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Location: Cape Town, South Africa

‘Twas the first day of program and all through the boat
staff hustled and bustled and cleaned down below;

PFDs were hung from their bungees with care
knowing that shipmates soon would be there;

Amy and Tina made thirty-two beds
While Chief Mate Dan scrubbed all the heads;

And Lindsay in the galley and Carolyn on deck
And Cap’n Ben aloft doing a final rig check;

When out on the dock there arose such a clatter,
They sprang from the boat to see what was the matter;

And away to the charthouse they flew like a flash
Tore up the ladder and threw open the hatch;

The sun shining bright on the V&A dock
Revealed the first of this semester’s new flock;

With armloads of great big duffel bags
Covered and coded with ‘overweight’ tags;

As taxis arrived down the ramp they came
And the staff waved and smiled and greeted them by name–

“Hi! Patrick, hi! Davis, hi! Ashley and Lilli,
Hi! Lauren, hi! Daniel, hi! Robbie and Ellie;

Careful on the passerelle, be sure not to fall,
now welcome, welcome, welcome aboard all!”

So up onto Argo the new students flew,
with Ethan and John and Jeremy too;

Down the companionway, they came with a bound
To unpack their bags and learn their way around;

And take off their worn travel gear
Because spring Sea|Mester was finally here!

Chattering and laughing they went to unpack
And filled up their bunk-bags with clothing and snacks;

Once dinner was cooked and salad was done
They ate and cleaned both deck and salon;

And when everything was finally all put away
They gathered for their final chat of the day;

To learn about duties and life on the boat
To make sure they knew how to keep Argo afloat;

And the staff left for bed at the end of the meeting
But not before one final group greeting;

For I heard them exclaim as they walked out of sight–
“Welcome aboard to all, and to all a good night!”