Location: Cairns, Australia

It was another busy and successful day on Argo. This morning we tackled messy cleaning projects. We washed, we scrubbed, and we laughed through an incredible amount of jobs. It is amazing how much work 24 shipmates can accomplish in a few hours of focused and intense effort. Things happen easily these days. The crew is a strong team – supporting and encouraging each other always. I am very grateful for the students hard work and attention to detail today. Argo was handed to me in an immaculate condition, and after her faithful service to us, I am determined to hand her back over in the best state possible.

In Fiji, a few students pushed their depth limits when diving, so I decided some ‘reflection time’ was necessary. In the South Pacific, help is a very long way away, and I was determined that everyone would make it to Australia safely. This reflection for a few unnamed students involved cleaning the galley sink drains and tank. A smelly two-man job takes roughly an hour, involves sponges and buckets. Needless to say, for the rest of the trip, we never had anyone misread their depth gauge again. It made me laugh today overhearing their disbelief once they realized the power of the shop-vac that has been hidden away all through the voyage.

After a well-deserved shore shower in the luxury facilities, the students headed to Cairns city for lunch, and another explore. From what I heard, the re-integration into normal society seems to be going well for most. Some returned to the refuge of Argo early. Perhaps it is being overwhelmed by the crowds, traffic, and bustle of the city after so long at sea. We will try again tomorrow with a nature tour.

After dinner, we watched an end of semester video together. The video highlighted the extraordinary journey that we have been on together. There have been challenges along the way, but looking back on it, there is a huge sense of accomplishment for everyone. The places we have been privileged to visit, the cultures, the mind-blowing nature, and the relationships we have made through our shared experiences. Tonight we are taking time to reflect on what each individual has brought to this crew and are writing short letters to express our gratitude.

Picture 1. I look forward to a good sit down and a well-deserved cup of tea like in this picture from Fiji
Picture 2. Zoe taking her Justin Bieber posters off the wall.
Picture 3. Just like old Mother Hubbard, Margaret found that the cupboard was bare. I don’t remember exactly how the nursery rhyme goes, but Margaret seems very happy about this.
Picture 4. Very good at cleaning and camouflage. I count 11 busy people in this picture if you look hard enough.