Location: Savusavu, Fiji
At 05:30, we had an early wake-up and instantly met with our three teams (Navigation, Engineering, Deck) leaders to do a quick briefing for passage. Blake was elected skipper and was helped by Simon in Engineering, Margaret D. in Navigation, and Mike on Deck. We then had to complete the rest of the passage prep, for example, things from checking the steering gear to making sure the galley (kitchen) is 40/40 (Ready for 40* of heeling or tilting and 40 knots of wind). We then pulled up anchor, beginning our student lead passage with minimal involvement from staff. It definitely was a change receiving orders from each other rather than staff, but as the day went on, we fell into a rhythm that felt as normal as any other passage. As the sun rose in the sky, we had captain Ian “go overboard” in a drill, from which we were successful in recovering “Ian” (a fender tied to a float) with real-life Ian remaining completely un-involved. Even in calm conditions, it is quite tricky to maneuver Argo in order to pick up a floating object but with Blake at the helm, and members of all the watch teams working together to guide him where he could not see, “Ian” was successfully recovered. As if in reward for our hard work, thus far, the ocean rewarded us with a yellow-bellied sea snake sighting (don’t worry parents, they are very venomous but very docile and of little threat to humans), an animal only seen in the Indo-Pacific region, and some bow-riding dolphins (much more harmless). Then we continued a super calm motor, both weather-wise and attitude-wise. Just after lunchtime, we did jump-in showers on the open ocean, practicing our back-flips. After that passage continued without a hitch. Blake and Margaret worked together to guide us around the point and into our original anchorage, after which Mike and his deck team dropped the anchor; thus, we successfully completed the first student-lead passage. We then finished up the day with a leadership class.