Location: Panama City, Panama

The privilege of waking up the team is one that is highly underappreciated and definitely one of my favorites. It’s usually the sole responsibility of the Skipper to make sure everyone wakes up with a smile on their faces, and today we had our first early wake-up, scheduled for 6:30 AM. I was as excited as I’ve ever been to be the first skipper of the semester to successfully accomplish an early wake-up. However, at 6:25 AM, I was viciously mutinied upon by Natalie and her accomplice, the honeybee. As a child, I had an allergic reaction to a bee sting and have vehemently avoided them ever since. Today, however, I met my match. As Natalie was taking our provisioning bags down from the lifelines on deck, I offered to bring them down into the salon as I went to wake everyone up. Unaware that a bee had made one of the bags it’s home for the night, I carried them down to the salon to be prepped for another day of provisioning. Right before I put them down, I felt a burning sensation in my arm. AGH! Natalie’s plan had worked. I was stung, incapacitated, and unable to do wake ups: (

Actually, I had little to no reaction to the sting itself. But since I have reacted poorly in the past, Elle (our medic and go-to crisis fixer) wanted to give me some Benadryl and monitor me on deck. So Natalie got to do wake-ups, but that’s okay because the skipper position is full of fun jobs.

As I said, the group woke up at 6:30 to get an early start to the day. Before breakfast, we made our way from our anchorage over to a dock to get refueled. And, of course, what would a day on the dock be without a round of COVID tests to wake us up? No fun at all, that’s for sure.

So at 8:00 AM, with heavy eyes, burning nostrils, and swelling bee stings, we sat down to a truly glorious breakfast of the best cinnamon rolls-you’ve-ever-had made by Steph and Elie. As a self-proclaimed Cinnamon Roll Aficionado, I declare these rolls perfect. They were massive, flaky, perfectly sweet, and unbeatable. Surely, the finest Panamanian restaurant could not compare, and we absolutely tore through them.

After breakfast, we had our oceanography exam and a marine biology class all about worms. Then a baked potato bar for lunch, followed by a seamanship class where we continued our NavMaster training. Some groups may have been intimidated by compass variation and deviation, but this group of geniuses absolutely aced it. After NavMaster, we had free time until dinner, during which the chefs produced some truly inspired veggie roast with surprise onion rings (normal onion rings, but they were unexpected).

For squeeze, I asked the group about how COVID impacted their lives, and a large part of our group said that they would not be here without it. There are definitely silver linings in every cloud.

As squeeze was ending, Gabe, Steph, and Lolo arrived back with the second provision haul. Evidently, we’re planning to feed the entire population of Ecuador when we get there. The next several hours were spent washing, drying, sorting, packing, and dancing as we finished the last task of our Panama list. Now that every square inch of Argo is filled with canned vegetables and flour, we are ready to cross the ocean.

Daily Tallies:
Nostrils full of cotton swabs – 27
Bees tragically killed by their own silliness – 1
Panamanian grocery stores emptied by our greed – 4
Cans unloaded – 123146453
Aced oceanography exams – 21
Stoke level for the Galapagos – top of the mast or higher

THE cinnamon rolls
Kitchen crew (Gillian, Renee, Niko)
Niko making onion rings
Shopping cart with just the cheddar cheese and tofu that we bought
A fraction of the haul
Steph in a jam-packed van
Elle, Mac, Nick, and Felipe playing catch with lunch meat
Thea with the toilet paper