Location: Port Louis, Mauritius
Today is the day, one many of us have been looking forward to, counting the days down, another full rotation of the wheel, Guy Fawkes Day, and MARGARET’S BIRTHDAY. This morning, we did a bit of a lie-in (when you say it fast, it sounds like a lion). So, at the ripe hour of 8 a.m., I found a charged speaker and queued up an all-time favorite, “Happy Birthday” by Stevie Wonder. Finn and I danced between the 3-stacks until the happy birthday line dropped (at which point everyone was sufficiently awake). We have reached the point in the trip where everyone is more excitable, so Stevie Wonder booming in the speakers is a welcome sound rather than a thing to get angry at. The students had some free time ashore after breakfast, where they went shopping, found WiFi for college things, and explored the island, looking for the extinct Dodo bird. Meanwhile, the staff got to do everything from bleaching the head hoses, cleaning out the sea chests, cleaning out bilges, and repairing sails.
It is always a nice feeling to step foot on land after a while of being on the open ocean, and it gives you more of an accomplished feeling than just landing in a new place on a plane. Knowing we stayed awake at all hours of the night, physically helming the boat towards Mauritius, and 14 days of only waves, birds, fish, and the occasional large mammal is not a sight everyone gets to see. Going 2475 nautical miles and sailing over half of them and sitting under a blanket of stars and watching every sunrise and sunset. We kept our eyes peeled for the 17 boats we saw before we could see land. All these small things may not seem like something outlandish and crazy (well, maybe to some), but to us, it is our life for those 336 hours where we can forget about it all for a bit. We forget about our worries about our normal lives and replace them with yelling at the drier for sending down wet dishes, forgetting to write down the generator temperature, or telling the bosun they are spraying into the cabins. These little things turn into the really big thing. That everyone leaves speaking a new language. Everyone comes back with a little more confidence. With more certifications. With more friends from all over the place. We form this tight-knit group that will have these memories, good and/or bad, always in the back of their mind, never quite able to recreate them or explain them fully to those who don’t experience them. I am still here writing blogs, leading deck operations, and watching those flying fish sail over the ocean, so from a student who sailed Argo in 2013, I can tell you that it won’t be getting old soon.