Location: Green Island, Antigua
As the end of our semester approaches, all of Argo’s inhabitants donned clean, cozy Argo sweatshirts while waiting for the skies to clear and the sun to come out. Though the sun rarely showed, we embraced the day with warm tea and a lot of studying in the salon. As the chefs chopped and stirred, the rest of us filled the tables with charts, plotters, fish identification books, pencils, notebooks, and mugs. We read about oceanography as we gently nodded our heads along to the beats of songs playing through our earbuds.
Just as we began to lose concentration, the time came to assemble our dive kits in preparation for our rescue diver practical exam, which takes place tomorrow. We descended slowly to see our two instructors, Tina and Steve, charging at us while simulating various diver emergencies — panicked diver, out of air, uncontrolled ascent — so we could get the chance to practice handling real-life emergencies. It’s not uncommon to have your mask jostled or your reg knocked out during these tussles, but the past 85 days have turned us into confident, reliable divers, allowing us to wrestle our instructors underwater and restrain them to make sure that they were safe and alright. Although it doesn’t sound pleasant, it’s actually a lot of fun, and I know I speak for my fellow future-rescue-divers when I say that we get a lot of confidence out of knowing that we can handle anything a dive emergency throws at us underwater — even if that means doing it without a mask. After a quick 30 minutes underneath the boat, we ascended and rinsed off our kits for the next group.
Tonight we have our first final exam, oceanography, a test which Annemarie has prepared us for over the past few weeks. Next comes MTE, a test that requires an intimate knowledge of charts, headings, leeway, currents, and a variety of other factors that can influence a ship’s navigation. Green Island, our current anchorage, is located just off the coast of Antigua, making it a windy place for kite-boarders and sailors. As the semester comes to an end, we have been studying hard while enjoying each other’s company and the beautiful place where we end our trip.