Location: Underway to St. Helena
We are becoming tantalizingly close to our first port of call in St. Helena and with excitement building for promised land, I personally can’t wait for the first person to see and then bellow the old mariners cry of “Land A’Hoy!” Having done a little reading about St. Helena, and being British myself, it’s status as a British overseas territory intrigues me. Sam and Aika delivered our first destination presentation sharing the history, things to do and places of interest on this tiny island. With previous Portuguese and Dutch visitors between the years 1502 and 1659, St. Helena is mostly famous for Napoleon’s exile to and death on the island in 1815 and 1821 respectively. A few of us were also surprised to hear about the islands 18-hole golf course! Typical classes ensued this afternoon with a knot tying masterclass on deck, mostly taught by the more experienced student sailors and with just few hints and tips added by Bryant and myself.
As the days have passed strangers have become friends, minds lost in nautical terminology have become crew and the 112ft of Argo and 26 souls aboard have become one. Some small pranks, jokes, games and humor have become commonplace as everyone is now comfortable in what was once a foreign environment. Most of our pre-dinner “squeeze” questions have become lighthearted and fun but I wished to enter the group into a more reflective mood. For the mathematicians out there, day 18 means that 20% of our literal and metaphorical journey has already been and gone. So as skipper of the day I dutifully asked “What is ‘home’ to you?” A classic question from sister company ActionQuest’s staff training, designed not in an attempt to induce homesickness but to provide an opportunity for a grounded perspective of these young adults worlds. The conclusion is that we are all different, hold unique values and of course know each other a little better after sharing our thoughts.
As a staff member you would think my position onboard be one that is authoritative and directive. You couldn’t be further from the truth. Despite my experiences and qualifications Argo is relatively new to me too, as is crossing an ocean, and I am quiet literally in the same boat as your son, daughter, brother, sister, friend, peer or loved one. It is a truly great teachable moment when asked a question by a student specifically about Argo, the program, a place we may visit or the schedule and I can just shrug my shoulders and reply “I don’t know, lets go find out together”. Of course I bring my own knowledge and experience to the table in that moment but improving the confidence, competence, ability to connect and character of each shipmate is the goal for me. As we begin to hand over the responsibilities of running Argo, such as Watch Leader, to the Argonauts they begin to grow and discover. We are truly in a place of learning, exploration and adventure and as you read this, just as I know my own mother and loved ones will, I wanted to reassure all that are thinking of us that we are doing great! Hopefully we will all be able to make a call to special ones from St. Helena but if communication isn’t possible on this very remote island then we’ll be speaking to you from Brazil in another 1700 nautical miles time!!!