Location: Colón, Panama

Our first full day in Panama started off a tad bit late due to my own late wake-up, which for everyone at home who knows me, is not a surprise. Regardless we got off to a great start with our first nonoatmeal breakfast in a full week consisting of an entire mountain of pancakes made by our head chef of the day, Tim. Right after breakfast, I and a few lucky souls got to take part in the last step of Argo’s post passage boat appreciation by sweeping and scrubbing all of the floors of the boat Cinderella-style. This was both a satisfying and sweaty experience and left Argo looking beautiful and squeaky clean. Our morning kept rolling on with a marine biology study session with Amanda for the student’s first big science exam of the trip. While the students were in class, the rest of the staff got busy learning anything and everything about our upcoming transit through the Panama Canal later in the week in order to relay all of the information to the rest of the crew.

We all then got back together for our delicious curry lunch, which was followed by one of my favorite things, getting to teach oceanography! Today the students learned about how different forms of energy are transmitted through the ocean and the effects and uses they can have. They also participated in a ‘water Olympics that had different experiments relating to the properties of seawater and freshwater, after having learned about them last week. After oceanography class, we moved into canal prep by teaching the students various line handling techniques we will be using this weekend. With Elle and Lolo, all of the students perfected their sheet bend and bowline knots on our extra big and extra-long `’Panama Lines’ that we use exclusively when going through the canal. Then it was on to heaving lines with Gabe and me. These lines are what we use to get our Panama Lines to the line handlers on the top of each of the locks within the canal, so they are quite important. We practiced how to coil them properly, where to hold the monkey’s fist on the end, and how to throw them efficiently and extremely far. Our goal was a tree a good distance off our port stern, which Ezra was impressively able to hit not just once, but two times!

After some shower and study time, we all reconvened for a lovely roast dinner that reminded many of us of home. For squeeze tonight, I asked what everyone wanted to be when they grow up. While I think that you never really have to grow up, the responses were fun and insightful. They ranged from Mafia boss and NOAA marine scientist to oncology surgeon and child advocacy lawyer. Following dinner, after singing the soundtrack all throughout the passage, the students are having a Mamma Mia movie night in the salon together. (I know it was mentioned in last night’s blog, but everyone decided they were too tired, and thus it got postponed to tonight.)

Picture !: Tim speedily mixing the pancake mix with a whisk attached to a drill
Picture 2: Floor scrubbing squad
Picture 3: Felipe tying a sheet bend in the Panama lines
Picture 4: Natalie practicing throwing heaving lines
Picture 5: Proud display of a perfect bowline
Picture 6: Frankie with her successful double sheet bend
Picture 7: Sunset off the stern
Picture 8: Group galley hugs before Mamma Mia