Location: Underway to Agadir
This morning after breakfast, we quickly finished up passage prep, which we had started yesterday. After Ben cleared us out of the local immigration, we quickly got underway and started our 500 nm passage to Agadir, out of the Mediterranean and down the coast of Morocco. There was a weather system in the Atlantic that kept us in the Mediterranean end of Morocco for the past few days, and we are happy to report that has finally fizzled out / moved on so that we can move on too. We have recently begun learning about the physical side of oceanography in OCE, so it was cool to be able to have everyone look through the files we downloaded from the passage weather site online depicting the pressure, wind, and wave predictions and be able to understand a bit more about the weather, what is going on out there, and how that influences us on the boat. After lunch today, we actually had a review for our OCE midterm, which will be coming up at the end of the week. This week is basically, midterms with tests in both of our science classes. It definitely is tough to pull off a full university semester course load while also being crew on a sailboat, but we know that we will be rewarded at the end of exams this week with some awesome excursions in Morocco. After our OCE review, the PSCT students took their meteorology exam, the second of five theoretical exams they have to pass in order to get their certificate to be a skipper. We only have about six brave souls who are taking this course, which is the one optional course offered onboard and is only taken by students who have a strong sailing background and hope to go into the sailing or marine industry. Luckily for them, the material on the meteorology exam lined up pretty well for what we were learning in OCE this week as well, so I have a feeling they did a great job.
Today wasn’t all about academics, though; we also got to sail out through the Straights of Gibraltar and finally enter the Atlantic Ocean! We have enjoyed our time in the Med and all of the cool cities we have seen, but I know I am personally most excited to be crossing the Atlantic Ocean this trip. Despite the fact that we still have a few stops onshore in Morocco and the Canaries, it is very exciting to know that we have now officially begun the Atlantic crossing. We were also welcomed into the Atlantic by a pod of about five orcas, which swam by as we passed by Gibraltar and Morocco. We have gotten to see dolphins many times on the trip so far (and did so again today), but this was a special treat, as it was the first time that most of us have ever seen an orca in the wild. Fingers crossed for more whale sightings throughout the trip as we sail out way through the big blue!