Location: Toopua, Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Morning today saw Argo pulling into her anchorage just across from the Hilton in Bora Bora. We struck the sails as the island came into view and then hung our heads over the side, marveling at the clearest turquoise waters most of us had ever seen. An exciting half-hour followed as Jim and Sam navigated Argo through a narrow channel into the bay. The bottom was easily visible, with coral heads passing just a few feet under the keel at times. Once the anchor was safely down, we accomplished our first deck wash, scrubbing, spraying, waxing, and polishing Argo to a glistening shine. After a tasty lunch of pesto grilled cheese whipped up by Alex, Mina, and Jim, we learned all about coral in marine biology. Professor Carolyn is getting us ready for our fast-approaching reef dives! After class, the group split up to either watch another open water diver video or snorkel over some nearby coral patches. Once the video was over, the open water kids got to go check out the snorkeling site, and then it was showering, studying, and relaxing on deck until dinner. Sam even taught the first group of us (myself included) how to drive the dinghy! After plenty of wrong turns and several missed docking attempts as everyone got used to steering with a tiller, the first six of us were checked out to drive Smoke, the “people mover” dinghy. Our chefs prepared another amazing dinner of chicken pot pie, and the question of the evening was, “If you became stranded on a deserted island, but you could choose one book/movie and one sandwich to bring with you, what would they be?” By the time everyone got done describing their favorite sandwiches, we were all dying to eat. After dinner, we sang Ben a rousing chorus of “Happy Birthday, ate some phenomenal yellow cake with chocolate sauce, and then hunkered down as Jim conducted an interesting forum. He talked about success and strategies for accomplishing both tangible and intangible personal goals, leaving us all to ponder our own personal aspirations. It seems like we’re able to pack more and more into each day we’re out here, and while it is exhausting, every single one of us loves every minute.