Location: East London, South Africa
Saturday began as a day of many exciting prospects. After a breakfast of eggs and sausage, everyone had free time until 1500. This free time indeed came as a relief after yesterday’s day of Navigation Master Exams. Many students elected to stay onboard and prepare for the Oceanography final exam and to work on their Student Leadership final papers. Some, including myself, headed out to a cafe to enjoy some fresh brewed coffee and pastries. After a few hours with wifi and food, we returned to Argo to enjoy a relaxed afternoon on board before our exam. After the Oceanography final, everyone took deck showers and hung out before dinner, which was a delicious pork roast prepared by Steph, Carolyn, and Ally B. However, the highlight of the day was only to follow. During our night out at the Buffalo Creek Yacht Club a few days earlier, we met two girls our age who taught us a traditional Afrikaans Sokkie Dance. After much fun, they invited us to a weekly local dance in a barn-house with a hundred or so other locals. After a lot of emails and texts, rides were arranged, and following dinner, the first dingy ride began to shuttle people over to the yacht club to be picked up. Unfortunately, shortly after starting the short ride, it began to pour rain, greeted with thunder and lighting. Given that it would be unsafe to shuttle more people in the lighting, the rest of our group dawned their foul-weather gear and walked from Argo to the gate of the port to be picked up there. With everyone soaked and piled into the van, we drove to the dance. Upon arrival, we certainly stood out but quickly made conversation and began to dance with the locals. Despite our loosely planned departure from the dance at 11:00, everyone decided it would be worthwhile to stay until 12:30. After a night of embarrassing ourselves attempting to sokkie dance and wonderful conversation, we made our difficult goodbyes to our newly made friends, and returned to Argo, exhausted. In retrospect, it was certainly one of the most enjoyable evenings I’ve had in a long, long time. There is, without a doubt, something to learn from the incredible generosity and hospitality we were given from complete strangers – now friends.