Location: Underway to Palau
Hello all, it is me again… skipper E!
I am very sad to report that this will be my last time as skipper.
As we near the end of passage, you can physically feel the crew’s energy and how excited we all are to reach Palau. Yet, it is very bittersweet, as I have discussed with many of my fellow shipmates how crazy it is that this past three weeks went by in the blink of an eye. It is crazy to think how far we have come. I know that many of us in the first few days of passage wondered if we would make it. All the doubts and challenges quickly faded away as life on a moving boat became normal. I can confidently say each of us earned our sea legs.
Last night I had a student-led passage meeting with Kylie, Caroline, and Caleigh. I can not explain how proud I am to say I get to work alongside such incredible women who also happen to be three of my best friends. I’m not sure if it has been mentioned in previous blogs from the past two days, but this is the first all-girls team the staff has seen during their time on Argo. I can not imagine three more deserving people of the positions, and I can already tell this team is going to achieve some amazing things. If you can not tell, I am very stoked about student-led passages. Getting elected to be engineer was one of the big highlights of my passage. I have already learned so much thanks to the amazing staff, but especially Lolo. Lolo has dedicated hours of her own free time to teaching me all the ins and outs of the engine room. She is the perfect teacher, and I enjoy her drawings of the engine room and all the parts that come with it very immensely. While time with Lolo is always fun, I appreciate her for so much more than just our laughs. Lolo always makes me feel capable of the job and is an inspiration to so many students aboard Argo because of her ambitious spirit. She has taught me that one of the most important things is believing in yourself. I also want to thank Tim because he has taught me some pretty cool engine room tips and tricks as well.
By the time our meeting was over, I could not sleep because I was too excited for the days to come. I spent a good amount of time doing fuel calculations and using our current RPMs and knot average to find an estimate about what time we would arrive in Palau. I made different options for Caroline to choose from depending on what was possible or not with the amount of fuel we had left. Kylie and Tyler stayed up with me. Kylie was in and out of the chart house working away on waypoints, and Tyler provided company and input on the calculations I was making. After working on that until about 12, I made a stop in the engine room to make sure the day tank sight glass was looking full. Then I made my way back to my little bunk to sleep before my next shift. This morning watch team two had the 4-8 shift. Early morning wake-ups are easy when you are waking up to be with people you love. I could not have asked for a better group of people to be with the past three weeks. Caleigh, Mia, Tyler, Cole, and Meg – it has been the best time. I will miss our dance parties, our power hours, Cole’s excitement for wake up time (even though I know it is funnier for us than it is for those being woken up, sorry watch team 3), bow watches discussing just about everything you could imagine, the iconic spooky shift featuring true crime podcasts, and of course our star gazing. Last night we saw more shooting stars in those few hours than I think I will see for the rest of my life combined. I could never forget Elle and Steph, who lead our team for the past three weeks. They have kept us going even when squalls came, which was just about every watch as our team was notorious for having squalls hit, specifically always during our hours. They were the glue that held us together, and I am so thankful for them. I am also thankful to have gotten a chance to spend more time with Elle after our time at AQ together four years ago this exact summer. I feel like we have grown up together, and everyone deserves to have an Elle in their life because she is amazing. Steph is equally amazing, and I would like to say she has maybe the coolest tattoo I have ever seen on her foot of an eagle ray. We loved you guys even when you made us do competitions to hold up our arms or when we chanted to Steph “cry on the helm!” when she was not feeling up to the task. It is these small moments that quickly become memories that I will cherish forever.
