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Study Session

Dec 2, 2016

Location: Great Harbour, Peter Island
Author: Eric. L
After a restful nights sleep on Sputnik (Ocean Star’s home mooring in the BVI), the crew woke to the sounds easy going reggae and the smell of freshly toasted bagels prepped by our chefs Taylor and Alex. After a quick breakfast and cleanup the shipmates had the opportunity to dive another of the BVI’s awesome wrecks. The Fearless was a ship sunk in about 80 ft of water off Peter Island for an artificial reef. It is now home to all kinds of incredible marine life including beautiful queen angel fish and a barracuda that decided to hangout with us for awhile. After the dive and a delicious asian noodle salad, the shipmates had a quick nav review in preparation for their Navigation Master exam tomorrow which was interrupted by Marina yelling down into the salon for help. Rushing on deck, we found Krystin and Steph “panicking” on the surface of the water with their dive gear on. Our rescue divers in training quickly got swimmers in the water to provide floatation and calm down the panicked divers and helped get them back onboard to perform their secondary medical assessment. This was the first of multiple surprise rescue scenarios the shipmates will have to handle in order to become certified rescue divers. The rest of the day was spent studying for final exams and working on the last assignments of the semester. Its going to be a busy couple of days as we wrap up the academic portion of the semester followed by a couple of days of relaxing and enjoying the BVI before our little boat family parts ways; something we’re choosing not to think about as we make the most of the last week of our adventure together.

Day 78 – “The Joy of Teaching”

Dec 2, 2016

Location: Roseau, Dominica
Author: Ian. M
Our students set off today to visit a local middle school here in Dominica. Having crossed an ocean together, the students have become the masters of marine and nautical science. They are embarking on the greatest test of their new skills by imparting their knowledge upon these bright young Dominicans. There was knot tying and sailing terminology and fish identification drawings galore. Hopefully, we will have inspired both groups of students to further themselves on either side of the educational desk. The trip is coming into the final weeks now, causing everyone to pause and relish the moments they have remaining onboard S/Y Argo. Dominica has been a big hit so far, but we still haven’t even seen all the natural beauty it has yet to offer. Tonights squeeze question was “what non relative would you turn to if you were in trouble,” and it produced a myriad of unexpected responses. Some turned to the sisters of their best friends because they knew of the aloof nature of those best friends, while other students chose to call upon responsible acquaintances in their time of need because of the fear that their best friend would be party to the aforementioned trouble. The evening concluded with a showing of “Finding Dory.” There are some MAJOR pixar fans aboard this boat. The “Frozen” references are becoming too much to bear. It is not even cold outside…. Now that it is December, the holiday music has been unleashed upon the salon with a fury and zealotry rivaling only Buddy the Elf. Waking up to songs blaring in C-major is one of the more unique ways I have been roused out of bed. All is well here in Argo-land! I hope all is well back home.
Until next time,
Ian McGoldrick
The Boys are Back in Town

Dec 1, 2016

Location: Great Harbor, Peter Island, BVI
Author: Krystin. N
The day was earlier for some crew members compared to others. As dawn started to peer over the horizon around 6AM, Ocean Star was finishing her Round Rock Passage with watch teams 3 and 1 on deck. The two watch teams dropped sails and the vessel anchored near Spanish Town, Virgin Gorda, BVI. At 7AM the rest of the crew woke up for their morning duties and we ate bowls of cereal. Following breakfast we went and enjoyed the rest of our morning at The Baths. After spending the morning swimming, hiking, and jumping off rocks, the crew came back for some delicious pasta salad prepared by Stephanie and Wallace. Once lunch was completed, Ocean Star motored over to Salt Island, BVI. On the way over, Marina told us the story of the dive sight and how it got its name. The RMS Rhone was built in 1865 in England, and in the summer of 1867, the Rhone was transporting mail between Tortola and England when a hurricane hit the British Virgin Islands. As the Rhone was deemed “unsinkable” by the Royal Navy, passengers from a neighboring ship were transferredto the Rhone. The storm was worse than expected and the captain decided to move from Great Harbor, Peter Island to wait out the storm in open sea. He navigated the waters between Peter Island and Salt Island, careful to avoid a shallow area known as Blonde Rock. Just as the Rhone was passing close by the shores of Salt Island, the second half of the storm struck the islands and the Rhone was forced onto the rocks. The cold water hit her hot boilers and she exploded, taking all but 27 crew with her. Today the Rhone sits in four main sections and is both a marine park and one of the BVI’s most popular dive sites.
The Rhone dive went excellently for all three groups. Some saw giant schools of fish, while others ( myself included ) saw a shark. YES MOM I SWAM WITH A SHARK AND I’M STILL ALIVE. Once all the crew was back onboard the boat, Smudge then motored us to Road Town for propane so we could have enough to get us through the rest of our trip. We sent Marina and Eric on the adventure of finding the propane as the the rest of us drifted around in the harbor admiring all of the vessels that went by. After they returned, Ocean Star then motored over to Great Harbor, Peter Island. That’s right, Ocean Star is back in the BVI everyone. Blonde hair, tan skin, and skilled sailors!
The Ladder

