Location: Barbados

Day 52 on Argo started with Watch Team 2 doing the 4 to 8 am shift, and cruising through the water at almost 11 knots. After a beautiful sunrise and a breakfast of oatmeal, some of us did homework in the salon, some of us did laundry on deck, and some of us went right back to bed. But by noon, we were all on deck, eagerly eating Head Chef Marissa’s lunch (pasta salad) and talking about who had been “killed” last night in our game of Assassin. At lunch, we got two pieces of good news–we’d be setting our clocks back an hour, bringing us closer to the time zones of our friends back in the States. And, if we managed to maintain our speed, we should reach Barbados by dinner.

In preparation for reaching Barbados, classes were canceled today–and replaced with Boat Appreciation! We finished inventorying the food, cleaned our bunks, organized our cubbies, scrubbed the floors and walls, and probably spent too much time organizing the library. Though we saved the on-deck BA for tomorrow, everything down below that could be cleaned was cleaned today. And as we cleaned, Tim came around with great news–now that we’ll be so close to land all of the time, we can keep the porthole window covers off. Without the window covers, all the cabins are flooded with bright light during the day, and we can watch the ocean rushing past from our own beds.

Halfway through BA shouting could be heard from up on deck–people shouting down into the companionways, “Land Hoy!” We climbed up on deck to see it, and there it was–a tiny white blob on the horizon, barely discernible in the distance. It was small and difficult to make out, but it was definitely land. Though we were still several miles away, we all became excited at the realization that we had finally reached Barbados–we had finished crossing the Atlantic Ocean.

After BA, we had on-deck showers and some free time. Most of us spent our free time up on deck, talking, laughing, seeing the lights on Barbados get closer and closer, and watching a pod of dolphins jump around the bow of the ship. Emma spent 30 minutes trying to teach Jay to Dutch braid hair, only to learn that he doesn’t know how to braid at all, and she needed to start from the beginning. Around 5 o’clock, we got the news that it was time to start preparing to anchor. With Carolyn, and later Kate, on the helm, we centerline each of the sails, and then dropped and folded them up.

Though centerline and lowering each sail seems like nothing to us now, it really is an impressive feat. Fifty-two days ago, most of us had never worked on a boat, and some of us had never even been on a boat. Fifty-two days ago, we could not tell a halyard from a sheet, or a topping lift from a preventer. But in less than two months, we have become seasoned sailors, spending hours at the helm, braving squalls and territorial birds, and figuring out our way across the ocean. It is a testament, first of all, to our wonderful staff, who have patiently taught us literally everything we know, and also a testament to our own eagerness to learn and grow as a crew.

Once we had dropped our sails and were close enough to land to anchor, dinner was served. Dinner, courtesy of Head Chef Marissa and Sous Chefs Will and Brittany, was a stir fry, followed by right-side-up pineapple cake. Dinner had a surprise guest–a huge yacht named Spectre, who pulled up right alongside Argo–and was followed by a Squeeze prompt of “tell us an embarrassing story.” Our laughter could probably be heard from inside Spectre as people told stories of wetting the bed, losing their clothes, and ruining weddings.

Like always, dinner was followed by clean up, and laughter and loud voices could be heard anywhere on Argo. Tonight, some of us will fall asleep in hammocks, and some of us will fall asleep staring out portholes, but all of us will be thinking about the lights on Barbados and the adventures that await us tomorrow.