Location: Male, Maldives

Today marked our first day ashore in the Maldives! Right after breakfast, we moved Argo closer to shore and hopped in the dinghies to the harbor. After all of those days at sea, it felt good to set foot on solid land. Our agent ashore showed us to the best spot for us to purchase snacks and other personal supplies as well as have lunch and ice cream. It was very nice to have cold sodas and ice cream on such a hot day. Many of us enjoyed the “Chocolate Week” at one of the local grocery stores, where they were selling a wide range of chocolates on sale. A few of us also found ourselves wanting tea to help keep us warm and awake while on a long night sailing watches, although whether there will be enough hot water for everyone through the night remains to be seen, we have stocked up with our favorite tea flavors. We also wandered around to the local fish market, where they were selling several massive seven-foot-long swordfish! After spending most of the day ashore, we returned to Argo and had to do another soapy deck wash to clean off all of the gunk that had come on board from our shoes. With Argo looking pretty again, we headed down below for a meeting. Kris gave us all a mighty scare when he informed us that Argo had been rejected entry from the Maldives for sanitary reasons and that we would have to fuel up and leave at once! His elaborate story had the room in silence for several minutes. Everyone had a good laugh once he finally admitted to the joke, and we are excited that we will, in fact, be enjoying the Maldives for the next full week. A dinner of delicious fish cakes was followed by a marine biology class, where we learned about the coral reefs on which we will be diving in just a few short days!