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Pilot Whales and Birthday Candles

Feb 8, 2014


Location: Underway to Maldives
Author: Katherine Q.
The sun rose over Argo in such rolling seas that most of the students awakened in yoga-esque poses so as to not be ejected from their bunks, but a breakfast treat awaited those who did venture forth early.The chefs, Hunter and Desiree, graced the galley with the smell of fresh, hot homemade biscuits just after sun up – a welcome change from cereal. Another day on the Indian Ocean seemed destined to be a good one with many playful greetings from numerous flying fish dancing gleefully beside the bow. After a tasty windy lunch, we all gathered below to learn about the atmosphere in Oceanography and collision regulations in Basic Seamanship. We will all be keeping our eyes and ears open to identify any sound and light signals that we may come across, but thus far the traffic has been very sparse. It’s pretty amazing to be so far from land and from any other people – the scale of the ocean is almost too great to grasp. After a wind-swept deck shower many of us settled in to do schoolwork, take naps or enjoy the waves on deck. Just as we were all sitting down for dinner, the greatest surprise of the day came – a pod of at least twenty pilot whales swam straight at Argo, leaping and blowing mist high into the sky. They got so close that it seemed they were determined to play with us! What a wonderful gift for the first birthday of the trip – Hunter celebrated turning one year older today with brownie chocolate chip cookies and the joy of a whale sighting under a beautiful sunset sky. Though some of us are thinking of home (Morgan says Happy Birthday Dad!!), I think we are all so glad to be here, sailing through the gilded waves with the hope of another encounter with some more amazing creatures.