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Location: Underway to Mauritius

Our time anchored off Direction Island, Cocos Keeling, has been absolutely magical. We’ve explored deserted islands with historical links to World War II, flipped burger patties on a grill in the middle of paradise, and sunned ourselves on white beaches with sand so soft and fine it felt like powder. We’ve swum every afternoon with the blacktip reef sharks that hover under our boat. We’ve snorkeled with schools of twenty giant mantas that stuck around for ages to let us, free dive with them. We’ve splashed around with playful dolphins and turtles so large they look like dinosaurs. We’ve gone diving on pristine reefs with grey and white tip sharks. We’ve hunted for tiny nudibranchs hidden amongst the corals. We’ve jumped in the water day after day, always surprised and amazed by the bounty of life this little slice of paradise has to offer. If it were up to us, we’d spend weeks more here: lazily swinging in hammocks, cracking open coconuts, working on our papers while surrounded by the most incredible natural beauty any of us have ever witnessed.

Yet all good things must come to an end, and so, too, must our time at Coco’s. Today we’re readying Argo for passage to Mauritius, the longest trip we’ve yet to sail. We expect the passage to take somewhere between 14 and 15 days — a long haul for which we’re both excited and nervous.

We’re looking forward to testing our sailing skills and seeing what the Indian Ocean has in store for us.

Today started off with a tasty breakfast of oatmeal, cereal, and granola. We rolled into cleanup and passage prep, interspersed with some government paperwork (when isn’t their government paperwork to fill out?). After clearing out of Australia and getting Argo ready to roll, we lifted anchor and raised sails and set a course for Africa. Throughout the afternoon, we held classes and deck showers, and students used their free time to study for the upcoming Oceanography midterm exam. By evening we enjoyed a delicious pork roast cooked by head chef Cooper and his team. The stars came out for the first evening watch, bright and brilliant, and blanketing the sky in an epic show unmatched by anything we’ve ever seen back home. The watches rolled on, then: we spit into our new teams, made our cups of coffee and tea, busted out our precious midnight snack stores, and headed for the open sea once more.

We hope our friends and family back home are enjoying the changing weather just as much as we will when we strike a southwestern course across the Indian. Keep your fingers crossed for fair winds and following seas, and we’ll see you on the other side!

(Hi Mom and Dad — I love you!)