Location: Slipway, Antigua

Hello from English Harbour!

The day started early again, although there was much more energy from the gang this morning as we settle into our daily routine on Argo. There was also an additional buzz in the air: the rumor had spread that today was going to be a dive day. Elle and the Sous Chefs served us an amazing breakfast consisting of french toast and fresh fruit, and despite using what seemed like 20 loaves of bread to make it, it was promptly devoured.

We then were briefed on the day where we found out that yes, the rumors were true; the cohort of cadet crew who was already PADI certified would get to do a check-out dive today! A check-out dive is a dive where divers refresh themselves on some important skills we may not have practiced in a while, such as mask recovery, buddy breathing, and maintaining neutral buoyancy. I was super excited being the Divemaster-in-training on board because the check-out dive was going to be a great chance to make sure I had my skills down ahead of working with the new Open Water divers in a few days. While we were going to be diving, the Open Water training divers were scheduled to continue their classroom time that is a part of their certification. I could feel their excitement, too–they are getting so close to getting to dive for the first time!

The check-out dive contingent departed on Argo’s 2 dinghies for the dive site, named Pillars of Hercules and located at the mouth of English Harbour. After anchoring, we first completed our swim test, which every cadet crew member will need to do over the next few days. I think we swam faster, knowing that the sooner we finished, the sooner we got to dive. We proceeded to climb back in the dinghies and suit up, completing our buddy checks in a big group. The energy was palpable, particularly after Sam managed to slip and tumble over the side of the dinghy in her full dive gear rather gracefully. Once ready, we descended to about 40 feet and had an amazing dive, first refreshing our skills and then doing a quick tour of the site. We even got to see an Eagle Ray, much to everyone’s thrill!

After diving, our group met up with the Open Water Students back on Argo for lunch. The schedule for post-lunch was more classroom time for the Open Water Students and a range of tasks around Argo for the rest of us who had dived in the morning, including helping to pull up an anchor, hoisting Tim onto the backstay to do some maintenance, and tying down the tarp. I got the job of anchor line maintenance with Lolo, which consisted of us spending a few hours underwater in our SCUBA gear scrubbing barnacles off the anchor line. The work was tiring but unbelievably rewarding, and I know the other groups felt the same. I can’t wait for us to continue to get more jobs around the ship as we become accustomed to living onboard!

We just finished a Mediterranean-themed dinner, and spirits are high. We’re currently getting ready to depart for another bay on Antigua tomorrow–our first voyage! Stay tuned!

Photo 1: LoLo and I doing diving maintenance Photo 2: Skipper Tim on the ropes Photo 3: Free time on the Bowsprit!