Location: Elba, Italy
Last night Argo and the crew found themselves in Elba by 2:45 AM. By 3:15 AM, the anchor lowered, and the regular anchor watch schedule began again. The peaceful anchorage was a welcome change after the previous day, which had left more than one crew member huddled by the lifelines, nursing their upset stomachs. The morning dawned and revealed a little town nestled on the Italian coast, with red mountains rising in the background. On top of one of these mountains is a large cross overlooking the town and harbor. After a normal wake-up time and breakfast, the first official Intro to Marine Biology class was held in the main saloon.
After class, all the crew who were taking Open Water Diving broke into two groups. One group immediately suited up and learned about the diving equipment used, then used one of the dinghies to go to shore, where we did our first of two confined water dives. During the dive, we learned the basics behind diving and certain procedures to go through, fixing problems should any arise during a dive. To the happiness of all the students whose 3mm wetsuits were not quite warm enough for a one-and-a-half-hour dive in the Mediterranean in mid-September, the dive soon came to an end.
While the first group dove, the rest of the Open Water Divers reviewed some knowledge of diving and took some quick quizzes. After lunch, the groups switched, and those who had frozen in the morning enjoyed being back aboard in sweatpants and sweatshirts, sitting in the sun, and learning about diving. The students who were not taking Open Water Diving had some relaxation and a study hall in the morning, and then after lunch went into town. Some of the shore goers decided to hike up to Alla Croce, the huge cross overlooking the little town of E ba. Others were more content wandering the streets of the town and visiting the local grocery store for some mid-afternoon snacks. By 5:00 PM, the entire crew was back aboard, in time for a quick, windy shower and a delicious eggplant Parmesan dinner before ending the night with the first Student Leadership and Development class led by Ben.