Location: Underway to Fernando de Noronha
As the crew of Argo settles into their final set of night watches before reaching the long-awaited Fernando de Noronha, there is an almost tangible excitement in the air. After 22 days at sea since we left the shadow of Table Mountain, we are all excited to set foot on a new continent and log some well-earned beach time. As it always is at the end of a long passage, the feeling is bittersweet. We are excited to explore new places, yet sad to leave the consistency of passage life. Taken to a vote, we have agreed to not celebrate a successful Atlantic Ocean crossing until we reach mainland Brazil in Fortaleza. Still, it’s a new country to check off the list and a new stamp to add to the passport.
Today’s schedule continued on just like any other day at sea: lunch, class, class, showers, dinner, study hall, night watch. Emma dove deeper into a subject in Marine Biology in which the students had only scratched the surface (literally), the open ocean. Afterward, Smudge and Bryant began a review session in Basic Seamanship to review for the first midterm of the semester. As if we weren’t excited enough already, Helen and Rachel then had their destination presentation in which the educated us all about what delights to expect from a tiny island named Fernando de Noronha. Having switched our clocks back another hour in order to be on Brazil time, we had an extra hour in the day during which the open water students chose to finish another chapter in their course.
The day ended with a delicious dinner of BBQ wings and potatoes by our chefs Ben, Zack, and Benji. It’s sad to say goodbye to the truly open Atlantic Ocean, and the rest of our passages will stay relatively close to land. However, we will still have a few more days of endless blue skies merging with endless blue waters. However, it is fantastic to see exactly how far our students have come in 33 days. They are running watches with little no help from the staff and have begun taking responsibility for Argo as their own. Whether they recognize or not how much they have already learned, it is always one of my favorite parts of the trip, getting to step back and hand Argo over to her new and capable crew.