Location: Gorda Sound, Virgin Gorda, BVI

Agro is currently anchored in Gorda Sound in the British Virgin Island of Virgin Gorda, surrounded by mildly arid, hilly islands. Several hundred meters to the north lay Mosquito Island, one of Sir Richard Branson’s islands off the coast of Virgin Gorda. We had to respectfully decline Sir Branson’s invitation to lunch and jet skiing on Mosquito Island, as we had a busy day onboard Argo.

Today was the first day of “school.” Thankfully, our commute to class was not too bad, though the traffic around the companionway was tough at times. In Amanda’s Oceanography class, we took seawater samples to examine the salinity, nitrate levels, temperature, and pH, as well as looking at some of the smallest and most important creatures in the sea; Zooplankton and Phytoplankton. Amy’s Marine Biology lecture focused on mangroves and their role in the ecosystem (highly underrated!).

To get a better understanding of what mangroves were and how the thick shoreline plant supported marine organisms, we had to look no further than our trusty inflatable dinghies, which we took to the shore for a snorkel lab session. I can say with complete confidence that I have never seen more excitement about a lab as I saw today. We snorkeled around the mangroves and found an endless supply of entertainment, observing more different types of fish, coral, and marine plants. A small pufferfish and a shrimp that bore a striking resemblance to the shrimp in Finding Nemo were the highlights of the afternoon.

We finished the day with a meal from our resident Michelin-rated chef, big Tim. I heard rumors that he’s due for another star soon but again, that’s just what I hear. We are about to reconvene for an evening Oceanography lecture to round out a day full of science (insert double thumbs up here!). Tomorrow we will finally raise some cloth and get some sailing in. We’re all excited to see what this lean, mean, 112ft of pure steel and speed is capable of.

To all at home, enjoy the freezing temperatures. It’s gnarly enough down here; 77F and sunny (with a few clouds) every day. Tough, I know.

Best of luck,

Pictured: Tim, Amy, and Steph retrieving some science gear from the bilge; lab time investigating phytoplankton using the compound microscope; feather duster worm, brain coral, and barracuda found in the mangroves; pitching in to help raise the dinghies onto the deck for the night; Bianca, Sam, Kai, London, Alex, Alexa, and Peter ready for oceanography class to start.