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Gearing to Go

Nov 14, 2010


Location: Mindelo, Cape Verde Islands
Author: Doug Brady
After wake ups at 7:30 and oatmeal for breakfast, the crew got several hours to work on our oceanography projects. Students were checking hypotheses, measuring trawling liter, counting lures, taking water samples, and collecting algae off of the hull. Microscopes, refractometers, fishing line, and CTDs were scattered all over the deck, and for a while Argo was a fully functioning marine lab. Lunch was grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup, a favorite meal for many of the crew. Around one o’clock, we were told that our stay in Cape Verde would be one day shorter, and that we would be setting off the next morning for the biggest test of our trip; the Atlantic crossing. Everyone grabbed computers, postcards, and all the local currency they had, and we set off in the dinghies for shore. With the afternoon to prepare ourselves for the crossing, many spent the first hour finding internet to send out last minute emails and check Facebook once more. For some aboard, two weeks without Facebook sounds like social suicide. After internet, most of us found our way to the grocery store to spend every last bit off local money on cookies, wafers, cereal, and other snacks to stave off the hunger that hits on the 3-6 am watch. Fortunately, most things in Cape Verde are pretty cheap, so most were able to buy enough to last the 14 days. Dinner was a good tuna-noodle casserole, and was followed by a nighttime MTE class on electronic navigation aids, good stuff to know about before crossing an ocean. After class, many 40/40d their bunks and enjoyed the last night of stable flooring. Everyone is excited for 14 days at sea, and is looking forward to the sighting of St. Lucia, 2100 nautical miles west of us.