Location: Tahiti, Society Islands

Today dawned bright and beautiful and bittersweet, for we knew it was our last full day all together aboard Argo in this beautiful place. After a quick breakfast, we got right back to work finishing our boat appreciation projects. Today was all about inventorying food and mostly PACKING. It’s incredible what gets squirreled away in bunks and cubbies after three months. People found chargers they thought they had lost, snacks they thought were long finished, and various other items. As students were packing up their dive gear, clothes, electronics, etc., they were also cleaning every inch of their cabin space in preparation for a new group in the summertime. They took a lot of care to get things back to the order and cleanliness that they found when they arrived 89 days ago. A few other projects we completed today was counting and organizing all the cans and bottles that live under the student bunks. Most students do not realize it when they first arrive, but under their bunks hide the secrets to many meals aboard Argo. Another fun little project was getting the Fisherman, jib, and flying jib sails out from where we stashed them in the salon, re-flake them to be extra lovely and neat and store them in more permanent homes for the interim. This is no small undertaking because these sails are stiff and heavy folding them properly and then moving them is a team effort.

We finished the last of the boat appreciation projects a little while after lunch, and we then tackled completing our cards that we are writing to each other to express thoughts, jokes, and memories from the trip. These cards take up a lot of time, but they are exceptional. I’ve heard stories of former staff and students keeping these cards for years to come, and going back to look at them whenever they need some warm fuzzies. Pens were flying, and cards were being distributed as students and staff alike finished them up and prepared for our final night out. The last night of the trip is typically a sign out night all together as a big group. This time we went to a restaurant within a few minutes’ walks of Argo. We were all dolled up in our Sunday best for our final hoorah. Ivan even had a cute, pressed outfit that he had been saving in a clothing bag especially for this last night. It felt so good to shed our sweaty work clothes, enjoy the marina showers, and look a little fancy for once. We dined on appetizers, pizza, poisson cru (a traditional ceviche style meal with raw tuna and coconut milk, super tasty!), cocktails, and desserts.

We had so much fun at dinner, and the festivities continued when we arrived back on Argo. Many people hung out in the salon and on deck chatting and enjoying final moments together. Guitars were brought out, lots of laughter was heard, and Argo was full of people and energy for one last night.

Pictured: Sunrise before our final full day; Bryant attempting to move the massive sails out of the salon to be reflaked and stowed; all the giant duffel bags that were stored in the salon after getting packed up; our full group onboard just before our final dinner.