Location: Underway to the Azores

Today started off dark and early. The ten members of Watch Team Two met on deck at 4 AM to take the sunrise watch. The 4 AM to 8 AM watch is my favorite on the rotation for a couple of reasons: 1) You get to see the stars 2) You get an EPIC mid-ocean sunrise 3) You get breakfast at an appropriate time, and finally 4) You get to crawl right back into your warm bunk after all those great things!

Watch flew by, and it was lunchtime before I knew it. Head Chef Seve whipped up some artisanal twice-baked potatoes. Lunch was forty minutes late due to the complex and gourmet nature of Seve’s culinary vision. However, this turned out to be for the best! Just as lunch was served, a large Loggerhead sea turtle was spotted off the PORT quarter. The Loggerhead was surprisingly large, about 3’x1.5′. Our turtle was reddish-brown in color and appeared to be floating along on the surface. It was the kind of float that I imagined a turtle would embark upon after a tasty and filling meal. I was lucky enough to see a tiny head pop up; I waved hello.

Two seconds after sighting the Loggerhead turtle, I hear Captain Tim mutter next to me, ‘and we have a fish.’ I turn around to see that we indeed have something exciting at the end of our hook! We cast and tow two trolling lines behind Argo when weather, sea-state, and plan allows. This time it was the STBD line that had drawn tight, pulling at the warning bungies to alert us that something was playing at the other end. Tim smoothly went into action, pulling in the line with his bare hands. I coiled the line as it gathered on deck. There are lots of different things we can expect to catch in the middle of the Atlantic: Salmon, Tuna, Wahoo, Mahi-mahi. Tim and fellow staff member Lolo landed the fish, a beautiful example of a mid-weight Mahi-mahi.

We finished lunch and postponed a leadership lecture in favor of a fish dissection led by Lolo and Sam. The dissection lasted an hour, and we had a good look at all the tasty bits. A look at the stomach showed us this Mahi’s last meal; flying fish, shrimp, and at least ten SUPER RARE Papershell Nautiluses!! These creatures of the deep are closely related to octopus and squid. After the dissection, Lolo filleted the fish for tonight’s dinner. Bella and Brian ate the fish’s eyes, lightly seasoned with basil and fajita.

Following the dissection, the students filed down into the Salon for Oceanography and came back up again shortly for deck showers. The day was punctuated by striking off the Flying Jib by Watch Team Two and the sighting of another Loggerhead turtle off the bow! This time, the turtle lifted a flipper out of the water and waved hello to me 😉 During dinner, we shared fresh fish, a vivid sunset, and each other’s company. Watch Team Two will report back to duty at 12 AM tonight!

Thanks for reading about our day on S/V Argo. Hi Mom, Dad, Graham, and Winnie-dog!

Fair winds and Following Seas,
Ben S.

38 38.72 N x 033 34.52 W

Photo Captions:
1) Adina, Julie, and Mela flaking the Flying Jib
2) Lolo dissecting the Mahi Mahi
3) A Papershell Nautilus found in the Mahi’s stomach.