Location: Antigua

*if your child is in a photo looking unconscious, they were pretending for a rescue scenario! They are ok 🙂

Today there was a surprise election for an unexpected student-led passage. Our third student-led passage of the trip – the staff didn’t plan this one, but after the request was made, Freddie agreed. It was a lively vote, and five were elected: Beau as skipper, Elene as first mate, Audrey as navigator, Gabe D. and Will as co-engineers, and Nolan as assistant to the medic and marine biologist. If you’re confused about where we could be passaging to because you thought Antigua was our final destination, you are correct. However, we are currently anchored in Falmouth Harbour, and in two days, we’ll be moving around the corner to the dock in English Harbour. So for those thirty minutes, Argo will be entirely student-run. It’s impossible to say this in any way that isn’t incredibly mushy, but in a way, Argo is always run by our students, even when they aren’t the ones calculating fuel, making passage plans, and running operations on deck.

I say this because when we don’t have students onboard, Argo feels weirdly dormant, like she’s in hibernation. She runs on the chaos of 26 people putting six grocery carts worth of provisions away into every crevice imaginable. She runs on afternoons spent on the martingale, keeping an eye out for dolphins. She runs on willing hands, spending hours polishing, even though “we already did that spot.” On slightly delusional laughter in the cockpit when it’s 3 am, and you still have another hour of watch. On the self-restraint that it takes to wait for one person to return from the boat, check before you start eating the popcorn that the previous watch team made for you. On hours and hours of charting, all in the hopes of becoming certified masters of navigation. On the person who helps you get up the companionway just in time when seasickness gets the best of you during Oceanography. On your watch teammate who downloads hours of podcasts before the twelve-day passage. She runs on all of the small things and all of the big things that we do for each other, and she comes alive as everyone finds their own way to make her into their home. Now, I know why you all read the blog. And at this point, maybe you’re starting to wonder what we did today. And maybe if it was day 12, I could start by telling you what we had for breakfast, but not today. What I can tell you is that at some time or another, these things were happening:

On deck, under our blue floodlight, there appears to be a small cult gathering – it’s Elene, Audrey, Ellie, and Amanda huddled around a loaf of gluten-free cake.
Max plays guitar in the cockpit, learning bits of different songs we’ve all listened to on passage.
If Gabe D. was bringing any of us here to a deserted island, he would just bring himself; he loves us all so much he just can’t choose (very diplomatic).
Will comments on how finely Zoe shredded the zucchini for her zucchini bread and how nice it is.
Nick informs Freddie of his new role as master of the dinghy and that he should be the one driving Nopadone the next time we need a support dinghy.
Emma draws all of us as different species of marine life in some kind of Argo field guide.
Peter makes a comment at squeeze that causes a wave of laughter: something about harnessing twin telepathy or Nolan being like butter or tanning.
Gabe G. thinks that he and Beau could have a conversation so philosophical that they would ascend into another dimension as higher beings.
Brina swims under the bowsprit with Emma, and you can hear them laughing before you see them.
David brings Tim with him to the deserted island, hands down – a popular choice (even though Tim recently hid under a tarp because it was sprinkling).
Nat perseveres to become a professional scuba diver, even when divers like Elisabeth and Zoe try to escape from under her supervision.
MG and Katie drink their coffee together and remind us all that it is Mother’s Day.

These little things all happened, and a hundred more little things happened that I didn’t see or hear that made Argo run today. But a year from now, we probably won’t remember little details like this from a day like today. But I hope we all remember how we made Argo come alive and how well she runs with this many people onboard who truly enjoy each others’ company.

To my mom: Happy Mother’s Day!! I promise I’m just as excited to see you guys as I am to see the dog 🙂