Location: Underway to Panama

Hello from the open ocean! Today is the first real day of our trip, where we have spent the entire day out of visible sight of land!

The morning started at different times for our crew, depending on their watch team as teams were sailing through the night. I was woken up by Sam at 7:30 AM and promptly made myself a bowl of “boatmeal” before putting on my PFD and heading on deck–my watch team was on the 8 am-12 pm shift. I was promptly greeted by Watch Team 2, who had a shocking amount of energy for a group whose day started at 4 am. I suspect this energy was fueled by a large amount of coffee and Pringles (watch staples), but regardless their spirit fired up my watch team to start our shift. After watch and some surprise pre-lunch dolphins, the whole crew gathered for a delicious lunch consisting of spinach and artichoke heart squares cooked by Elie, which has certainly set the bar high for head chefs who are also due to cooking on this passage–and as a result, Ezra and I have both begun preemptively apologizing for our meals this coming week.

After lunch, the crew braved the rocking and rolling that is being below deck for our two scheduled classes of the day. We first had Oceanography, where we took a quiz on marine sediments and plate tectonics. Following that, we were scheduled to have Leadership. As the class was due to start, in walked our beloved captain Tim (who doubles as the Leadership instructor). Tim asked us all to put on our PFDs with a sly grin. Nervous looks were exchanged among the crew–what did Tim have in store for us? The consensus was some type of emergency drill.

What Tim had in store for us was very far from an emergency drill. Rather, he announced to us that we would be breaking into watch teams and competing in the annual Argo Egg Drop, a competitive equivalent to what you would get if you crossed the Super Bowl with Top Chef. Each watch team was given an egg and a budget they could use to purchase a combination of two materials: uncooked spaghetti and electrical tape. The objective? Use the purchased materials to insulate the egg from cracking when dropped from a 1-meter height. To make things a little bit more difficult, each team only had fifteen minutes to build their egg-saving contraption. Tim allotted materials to each watch team based on how they decided to spend their budget and started the timer.

The fifteen minutes that followed were a whirlwind of activity, but when the timer hit 0:00, each of the three watch teams had created their egg saver. Crewmates eyed their rivals’ contraptions as we all went on deck for the drop tests, eager to see how their team was stacking up. The early frontrunner was Watch Team 1, who had built an elaborate pyramid-shaped design that would make the Death Star jealous in its complexity. Not far behind was Watch Team 2, who opted to pad the egg with square walls of spaghetti on every side. Both designs looked certain to withstand being dropped from colossal heights.

Then there was the third team…Watch Team 3 (who is also my watch team). We had decided to spend nearly our entire budget on electrical tape and only purchased 5(!) lone pieces of spaghetti. The resulting contraption was an ugly tape ball with little pieces of spaghetti poking out of it at odd angles. You could easily have mistaken it for a nightmare piece of compost. My team named her Jennifer, and although we loved her, we were certain (along with the entire rest of the crew) that we had made a critical design error and were going to finish well in last place.

Tim announced that it was time for the egg drop to begin. The first drop would begin at the height of 1 meter. Watch Team 1 went first, and to nobody’s surprise, their contraption shook off the drop like it was nothing. The same happened for Watch Team 2. Then it was our turn. To our complete shock, Jennifer bounced off the deck like a rubber ball, and the egg was saved! We were elated until Tim announced that we would now be dropping the eggs from 2 meters. Jennifer’s Cinderella run was certainly over. But then Watch Team 1 and 2’s seemingly impenetrable egg fortresses shattered at the 2-meter drop. Could the stars be aligning? My whole team held their breath as Tim readied to drop Jennifer. She landed with an ugly sound, yet when Tim went to inspect her, the egg survived! Watch Team 3 had pulled off one of the greatest upsets ever.

Following the egg drop, we had an awesome chicken chili dinner and are currently readying watch teams for the night. It’ll be another adventure-filled day tomorrow!

Current position: 1307.30 N x 6456.94 W

1. Watch Team 3 building Jennifer in the Salon
2. A closer look at Watch Team 1 and 2’s designs
3. Tim readying to drop one of the contraptions