Location: Direction Island, Cocos, Keeling

This morning we arrived at Cocos (Keeling) Islands. According to Wikipedia, we are halfway between Australia and Sri Lanka. This is our last stop before our epic passage across the Indian Ocean to Mauritius. From where we are moored, I can see four islands. Like a picture plucked out of a castaway movie, these islands seem filled with palm trees, white sands, and likely beautiful corals hidden underneath the surface waters. The ocean transitions sharply from a deep blue to a dark and then light turquoise. We were even greeted by a pod of dolphins that played in our wake as we motored to our final anchor location. In many ways, it’s hard for me to believe we are actually here. These are the islands where Charles Darwin formed his theory about how coral atolls formed “following his footsteps here is something I had never imagined myself doing. Standing on deck, it’s almost as if we took a picture from one of those island calendars and stepped right into it. “We saw one other guy on a SeaDoo earlier this morning, but other than that, we are the only ship around. Everyone was anxious to jump in the water as we started BA (BoatAppreciation). We cleaned the galley, the saloon (where we have classes), our bunks, the chart house, and the deck, and by clean, I mean we swept, mopped, rinsed, polished, and waxed Argo. With every bit of polish or wax we put on and every bit we wiped off, we eyed the islands surrounding us and how amazing the water must be. At the same time, we were reminded that by taking care of Argo, we were taking care of ourselves, ensuring to the best of our abilities that well have a safe passage ahead of us. It is now roughly 2:30 p.m. The shipmates have free time until around 18:00 this evening when we have dinner. I believe they have all headed to the beach to explore the closest island or are snorkeling near the boat. As for the staff, some of us are prepping for the dives we will do in the next couple of days, others of us are putting some finishing touches on our scheduling, and some of us are doing some Argo maintenance while we can. As for me, it is time for a swim and then time to prep for class. The shipmates swam out to one of the reefs and said it was amazing. They saw black-tipped reef sharks, grey reef sharks, sea turtles, sea cucumbers, and all sorts of fish. The water is clear and absolutely beautiful. If we can, we’re planning on having a BBQ on the beach in a few days. It’s going to be a nice couple of days of diving, doing some relaxing, studying, and exploring everything we can.