Location: Richards Bay, South Africa

Today was our second day of split-groups, during which half of us went on safari, and the other half of us remained on Argo in Richards Bay.

I was on the vessel today, watching the students design marine protected areas in a joint marine bio/oceanography class, work on their assignments, and review for the upcoming NavMaster final exam. The PSCT class met throughout the day as well; any time I walked through the salon, I overheard discussions on revolving tropical storms, dangerous quadrants, and passing cold fronts. Around midday, we all took a break for lunch and explored the local area. Some students headed to the CBD to restaurants that are already becoming their favorites, while others returned to a popular curry house in the marina area that certainly isn’t for the faint of heart.

After lunch, I went on a grocery store expedition to purchase all of our fresh goods for the next eight or so days of the trip. While I was juggling 5kg bags of chicken legs, I heard the skies open up, and thunder start crashing. Back on Argo, our PSCT class had seen bad weather rolling in and had known it for what it was: a very intense cold front approaching (hooray for teachable moments!). Hail rained down on the parking lot outside the mall while I waited just inside its doors with three grocery carts full of food, wondering whether it was better to arrive with wet provisions or with slightly-melted Thanksgiving turkeys (four of them!). Ultimately, I decided to wait out the rain and arrived back on the boat to find a squad of students newly returned from safari, eager to help me put away all of our fresh veggies.

While we stuffed sausages into zip locks and organized our carrots, I heard all about the different animals they’d seen: hippos and alligators, close encounters with tiny chameleons, giraffes, zebras, elephants, dung beetles, and rhinos. Their stories made me all the more excited about the safari I’ll be going on tomorrow.

After a tasty dinner of chicken tandoor courtesy of head chef Cooper, we reunited for a Leadership class in the salon on technology, communities, and communication. We’re now shuffling off to bed early with visions of springbok and lions dancing through our heads.