Location: Underway to French Guyana
This morning we awoke to partly sunny skies with a light breeze. There were a few fishing boats in the distance, but other than that, it was just us and the ocean. Within the first two hours of Watch Team 1 standing watch, the rain was spotted on the horizon. Over the course of the semester, Watch Team 1 has earned the reputation of the ‘bringers of rain,’ and to hold true to that, it began raining. We didn’t have high gusts of wind like we saw in Fortaleza, but we had enough rain that we were sufficiently drenched. The rest of the day, we switched back and forth between sailing and motoring through mini-squalls and dry periods. Pretty much everyone, at some point today, got drenched and had to change into dry clothes; some of us had to 3 or 4 times!
The classes today were MTE (basic seamanship), Marine Biology, and PSCT. MTE went over the use of a VHF radio, how to hail another vessel, how to make a proper distress call, and what other distress signals vessels have available to them. Everyone has been working hard to memorize the verbal alphabet, so we know how to spell things out over the radio should we need to (i.e., Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo, etc..). After MTE, the Marine Biology class went over the mid-term and, to keep things light for the day, watched a YouTube video. It was of a man that can play a one-stringed guitar and sing about ‘chicken in the corn,’ random, I know, but fun nonetheless.
The PSCT class was instructed about winds and weather fronts in the Atlantic Ocean. This was fitting since we had on and off rain all day; so now, if we think about it, we should be able to predict where the weather is coming from and why it is happening; ok, maybe we need a little more studying before that. Still, it was interesting to be aware of how weather systems work anyway.
Likely the highlight of the day was the spotting of a pod of dolphins around us just before dinner. They were amazing. You could see them off of the bow, the port, and the starboard sides of Argo. At times we saw three or four jumping out of the water at a time. If they were having fun playing in Argo’s wake, we were definitely having fun watching them!