Location: Underway to Fiji
Our day began at 330am for watch team 2’s last 4-8 am sunrise watch of the passage. Fiji really impressed with one of the best sunrises we have seen all passage, and likely all semester. We once again indulged in Tim’s famous curry for lunch, after which we were visited by Father Time and the Kraken to signify our crossing of the international dateline. The students were given 18 riddles from the Kraken to solve on their watches tonight to have the day that was taken from them when we crossed the dateline, returned to them when they step off the boat, and fly home. After lunch, we had a quiet afternoon of study hall and watches, followed by Tim’s roast dinner with some of the best bread of the passage made by Louis.
As the day went on, thinking about the fact that today was our last full day of passage and that tonight will be our last round of night watches had me feeling quite sentimental. While this passage has definitely been long and challenging on days, it has also been full of fun times where we laughed until we cried. Most importantly, we have all learned a lot throughout this passage; first off, that the Jonas Brothers did not write the original version of the song Year 3000 and that balls of cold leftover rice make for a great clean-up game. One of the best ones, though, is that Argo is an absolute beast. She has safely carried us over 5000 nautical miles across the Pacific Ocean through sunny days and squally nights, and we will be forever grateful.
Over the last 33 days, we have also learned a lot about each other. We have learned the little things that make everyone happy, like cookies or cheese ritz for Izzy and Riley, Survivor for Renee, and bread with dinner for just about everyone on board. We learned what a lack of sleep delirium looks like on our 12-4 watches, resulting in forward-rolls in the cockpit and incoherent thoughts and sentences before being relieved to go to sleep. We’ve learned that everyone has some sort of accent ranging from New Zealand to Grand Cayman, and everywhere in between, that now get used probably (read: definitely) more than they should during dinner announcements, watch briefings, and even deep bow watch conversations. We’ve learned to lean on each other when we weren’t having the best day and how to put a smile back on someone’s face when they needed it most. While we were learning about everyone around us, we were also learning a lot about ourselves. Situations and things that we probably thought we couldn’t handle 86, or even 33, days ago we now handled with confidence. Even if we’re not entirely sure how to do something, we work together to figure it out. If you told me a few months ago that I would be taking in on the main preventer at 1130 at night during a downpour in a squall with 4 or 5 people who used to be strangers, I’m not sure if I would have believed I could do it. But here we are, 88 days later, stronger, smarter, and low-key a bit more badass than we started.
One of my, and I’m sure the rest of the staff’s, favorite thing this semester has been being able to watch all of our shipmates learn anything and everything about how Argo works. From taking in on the main staysail preventer and starting up the generator to learning all about the ocean currents and winds that brought us this far to how to navigate through the waters around us. With that, we are now over 24 hours into the student-led portion of this passage, where the staff takes a step back, and the students bring us to our final destination. They have already successfully navigated us through Fiji’s easternmost island group, the Lao Group, through a small squall after dinner last night and past many other Fijian islands as we continue on West. Tomorrow they will bring us onto anchor off of Viti Levu and will have officially completed their passage plan beautifully. I know I speak for myself and the rest of the staff when I say how far they have come since that first sail training day in Antigua and that we could not be more proud.
After dinner tonight during squeeze, I wanted to ask a question that would let us reminisce on our passage and get us excited for what is to come in Fiji, so I asked two questions: what will you miss most about the passage, and what are you most excited for in Fiji? Our most common answers for what we will miss from passage were our watch teams and how close we’ve gotten with everyone on them as well as all the good conversations and laughs we’ve had with them. We will also miss the simplicity of life in our little Argo bubble out in the middle of the ocean, disconnected from the rest of the world. Finally, we will miss everything about the skies out here, the stars, the sunsets and sunrises, seeing the milky way and shooting stars every night, and the bioluminescence. The things that we are most excited about in Fiji are being able to get back in the water and seeing anything living underwater that is not a human. We are also very excited about all the diving we are hoping to do and being able to see the color green for the first time in five weeks. Some outliers in what we are excited for also included seeing a baby (courtesy of Renee) and custard pies (courtesy of myself).
I know this has been a little long and a little sappy, but on this last day of Argo and Seamester’s longest passage to date, I am just feeling very appreciative and lucky. Lucky that in my first semester, I got not only amazing staff to be able to work with but an absolutely incredible group of students to welcome me into this role. Feeling lucky to have learned so much over the last 88 days and to have been able to be a part of such a momentous passage in Seamester history. Feeling lucky just to be here and for what the future has in store for all of us Argonauts.
And to my Mom, Dad, and Shaun, I’ll talk to you guys tomorrow!!
Picture 1: This morning’s sunrise
Picture 2; Watch team 2 after our final 4-8 watch together
Picture 3: The students before/during their final round of deck showers on this passage