Location: St. Helena

Like most mornings “on land,” this morning started with breakfast at 7:30. We awoke to a pan of delicious zucchini bread with fruit and yogurt. While most of us mindlessly started eating (and honestly still struggling to be functional human beings for the day), Rob casually remarked, “Hey Brit, there’s a shark behind you!” and believe it or not, just off the starboard side there was a Whale Shark. We could see its entire body gliding (what seemed to be) just under the surface of the water. The Remora fish attached to its tail was crystal clear, and in an instant, every one of us was more awake than ever. Unlike yesterday, we were now anchored and had the opportunity to jump in the water. If we were awed by our welcome to St. Helena just the afternoon before, this was simply unreal. We threw open the laz, rummaged through our dive gear, slipped on our bathing suits, and in we went. The first group had their GoPros ready and recorded themselves swimming with the largest fish in the sea. By the time I jumped in, the Whale Shark had circled around Argo and looked as though it was going to come up to the surface to feed. The sight was breathtaking. I’m sure if we could have, we would have swum with this Whale Shark all day.

Yet as I’m sure our “new friend” had things to do and places to go, we parted ways and carried on with our day. The shipmates participated in Marine Biology and their Nautical Science courses before heading into the immigration office in town. At some point in the day, we all filled out our forms, had our passports checked, and got our St. Helena stamps. The shipmates had a few hours to explore Jamestown, the main town on the island. Walking down the cobbled streets and seeing the style of buildings is reminiscent of parts of England. According to Smudge, everything from the trashcans on the street to the cars reminds him of home. Some of us climbed “Jacob’s Ladder,”; a 699 step staircase that takes you up to the top of a cliff. Others ate at the local “Oriental” Restaurant, while some enjoyed ice cream (a definite luxury that cannot be had while underway).

By 1500 (or 3:00 pm), most everyone was back aboard Argo finishing up boat appreciation (BA) tasks we weren’t able to finish yesterday. We polished, waxed, scrubbed, and cleaned Argo as a way of both maintaining her beauty and thanking her for bringing us safe passage across the Atlantic Ocean thus far. “Showers” were all about jumping off of Argo to rinse, getting soapy, and then jumping into the ocean to rinse again. Unfortunately, we didn’t see any Whale Sharks around dinner, but we did see a pod of dolphins in the distance.

Today was likely one of the most unreal days of my life. I never imagined that I could visit a place like St. Helena. I never imagined that I would see a school of Whale Sharks, let alone have the chance to swim with them. Yet here we all are. Doing things we never dreamed we could do. Life does not suck. Thanks to those who are reading for your continued support and love. We all feel it here, and we all wish you could experience this crazy world with us.