Location: Cairns, Australia

Our final night together bled into our final morning together as folks stayed up chatting in the salon or hurriedly finishing up their last few cards to their friends until the wee hours of the morning, and then the first taxi arrived to take people to the airport at 0300. Many of us either had not slept or had only slept a mere hour or two when that early taxi arrived. We shuffled heavy bags onto the dock, gave lots of hugs, shed a few tears, and waves goodbye as the first of our group headed off to the airport to catch their flights back home. Many of us considered staying awake after that because our bodies apparently thought it was time for night watch, but we resisted the urge and crawled back into our warm beds for a few more short hours before the next group left. At a sunny 0800, we rolled out of bed again to give big hugs and well wishes to a few more students as they went along their way. The staff got to work tidying the salon and deck because, despite all the BA, there were still lots of little things to be done. (Ahem… and random odds and ends left behind by the students.) By noon, the last few students had left to go back to school, back to their families, and back to their homes. Argo was quiet and empty once again. The hallways and cabins always seem so much bigger in the first few hours after everyone leaves.

We call today “Bye, Cry, Fly” day because that is exactly what happens. We are forced to say goodbye to the group of people that we have become so close with. The crew who sailed 4352 nautical miles across the Pacific Ocean together. The crew who laughed, puked, learned, grew, washed dishes, sang, studied, dove, and sailed together for the last 80 days. The goodbyes are bittersweet- many people are excited to get back to loved ones, or excited for whatever their next step in life is, but we are also sad to part ways. It is fun to reminisce over all the wonderful memories we made together, but also a little painful to think it is time to go.

We wish you all the best of luck and remind you once again always to don’t let this experience be the coolest thing you ever do: fair wind and following seas, Argonauts.

Pictured: Our final group picture from a few days ago at Cape Tribulation; the first early morning taxi ride from Argo to the airport.