Location: Tongue Bay, Whitsunday Islands
It was a picturesque day in the Whitsunday Islands and Australia’s most popular beach. Overnight, our anchor watch was visited by the first of several groups of whales that were to be spotted today. Just before breakfast, we were also visited by some Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins. Post breakfast, it was beach time. Whitehaven Beach is among the best in the world, and Argo’s crew was ready for some beach time. The first item on the agenda ashore was a dance/ leadership activity in which students took turns leading the rest of the group through some dance moves. Shelby and Hayes taught the group some hot swing moves, including dips and spins, and Carolyn leads us in Salsa. Once the speaker died, we transitioned into free time ashore. There was running, exploring, swimming, Frisbee, chess, reading, and even some laying out. Divemaster candidates Charlotte and Katie headed back to Argo early for a skills workshop, in which they practiced demonstrating the open water skills in preparation for working with student divers in the future. The rescue diver candidates, Evan, Hayley, Zoe, Sam, were also surprised when instructors Bryant and Steve mysteriously vanished while “checking the hull zincs. It took a little while, but we were eventually recovered. The action-packed day was not finished yet, though. Argo’s crew then hoisted sails for a short passage to Tongue Bay, where we will spend the night. It was a beautiful and calm sail, and we witnessed a humpback mother and calf along the way.
A significant portion of the crew opted for study time oversailing, a surprising reminder that it is still finals week on board. There are many papers to write and exams to pass! Just before anchoring Simon, Mike and I entertained ourselves by singing the US national anthem replacing about 35% of the original words with the word whales, hence the title. We are now settling in for another beautiful night at anchor below the Southern Cross and the Milky Way. Everyone is stuffed thanks to a delicious meal of Spaghetti Bolognese prepared by head chef JJ. That, combined by how exhausted everyone must be (I sure am), does not bode well for attention spans during the upcoming navigation review class. I’ll have to do my best to make it exciting!