Ive honestly been avoiding writing this blog post. Not because I dont enjoy writing, but because Ive been scared to let myself fully open up and reflect on the end of my time aboard Argo. Ive mostly been keeping myself busy- cleaning, going through emails, applying to boat jobs like ActionQuest, unpacking, talking to SeaMester friends, going for walks, and binge-watching Below Deck. In the midst of all this, Ive been running from the feeling that I have right now- loss. Argo is not just a boat, she is the place I called home for 67 days. She is our classroom, our mentor, our challenger, our friend, a place of vulnerability, a secret keeper, a source of joy. We all knew we would have to say goodbye eventually, but we imagined having time to do this properly over the final week or so, knowing it was the end. We didnt quite get to have this closure, as my final 24 hours aboard consisted of finding out that those were going to be my final 24 hours, frantically looking for flights online, stuffing my belongings back into my duffle bags, waking up for my last anchor watch, and a final morning sunrise swim. One thing I will always remember from that last day was not how sad I was or how much everyone was crying, but how much we laughed. We cried so hard until we laughed, then laughed till we cried again with smiles on our faces. The perfect example of this was Missy and Sylvia falling overboard after saying their goodbyes on deck while getting in the dinghy.
Ive been home for almost five days now. Its been quiet, as my family is currently in another state during this quarantine period. I dont think Ive ever been completely alone for more than a day, so this feels quite strange especially after being surrounded by 28 others literally every minute of the day on Argo. Ive been trying to fill my time with checklists to keep myself sane, but it will never compare to the job wheel. Cooking for myself is nowhere near as fun as cooking in the galley with sous-chefs by my side. Going to sleep alone without talking to anyone in the focsle bunks is lonely. I get hit by pangs of emotion over the most random things during the day- I want Emma to dutch braid my hair, I want to dance listening to Shanes speaker, I want a rapid-fire from Allie, a hug from Missie, a bow watch with Lily, a quote from Jay, an investigation with Smash. I want nothing more than to finish my Yacht-Master captains license, but only if Tim is teaching it. If only there was one more listen to Drop in the Ocean with Elle. One more count-off with everyone in the cockpit.
Its easy to get caught up in all of those what-ifs and we never got tos, but its also important to keep each other positive during this time of transition. Im lucky to be in a small, quiet island town in southeast Alaska, where I am surrounded by water and open spaces that we are still allowed to adventure in. I also feel lucky that weve made such an effort to stay in touch with each other. Im not sure if this is because we arent quite ready to open up to our land friends and family yet, or because we couldnt survive any other way, or maybe just because were home all day with nothing else to do. I think its a combination of those.
Family and friends of Argo students: thank you for supporting us through this amazing experience we had. Thank you for following along, even now as we write these posts from different corners of the world. As this time of uncertainty is difficult for everyone, I hope you are staying healthy and finding ways to stay positive. I just ask that you remain patient with those of us who returned home. You might be waiting for us to perk up or go back to our old selves, hoping that we seem normal again after this quarantine. As youve read on the blogs before, Argo is a life-changing experience. This in itself means that we might never go back to our old self, to how you remember us at Christmas break or over the summer. I hope you can give your student time to mourn the sudden end of our program, as it came as such a shock. I hope you can be understanding as we begin to process what it means to be a landlubber again. I hope we come out of this experience changed but in the best way possible. This is a scary and unprecedented time for the world, but I feel much more at ease knowing that I continue to go through it with the support of my Argo family, even from a distance.
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