Nov 30, 2016

Location: Ladder Bay, Saba
Author: Marina. K
Ocean Star had a fantastic day today! Our morning started with an adventurous swim to shore in which the crew had to surf the waves into the beach just below the base of the “Ladder”. Before Fort Bay was constructed, the only way onto the island was up the ladder, a series of steep, winding, rocky steps. The Ladder was used for years to bring people, provisions and goods ashore. If anything came onto Saba, it had to come up the Ladder. Today, a modern dock in Fort Bay makes this process a little easier. Once the crew had dried off a bit and warmed our legs up, we began our own personal trek up the Ladder to a town called Bottom, which is situated at the top of the Ladder. We meandered through Bottom and made our way to Crispeen Track. After about an hour and half of hiking through the beautiful island jungle, the group split into two. One group continued on to the highest point on Saba (and in the Netherlands!) called Mount Scenery, while the rest of the group headed down to a nearby town called Windward. The Mount Scenery trail consisted of, not surprisingly, more stairs! The trek, however, was worth it and we were rewarded with a gorgeous view of the island. Down in Windward, the crew was stocking up on ice cream, cold drinks and French fries. A few even managed to make it further up the road to visit JoBean’s Bead Shop filled with colorful handmade glass beads (a Sea|Mester favorite). Once all cravings had been satisfied and legs well rested, the crew began the trip back towards Bottom. Some decided to hike the trail back, while others preferred the local method of transportation: hitch-hiking. A quick, beautiful ride later and a down a few more stairs the crew was greeted by a welcoming blast of the horn from our beloved Ocean Star. Once back on board, sand and sweat was washed off with quick salt-water showers as we moved into our final passage prep of the semester. This evening after dinner, we will finally set sail back to where it all began: the British Virgin Islands. I am personally very excited to be back in home territory, as the BVI is more my home (and Ocean Star‘s) than anywhere else in the world. The arrival, however, is bitter sweet as it marks the beginning of the end. Still, the crew are excited to be back in the very waters we learned to dive and sail only 60 days ago, however this time they will be masters of the vessel! It will feel great to have come full circle, and this evening everyone is reminiscing on how far we’ve come and how many goals have been accomplished. Fingers crossed for a smooth and star-filled passage!

Day 77 – The Deep Clean Of The Sailing Machine

Nov 30, 2016

Location: Roseau, Dominica
Author: Colin. G
Last night around 7p.m. the S/Y Argo was on a close reach pulling around towards the leeward side of Dominica, out reach of the storms, and finally at the finish line of our long awaited goal. The crew was excited to see the luscious green peaked volcanic mountains of Dominica but before we could rejoice, there was a job to do. We spent the last hours before bed fixing the vessel to a mooring line. This type anchorage system actually does not require you to drop any of your own anchors. It is essentially, a strong line fixed to a heavy weight and an imbedded anchor at the bottom of the seabed, which holds your vessel in place. Once this was completed and watch team one was relieved from their duty the crew broke into a different kind of watch team which has not happened in 18 days: anchor watch. This means that for the first time in awhile, everyone gets to go to sleep except the two individuals which rotate every hour to ensure the boat stays secure.
Already our new environment seems odd to what we were experiencing out on the ocean. No more pitching and rolling of the boat. The deck from stern forwards to midship was covered with what seemed like giant colorful cocoons, as everyone was desperate to get their hands on a hammock. Finally, the air itself was noticeably different, the land breeze blew warm air, which smelled of citrus towards our vessel. I was lucky enough to draw the 6-7 watch and had the opportunity to watch the sun rise over our destination and reveal everything that we could not see under the cover of darkness. Giant ferns, palm trees, pink and white eyebrow designed houses, and green and red fishing boats heading out for the days catch. Once the crew mustered and ate breakfast, we were briefed for the days activities, a lot of BA, or boat appreciation. Everything on the ship was cleaned from the bilges to hull to get Argo back in shape after the long crossing. Half of the crew was on the deck participating in an intense full topsides and deck wash, while some were below cleaning the galley, and a few donned their snorkels and fins armed with their tools to scrub the hull of barnacles. After a long hard days work we were granted shore time to check out the island and have a chance to contact home.
Some ventured into town while some just went to the closest restaurant to get a delicacy which they have been deprived of for the last three weeks: Wi-Fi. Once shore time was complete we all took the dingy back to the vessel and had dinner followed by our last SLS (Leadership) class. Tina was kind enough to surprise the crew with brownies and a pretty hysterical presentation of how to eat them so that the deck would not get ruined. After class, the crew started to prepare for a class of their own. Tomorrow we venture to a local school to teach middle school students about boat-life and marine biology. Yet, another day flies by and the Argonauts are approaching the end of their journey.
Till next time,