Location: Naviti Island

Hello friends, family, past and future argonauts! It is your fav skipper reporting live from Fiji – Skipper E!

Today started out different for me than most of the crew. Sadly I did not get to wake everyone up to the song “What Does the Fox Say” like I had originally planned because I was on a dawn dive for divemaster training. I have come to find that dawn dives are my favorite dives. There is something about getting to wake up with the fish and watch the sunrise as you dinghy over to your dive site. The gang this morning included me, clipboard Gabe, Max, Meg, and special guest star… Kylie! Together we dinghied out not too far from Argo to check off my rescue skill. Kylie graciously volunteered herself for a 5:30 am wake-up call so that I could use her to check off my rescue scenario. Thank you, Chloe and Cat, my bunkmates, for not mentioning my annoying alarm these past few mornings and being the best roomies. The dive this morning consisted of which includes doing a search pattern, finding a fake unconscious diver, surfacing them, doing rescue breaths, getting them safely back to the dinghy, and finally, pulling their body out from the water. What should have been a simple dive turned into one of our favorite mornings yet. We woke up when the stars were still out. Groggy yawns quickly became excited giggles. Kylie and I hijacked Max’s phone and forced him to take photos for and with us. We are still laughing at them as I select which ones to include in this blog post. Max’s family, I just wanted you to know Max is the best dive buddy of all time. Max and I (mostly me) already made a plan for me to meet Max in LA at some point this year to go to Disney land together. Good news, everyone – I passed!

I would like to thank Gabe because even when I did not think I could ever get a body into Nopadangdang a few days ago, he pushed me to do it. Lolo was even recruited yesterday to hype me up and train me for the dive. She played songs on her speaker, made me do push-ups, and even shout, “I can do this!” I could not have done it without the awesome support system we have here. Also, a special shoutout to Gabe’s family! I heard you guys read the blog from time to time. I would like to say thank you for sending Gabe to Seamester when he was 18. Without Gabe being introduced to Seamester, we would have never gotten to meet him, and I can say without a doubt the boat would not be the same. Gabe is one of a kind and is so special to everyone here on Argo. Safe to say he is a fan favorite. Thanks, Gabe, for putting up with DMT all the time and all the challenges that come without little DMT fam. We love you, Gabe!

The story continues when we get back to the boat. Amazing oatmeal bars by the chefs today were awaiting us! But wait… we can’t forget the way we got nopadangdang out of the water. This new technique was a game-changer. Gabe taught us that if you scream, it makes things easier. So instead of two-six, we did “two… AHHH,” and can I just say… I have never seen the dinghy go up so fast. If the crew was not awake at this point, they definitely were now! We got out of our wet suits, wrapped up in towels, and joined our friends. We did clean up, and straight from there, it was time to sail! It has felt so long since we raised sails, and everyone was very excited, to say the least. We raised four sails and waved goodbye to our little anchorage. I am excited to move, but I will miss the sound of the outer reef breaking in the distance at night. As soon as we thought it was over, we had a surprise man overboard drill! Meg and Tyler acted as spotters as each watch team went to work. Watch team one (my team, best team, shoutout Lolo for being our leader) was in charge of getting nopadangdang into the water, watch team two got med kits ready, and watch team three lowered all the sails. In my opinion, it went pretty well, and we rescued our “man overboard,” which was actually just a flotation device. Following the drill, Tim gave us a lesson in sailing. He taught us how to steer only using the wind and no engine. Tim is very humble, but I just want to take a moment to brag on Tim because he really is such an incredible sailor.

