto the metal cable for dear life. It was clearly not a marine bird, just a very very lost island one. The most remarkable thing about the bird was that, for the half an hour it remained before taking off at the first sight of land, it wasn’t skittish at all when people approached it. Cleary it was more afraid of leaving Argo than of anything we could do to it. Looking out across the jagged waves, I couldn’t blame it. At six o’clock, just twelve hours after we left this morning, we arrived at our destination. After a tricky anchoring process, during which we used a Secchi disk (a device normally used to measure visibility in the water) as a depth sounder, we are anchored safe and sound in the rolling waters just outside of Formentera. We are diving tomorrow, and I think we are looking forward to a new place to explore, both on land and underwater.