Location: Underway to Gibraltar

The blog today is going to start just before midnight with watch team two waking up for watch. This isn’t just any normal watch change, though. We decided to add a little bit of the watch team two weirdness and show it off to watch team one. To do this, before going up on deck, we all got in our Gumby suits. For everyone who doesn’t know what a Gumby suit is, it’s an immersion suit used to keep the body warm in the event we need to submerge and abandon ship. Ours are also bright red and designed in a way that is reminiscent of the red astronaut from among us. To put it simply, they are incredibly unwieldy to put on and wear while also looking absolutely ridiculous. This also means that watch team one was caught off guard when five gumby suit-wearing watch team two members descended on them near the stroke of midnight and challenged them to an impromptu dance battle. A battle in which watch team two handily won, and the opening shot of what will erupt into an inter-watch team prank war to finish the passage.

That night wasn’t just full of pranks though; it was also one of the nicest skies we’ve had all semester. The sky was littered with stars peppering its inky black surface. The moon was also covered by clouds most of the night, which allowed even the furthest and smallest of stars to be seen by the watch teams. This was especially true when all the lights on the boat were switched off just after 3 am, which eliminated literally every source of light pollution for over a hundred miles all around. Along with the volume of stars in the night sky, the milky way also lined up nicely with the wake of our boat and the bioluminescence created by the impact of Argo gliding through the water. It was as if we had a trail of stars following us from the Azores through the Eastern Atlantic Ocean. Words, however, don’t do it justice, and you’ll just have to take my word for it. Watch team three even take a few minutes to lay on midships and watch the galaxies overhead.

As the first of the sun’s rays broke through the horizon and overshadowed the faraway stars in the night sky, the day truly began, though. And with the beginning of every day also comes the exciting game of FORB, aka full orb. Although it’s definitely been explained before, here’s a refresher course. It’s a competition for the 4 to 8 am watch to see who can guess the closest minute to when the sun becomes a full orb in the sky. In this case, it was watch team three who had the 4 to 8 watch, and Charlies won by guessing the forb down to the exact minute when it appeared. To my knowledge, this hasn’t happened yet all semester.

Today was more than just about the stars in the sky, though. It was also, and maybe more importantly, the day of our Emergency First Responder (ERF) exam. The ERF exam helps someone be a certified first responder and is divided into two parts: a written exam and a practical test. The written exam started right after lunch as everyone was herded into the salon, and sheets of paper were handed out. It was a 35-question exam, and I believe | passed, but we won’t know for certain for a few days. The test was on the specific terminology required to be an ERF, along with questions on what to do in specific situations.

The practical exam took place just afterward and was a different beast altogether. We were called up in groups of four (Maria Fe, Celia, Sammy, and I; Santana, Maria B, Charles, and Maya; Cate, Alex, Will, and Lily) and told to perform a random primary and/ or secondary injury assessment and treatment on Calum, Claire, and Phoebe. My group got called up first, and when we went for our first attempt on the practical exam, we failed miserably. We took too long to get to the scene, took too long to call EMS, and didn’t give our charges the care they should have received. The other groups didn’t do much better on their first attempts either. By word of mouth, I’ve heard that most first attempts were full of general senses of panic, along with a few steps being missed or misused at least once per group. The second attempt, however, allowed a few of the groups to pass. Under the stellar leadership of master lifeguard Cate and the flawless teamwork of Santana, Maria B, Charles, and Maya, both groups managed to pass. My group, unfortunately, did not pass. We forgot to ask questions about Claire, who was undergoing an allergic reaction (to blue blankets as she wore one) and had a few other minor failures that resulted in at least one of our charges ‘dying’ before emergency medical services could come. We will, however, have another attempt at passing this test tomorrow, and I am hopeful.

After a stressful afternoon of treating imaginary patients, everyone on the ship was more than ready for dinner. And what a dinner it was. We had pad thai made by Sammy, Cate, and Santana, but with a twist. The twist in question was that they had a nonsensical amount of noodles and attempted to put them all in one pot which resulted in a new piece of Argo lore: The Legend of the Infinitely Expanding Noodles. The pot overflowed full of delicious noodles at a rate that the chefs couldn’t even scrape the overflowing carbs into other bowls fast enough.

Along with being of an unimaginable size, these noodles were also delicious. We do, however, have enough leftovers right now to last us until Gibraltar, even if no more food is cooked. After dinner came the squeeze question, which I believe was a pretty good one. It’s ‘What would you do during the purge?’ We received a variety of answers, with an especially interesting one from Alex.

To wind down the night, everyone filed into the salon once again, but this time for something fun. We watched the movie ‘Maiden’. It’s about the first all-women’s sailing team to circumnavigate the globe. And they didn’t just circumnavigate the globe. They won the race to circumnavigate the globe that year. It was an incredibly inspiring movie about overcoming adversity and discrimination with the indomitable human spirit.

But wait, there’s more! After hours doesn’t mean nothing gets done. Will, Celia, and Tim were working out for hours on the deck after the movie. The lack of clear skies and sun didn’t slow them down as they honed themselves deep into the night. While this was happening, watch team 2 was having a secondary watch team Christmas, this time white elephant style. At the end of the gift exchange, everyone was very satisfied, and we got introduced to a new superhero of Santana’s design: the orange man. He has all the powers of an orange with a dried peach cape. Truly a formidable hero. He now watches over our ship and is granting us safe passage to Gibraltar and beyond!

Speaking of Gibraltar, we should arrive either on the night of the 31st or the morning of the first. See you all then!