Following Tim’s sail lesson, we had a little bit of free time. Morgan, Caroline, Caleigh, Kylie, and I all sat together as the boat swayed in the waves and worked on our school work. At one moment, as I typed away at an assignment, I peered up at the glassy sea in front of me and just thought about how amazing it was that this was our classroom for the summer. Also – I have the best friends ever. These girls are people I know will be in my life forever, and I am so grateful for all of their parents reading this for sending them on this trip because I can not imagine what life was like before them! We were then all gathered down below for oceanography. I think some of us forgot that with the greatness of sailing, the seasickness does not follow too far after. You could tell our class was feeling the motion of the ocean, but nothing a little AC can’t fix! Thanks, Steph, for being the best prof ever!!! We learn so much from her every day. After oceanography, everyone spread out around Argo for some more free time until dinner. I have to say that I am grateful that today Caroline got her nap. She LOVES her sleep, and it was much deserved. Jennifer and Aidan as well snuck some naps in.

We continued our way across the ocean, and as we grew closer to our destination, it was time to lower the sails. As seen in the attached images, I found the perfect napping spot on top of our cocooned magadangdang. It was very cozy and is the closest thing I have felt to a couch since June. Annie came and informed me that it was time to help, so I got out from my little cradle and made my way to the mainsail so we could flake it. Annie is such an awesome human so thank you to Annie’s parents for sharing her with us! She never fails to entertain me with her stories of rock climbing, her sisters, her dad’s funny moments, her environmental science knowledge, and so much more. Back to the story about flaking the mainsail – I just had to take a moment to appreciate my sweet Annie. Morgan, Ian, and I were the three lucky picks for who would go under the sail to raise it up with our bodies so the crew could reach it in order to make flakes. We were inside the giant sail bubble, and we joked that it felt like they were playing wack a mole as they reached over to pull up the flakes often accidentally grabbed at our heads instead. Morgan and I were crying, laughing the entire time. Morgan always keeps me laughing and makes my days on Argo that much brighter. Once we got the main all put away and flaked, we pulled into our new home for the night and dropped anchor.

Just as we arrived at Naviti, we saw THE BIGGEST DOUBLE RAINBOW EVER!!!! It was the best welcome to an Island we have had since we saw the blacktip reef sharks in Navadra! As you can see in the photos attached, the rainbow stretched all the way across the sky, and we were able to see both ends of the rainbow right in front of us! It felt like a sign for the good times yet to come. It was the highlight of everyone’s day. Hands down the best rainbow I have ever met. The crew was ecstatic and stayed on deck until it disappeared. To top it off, we saw the green flash again! Fiji is pure magic.

We ended the night with a delicious dinner by chef Tyler. My squeeze question was, what is your serial killer trait? It essentially just means what is your super weird quirk. Amanda shared she ate pizza with a fork and knife, Aiden told us he used to eat raw hot dogs, and I shared that I hoard pictures and have over 50,000 on my phone. There were a lot of laughs, and we all agreed at least no one put on their shoes in the order of sock then shoe, sock then shoe. We all enjoyed each other’s company as this amazing day came to an end. While we still await news about the passage, I am so grateful to be here. Fiji truly feels like a second home to us all. Mia and I snuck away to get some chocolate tymos – a favorite snack of mine here in Fiji. It is similar to a Kit Kat and Tim Tams but not quite as good as Tim Tams Mia likes to argue. Mia’s mom, I will need to try some Tim Tams again when I come to visit you guys in Sydney (where I will hopefully get to meet a golden retriever puppy?!)

I would like to give a special thanks to all the staff members for working so hard to make this experience incredible. Without you guys, it would not be the same. Especially to Tim because he works day and night to coordinate our adventures. We are all so thankful for you and look up to you more than you know!

If you made it to the end of my blog – congrats! They are notorious for being long, but I just wanted to make sure to pay appreciation to all the people who made my day here on Argo. Also, the praying mantis is still here with us on Argo. Gabe continues to mention her in his squeeze appreciations for the day as their friendship develops. It is time to settle down, and I will be joining Kylie for her anchor watch soon to look at the stars and talk about who knows what. Thank you, Argo, for these moments.

Hi Mom, Dad, Shelby, Hayes, Clara, Koda, and friends!!!! I miss you all and can not wait to see you in about a month. Give Koda all the hugs in the world for me.
Eleanor, if you are reading this blog in the future – hello as well!

Signing off for now – best always,
Skipper E : )