Location: Gran Canaria, Canary Islands

Today started nice and early with a 7 am wakeup as usual. Wakeups on Argo are always interesting, as a few students jump right up, but most are a little more stubborn. After several rounds of walking through the cabins with songs, jokes, and promises of a hot breakfast, everyone finally made it out of bed. We had a hearty and tasty breakfast of scrambled eggs, home fries, and melon prepared by head chef Aric and his galley team. After cleanup was complete, the half of the group that didn’t dive yesterday loaded up all their gear and headed off for a day of getting their gills wet. The other half of the students had a free day with the option to rest, do schoolwork, wander around town for treats and laundry, etc. I spent most of my day grading the Oceanography exams two nights ago. They are glad to at least have that midterm out of the way! Most students gave great answers about oceanographic explorers, properties of water, and evidence for seafloor spreading, and they even drew pictures of hot spots and atoll formation. They have learned so much in all their classes already!

The group that went diving had a very chilly day, but they brought back reports of seeing an angel shark, squid, scorpionfish, anemones, garden eels, and so many more critters that they have learned from Amy in their Marine Biology class. Everyone who went diving over the last two days completed the AWARE Fish Identification adventure dive, which counts as the first of their five dives in the PADI Advanced Open Water course. For this dive, they made a note of fish families and species, abundances, and habitats that they observed.

After everyone returned from diving and exploring the town, we had another delicious meal cooked by the chef crew. During our nightly squeeze, I asked the group to tell us one thing they have learned about themselves so far on this trip. Many people said they have learned to operate outside their comfort zone, they can thrive in much less space than they are used to, or they learned that there is much more information and adventures are out there in the world than they ever realized. We ended squeeze by squeezing hands and then giving our favorite dive signals as dramatically as possible.

Finally, for tonight, after cleanup is complete, the students will take their International Competent Crew (ICC) exam. Not only is it a major part of their grade for their Seamanship class with Dan, but it is also a certification to prove basic knowledge of boat operations and onboard safety. Good luck to all students as they complete the remainder of their midterm exams and papers! And happy birthday Captain Wiggy!

Pictured: Jackie in a Buddha pose; Jake demonstrating good trim while diving; Amanda and Ian spotting some sea life under a ledge; sous chefs Tim and Claire with head chef Aric.