Location: 00,37.31 S; 038,00.25 W
Another day underway, and as you read this blog post, you may be wondering, how many times can I hear about life on the open ocean? The answer is at least one more time! Today was an eventful day with a sneaky morning squall that poured down just long enough to soak Watch Team 2, but just short enough for them to be jealous when Watch Team 3 finished their watch with dry foulies. We performed a man overboard drill today, and successfully pulled Smash, and the buoy she saved, out of the water.
Life underway feels like living in the space between dreaming and waking, though not in the way our crew members have gotten used to when woken up at all hours for watch. The closest thing to a description I can give it is waking up from a dream that you can’t quite remember but still feel weird about. Out here, we are removed from time. Days pass and feel as though they haven’t. The sun will set and rise again, but the general feeling onboard is that the only way we can tell time is passing is when our watch time changes.
There are certain conversations like these that we have onboard that make us sound like the cringiest Intro to Philosophy lecture you can imagine. Occasionally, the sheer magnitude of what we’re doing is brought back into focus. This may happen when someone stops to realize just how crazy it is that all we can see in any direction is water, struck by the beauty of the force of nature we interact with every day. We are nothing but a blip in its radar, a realization that makes many daily grievances (even the decidedly boy funk prevailing through our cabins) seem insignificant. We think of aspects of the lives we lived at home or at school before this, the things that took up the most space in our heads, both in their mundanity and perceived importance. All of these things pale in comparison to the ocean, in its sheer size, glory, and persistence. In the fact that it has been here long before us and will continue to be here long after our names are last spoken aloud.
We talk about how we are the only people in the world seeing these clouds and these sunsets, and how lucky we are to be doing so. I find joy in knowing that the clouds, the ocean, and the sun are beautiful regardless of whether or not anyone is there to appreciate them. We also talk about how underway the only people that we are able to interact with are the 28 others who can never be further than 112ft from us. We live in a closed-loop system, with a shared set of memories and daily occurrences, which is impossible to replicate outside of Argo. We have no idea what’s going on in the outside world, but what’s even more nuts is how nothing happening out there could affect our lives onboard. We’ve come to the realization that some of the things we’ve experienced on this boat we’ll never be able to fully retell to those not on the trip, at least not in a way that will allow them to really get it. In that way, our bonds were formed for us – this shared consciousness, shared experience that only 28 other people in the whole world will ever truly understand. But 29 is a tiny number when it comes down to it, and I often think about how many ways you could pick a group of 29 people, and how low the odds would be that you ended up with one as good as this. It feels almost like the story of monkeys typing infinitely, eventually producing all of Shakespeare’s works. We are joined together in our sense of adventure, eagerness to learn, and desire to suck all the marrow out of life.
At this point in this blog, you may be imagining us circled up late at night discussing the universe and our place in it, but fret not; I hardly think you could describe the way we spend our days as an in-depth intellectual analysis. The soundtrack of this boat is definitely laughter, with a range from a normal laugh to Am I Getting Abs From This? To tears, begging others to stop joking so you have the chance to take a breath. On this morning’s watch, we laughed so hard that it seemed like the ocean went quiet to listen, our normally choppy neighbors turning to glass for a brief moment after the squall. And, because the earth is spinning, it would be rude to just stand on it, right? So we dance, and we sing, and we collectively realize that something we want out of life is to always live like this, to dance. At the same time, we can still hear the music, to never crush the desire to climb the tree or run through the sprinklers, to dive headfirst into life, and white-knuckle grip the happiness it has to offer.
At 5 am tomorrow, we are expected to cross the Equator. We will be visited by Neptune, and those of us who have never crossed before (Pollywogs) will be put on trial by those who have (Shellbacks), so that we may join in their ranks. We will each donate something to Neptune to ensure our safe passage – stay tuned to hear which of us shave our heads entirely! We are all so excited about the Equator crossing and all the shenanigans that come with it. As the halfway mark of this trip approaches, we have begun getting nostalgic for moments that we aren’t even done experiencing. In just 43 days, there is a general sense of growth and transformation on board, each day bringing us closer to each other and to our final goal. I can’t wait to see what the next half of the trip brings, although, like many of those on board, I have already begun plotting the best places to stowaway onboard when April 13th rolls around.