I woke up just before Max came into my room for wake-ups, only for him to be left disappointed when he found me already up. When he made his way across the hall to wake up my fellow watch team two members, Cole and Tyler, he was equally disappointed to find they too did not need a wake-up call. It made me giggle, and I will miss waking up to Max’s ridiculous comments and shenanigans. Once we were up on deck, I got the honor of first bow watch with Cole. I can confidently say that every watch is that much better because Cole is there. He keeps me laughing, and I appreciate every story about Wawa (a grocery store where he is from). The second hour was spent in the cockpit, and by the third hour, I was back on bow watch with Mia. Mia and I have had plenty of bow watches together through these past few weeks, and I will miss those moments with her. From sessions writing songs for “Seamester: the musical” to hours discussing our dreams for the future, she is someone I can always count on for anything. Our watch was interrupted as I had to leave to go turn on the generator and do a fuel transfer. The last hour of watch was spent with my sweet friend Caleigh. I love Caleigh so much and every minute spent with her is a minute that makes my days on Argo so much better. By the time watch was over, I had stayed up to work on our marine bio essay about ecotourism and study for the marine bio exam following lunch. After a delicious lunch by chef Tyler, it was time for our LAST marine bio exam!!! What?! So crazy. I want to thank Amanda, who is not only boat mom but the coolest marine bio teacher ever. You can’t change my mind about that! Amanda has always given us 110%, and I love every lecture she has to offer, even on those hot passage afternoons without AC. I sat with my friends Max and Kylie for the test, and they just constantly keep me laughing. I love them both SO much. Looking forward to our reunion in Disney Land. After marine bio, we got our nav master exams back, and we had the highest number of students pass that staff has seen in a while!!!! I passed and felt very excited because I was stressed about how well I did. Proud of everyone and the hard work they put into this course!
After class, it was time for watch again. I sat with Steph and Elle in the cockpit and read my book about engines that Tim gave me and worked on some more calculations due to the new wind we were experiencing. I did that for a while and chatted with Steph and Elle until it was time for me to turn on the showers. I got the on-deck showers going and joined in with my fellow members to cool off from the heat of the day. I will say I miss ice and easily accessible AC more than anything during these hot days on Argo, but I still would not trade it for the world. After showers, it was just about time for dinner. But just before dinner, our amazing Caleigh, aka chief mate, led us through lowering the main. Morgan and I volunteered to go under the sail again to do the pushing for the flaking process and dragged Chloe into doing the job with us. I can easily say watching Chloe get whacked on the head by shadowed hands on the sail above us made me laugh harder than I had in a while. At the end of flaking the main, we sang “99 cartons of milk in the bilge, 99 cartons of milk…” with our own Argo twist, but you get the gist. After dinner, I ended with the question of what you will miss most about passage and a one-word about what we are looking forward to in Palau. All of the answers were very sentimental, and a few made me cry. What was my answer? To put it simply, I said I would miss the way that during passage, we were all each other had in the sense that we did not have phones to hide behind or service to provide an outlet for a distraction to our emotions. It was just this crew of 24 people and the open ocean for miles. When the days were tough, we had each other to lean on. When someone was down, we took turns picking each other up. When days were good, we triumphed with one another. This ship, these people, were all we knew for three weeks. Life during passage is something you can not quite explain nor replicate ever again. It is hard, do not get me wrong. It takes effort from everyone to bring this ship across the open ocean. But that is what makes it so special. It is not about the places, but the people and the growth we have made to come this far. The people we were when we arrived on Seamester are far different from the people who, in just a few day’s time, will be boarding plans to fly home, wherever that may be. Thank you to everyone for making this experience everything I dreamed of and more.
As our night comes to an end, a squall is quickly approaching. Everyone is out grabbing foulies and bracing themselves for the storm’s impact because this cloud is looking quite promising of a whole lot of rain. I can still feel that energy in the air growing stronger. I know that tonight I will not be getting much sleep as the student lead passage is reaching its climax, but I would not want it any other way. I am sitting with Kylie now as she prepares her charts and as Caleigh and Caroline in the saloon, next door prepare plans for bringing us into dock tomorrow. It is pure magic, is all I can say. Parents, I assure you we are arriving safely soon. Your kids are in great hands. in my opinion, the best. I will miss passage so much, but all good things must come to an end. Our night is just starting, and I can not wait for us to update you all soon with stories of success and arrivals in Palau.
P.s. Mom, I said I was most looking to getting service so I could call my mom and share all my adventures I have had with her. I miss and love you, family! Shelbs, Hayes, Clara, Koda, and friends. See you all so soon.
Me and Caleigh
Me and Elle
Gorgeous sky views