Location: Underway to the Galapagos

Today dawned bright and early for my watch team, as we were on the 0400-0800 shift. This is one of my favorite watch shifts because we get to enjoy the sunrise as well as have a tasty breakfast of oatmeal while it’s still quiet and peaceful onboard. Except for the 8 of us on our team, most everyone is asleep except for the birds and the dolphins. This morning we had great conversations and played games to entertain each other during our shift. Once the sun came up, we could see that there were two booby birds perched wayyyy up on the triadic, which is the large cable in Argo’s rigging that connects the main mast to the foremast. No one knows how long they had been there, but they must have arrived overnight because they had “decorated” the deck quite a bit by first light. Throughout the day we had between 1 and three boobies hanging out in our rigging, hitching a ride on our way to the Galapagos Islands. Other wildlife sightings today included spinner dolphins, a couple jumping marlins, and a mystery whale that a few people caught a quick glimpse of. (In case it hasn’t been mentioned in the blog from the last day or two, we have also had sightings of jumping Mahi, as well as huge hammerhead sharks swimming at the surface, close enough that we can clearly see their dorsal and tail fins. SO COOL!!).

After a lunch of chicken stir-fry by Drake and his sous chefs, Alex and Eliza, we had our afternoon classes. First, the students had a Seamanship class with Meg and Tim. They learned about global maritime distress and safety systems, including radar, radio, and satellites. Soon the students will complete their exam to be certified in the procedures and regulations for using a VHF radio. Next, the students had Oceanography with me. We did the first lecture in our physical oceanography unit, and we learned about global winds and atmospheric circulation. After classes, a few students continued working on their group research projects for oceanography or their literature review projects. Deck showers were had in order to clean up and cool off in this hot weather we have been having. We are approaching the doldrums, and though we enjoy the calm, peaceful waters, it has been fairly still and thus very hot and humid.

We then had a tasty dinner of baked potato soup and homemade rolls by the wonderful chef team. I heard at least 2 students compare the rolls and the honey butter to Texas Road House; needless to say, we are going to sleep with happy tummies tonight. For squeeze tonight, my question was “What is your favorite job on the job wheel, and why?” Answers ranged from cleaning dishes in the dishy pit to being in the gopher hole, to cooking meals like a chef. It surprised me that a number of people also said that headmaster is their favorite job. They said the satisfaction of getting the heads nice and clean combined with the opportunity to take a shower once they are done puts that one at the top of the list. Amid squeeze, several of us (including myself) were “decorated” by one of the boobies that had moved onto the starboard spreader. It’s supposed to be good luck, right?! Now clean up is wrapping up and 2 of the 3 watch teams are off to bed. We can sleep soundly through the night knowing that our trusted friends are standing watch at all hours. As we approach the equator, the Galapagos islands, and the halfway mark in our trip (can you believe it’s already day 43?), excitement is rising onboard Argo. We look forward to all the new adventures to come!

Pictured: One of the boobies perched way up in Argo’s rigging; gorgeous sky and sea this afternoon; London, Alexis, Jack, Sam, and Ivan having a Watch Team One dance party at the end of our watch right before dinner.

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