Location: Underway to Australia
Sailing for days at a time out on the open ocean is an experience I will soon not forget. Looking out at vast blue waters that stretch all the way out to the horizon, feeling and hearing the crashing waves against Argo, and tasting the salty brine truly allows you to reflect and think from a sailors perspective as you realize how small you truly are out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. But it is something that my fellow shipmates and I have come to recognize as daily life during the amazing course of our Sea|mester. We take turns with our watch teams making sure that Argo is running smoothly by performing boat checks by the hour, sitting out on the bow searching the horizon for any boat traffic, raising and lowering sails depending on the wind, and helming the 112-foot schooner we call home using a compass to guide us on a course set for Mackay, Australia. Usually, the waves are quite rough, pitching Argo back and forth, making it hard to maintain balance and sometimes sleep. But today was a special day in my eyes. The waters were flat and glassy, and the winds almost non-existent. Normally we take showers on deck with a hose while the boat is sailing along, but Captain Sam decided that the conditions were right for our first open ocean shower. We turned off the motor, changed into our swimsuits, and were warned about sharks before we jumped (while others did skillful flips and gainers) off the bow. There’s something almost scary yet exhilarating about jumping off a boat into waters that extend to depths of 4,000 meters that animals like sharks, whales, dolphins, and fish call their home and their feeding grounds. Needless to say, it was one of the quickest shower sessions we have had, but memorable nonetheless. The rest of the day proceeded with a class about marine parks, and another on the history of leadership. Then Nick and I gave our destination presentation on the Great Barrier Reef that we will soon be scuba diving and snorkeling. Then the scheduling committee planned out the next week’s activities and final classes and exams as we travel from place to place in Australia. Sadly only 15 days remain of our amazing voyage. Still, by the end, we will have traveled 4,000 nautical miles throughout the South Pacific with many skills acquired, fond memories, Nat-Geo quality pictures, and stories to share with our loved ones.