Location: Underway to Fiji
After clear skies and lots of sunlight for the past 3 weeks, we’ve had a little bit of a change in pace as the radar has been lighting up with red blobs recently. The rain started during the 4 – 8 am watch this morning when watch team 3 apparently had the hardest rain that we have experienced yet. Getting poured on while sitting a 4-hour watch before the sun has come upon a Wednesday morning may not seem like the most appealing thing to your average person, but these Argonauts loved it – there may have even been a rain dance or two. The patchy squalls continued through the morning as watch team one sat the 8 am till noon one – usually the hottest and sunniest. Today, most of them didn’t even put on a rain jacket because the cool weather and showers were a nice temperature change. There was even one part of the morning where the sky right above Argo had slightly cleared, but there were walls of rain all around her. It was beautiful.
For those of us who weren’t on watch this morning, it was grind-time. As you may know, the rest of the passage is going to be quite a busy 10/11 days. Today, we had our third Marine Biology exam, tomorrow we have an Oceanography quiz, and on Sunday, we have our big NavMaster exam. There have been charts, Bretton Plotters, and dividers littered all over the salon as we try to master dead reckonings, running fixes, compass errors, and everything else that Elle and Lolo have been teaching us over the last month. This exam is pretty daunting, so all of us have been pretty dialed into that in any free moment that we’ve had. After this, focus for a lot of us is going to be switched to something called a student-led passage. Tim announced the other day that for the last 36 – 48 hours, students are going to be making all (or most) of the calls on Argo. During leadership class, whoever decides to run will make a pitch for one of the four positions. It is between chief mate, navigator, engineer, and skipper. Chief mate will be a student who is running the show on deck – making sure that we are on course, the sails are happy when to raise and drop sails, and more. The navigator will help to navigate us through the notoriously reefy areas around Fiji. The engineer will spend a lot of time in the engine room making sure that everything is happening as it should and to be turning on and off all of the machines accordingly. Skipper seems to be the most attractive role as there is a large number of students running for this one. For this, we essentially work alongside the captain on all things Argo. We collaborate with the engineer, first mate, and navigator to make sure that everything is going smoothly and according to plan. There are even rumors of the student skipper docking Argo in Fiji if the conditions are right. Anyways, the rest of the passage is going to fly by in a heartbeat.
After another great lunch by Trevor (chocolate chip pancakes, of course), we sat our second to last Marine Biology exam before having a couple of free hours before dinner time. The forward-most cabin of the boat – the fo’c’sle has become a hub for social hangouts during times like these. Una, Nat, Elie, Bella, and I hung out there and talked about the movie “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” because it officially the best movie of all time – you all have to watch it. We always have passersby’s who poke their heads in on the way in and out of the heads, which are always super fun. Today, our visitors were Riley, Nick, Marina, Gill, Izzy, Louis, and Felipe. One of our favorite things to do is lie in our beds, look up through the hatches, and list off everything that we are appreciative of. It sounds cheesy, but with the passage quickly approaching the end, it’s a great way to take everything in as it comes.
Right after dinner, the biggest squall of the program began to come through. As the lightning started getting closer and closer, the 27 crew members worked like a well-oiled engine to get everything centerline and secured. As we were taking in on preventers and sweating sheets, the dark sky was becoming completely lit up with the flashes of lightning. We were all sitting there in awe of how cool the moment was. We were watching the lightning strike and counting the seconds between that and the thunder to try and decipher how far away it was. Definitely, a night on Argo to remember.
We’ll be in contact with you all shortly with so many more stories to tell 🙂
P.S. Mum, dad, Derek, and Andrew: These little squalls are making me miss sitting on the porch watching the lightning with you guys. I can’t wait to talk to you soon
Current position: 1038.2135’S x 15123.7640’W
If you haven’t yet put everyone’s face to a name, here’s one final opportunity! (all left to right)
Watch team 1 (chart house)
Top: Lewis, Trevor
Middle: Lolo, Nat, Marina, Renee, Bella
Watch team 2 (cockpit)
Top: Nick, Steph, Gill, Sam, Una
Bottom: Ezra, Elle, Riley, Elie
Watch team 3 (midships)
Gabe, Felipe, Izzy, Thea, Frankie, Louis, Giselle, Niko, Amanda