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Location: Sardinia,Italy

Welcome to the 63rd blog post. Only a week left until we come home! This blog starts with anchor watch, the far easier and more relaxing version of watch when underway. It’s only an hour long and positively relaxing in how little happens. You just have to make sure the boat doesn’t blow away from you when you’re on a solo or double watch. Last night I was on a double watch with Santana, and it was so easy he even took a nap near the end of it. I got the best picture of him curled up in my cockpit for my BeReal. He looks so comfortable, cocooned up in blankets, that I left him sleeping when our watch finished at 3 am. I remember at the beginning of the trip. We thought the 2-3 am watch was difficult. Oh, how times have changed.

Not everyone just relaxed during their watches, though. Maria and Celia used their hour of watching the ship to set up their dive gear and get ready for a 6 am dive they had this morning. They went for one of Celia’s advanced open water certification dives. It was the navigation dive, and although I didn’t go there myself, I heard they both did very well, and Celia is well on her way to getting her advanced open water certification.

After the morning dive and incredible breakfast cooked by our incredible chefs of Phoebe, Santana, and head chef Sammy, we got ready for our lesson of the day. Amanda gave us both a sobering and inspiring lecture on fisheries and aquaculture in the second to last lesson of the semester. The lesson was enlightening as she taught us the realities of the fishing industry. We learned how fishing has progressed over the years, its consequences on the natural world, and the recent conservation efforts being put in place to save the rapidly dwindling species all across the world. We also learned about various types of fish farming being used all across the world. We learned about how they help humanity and the environment and how they hurt them. I don’t know if it was the lesson itself, the sad reminder that we only had a week left on Argo, or Sammy cutting up onions for lunch behind us, but there were a few misty eyes during the lecture. Personally, I blame the onions. After the lesson, we got our second to last quiz of the semester back, which I did pretty well on, but we had more pressing concerns as the goblet of fire had just come out.

The goblet of fire is a plot device in the popular book series on wizards with a main character named Harry Potter, but, more importantly, it is Argo’s method in choosing leadership positions for the passage from Sardinia to Rome. Last night, every member of Argo’s students put their name in the goblet (which looks suspiciously like a rainbow hat) and what position they wanted to run for. This morning, the names were pulled out, and speeches prepared days before were given. The first positions to be voted on were the two navigator positions, and Alex was the first to step up, and oh boy, did he deliver. When Alex started giving his speech to the rest of us mere mortals, he transcended from a student to a general inspiring his soldiers before battle, a religious leader enlightening his audience, and a voice of authority leading all of those under him. Goosebumps were felt, and, dare I say, lives were changed during the course of this speech. After Alex’s speech, his competition for the two navigator spots came up in the form of Lily. Lily also had an incredible speech that spoke to the qualifications as a navigator and the excellence she displayed during the semester thus far. Unfortunately, they were the only two competitors for the role of navigator, so they both got the spot. After, the navigator came to the competition to see who could become the boat’s engineer. Santana, our resident engine room enthusiast, won this contest and was the only contestant. I believe he had no competitors because everyone else was afraid to face him. Next up came the competition for the first mate. This was between Celia and Will. They both delivered incredible speeches that narrated their continued competency and knowledge of Argo, along with why they would be the best first mate available. The competition between them was very friendly, though, and during both of their speeches, both contestants complemented the other. At the end of both their speeches, though, a vote was held, and Celia narrowed out a 7-5 victory in votes. Finally, the last position available for students in Argo was that of skipper. The competitors, in this case, were Maya and Drew. They both had incredible speeches, but by the end of it, even Drew admitted that Maya would be the more skilled skipper. With all the positions full, we broke for lunch, and most of us got ready for an afternoon dive.

The dive today was a journey by the rocks that most people decided to go on. I, however, felt like I was behind in my research paper, so I took the afternoon off to write and tan. The sun was incredible, and so were the views as they glistened off the Mediterranean. When the divers came up, they, too, couldn’t stop talking about how much fun they had today. It seemed like everyone really enjoyed themselves, and although we miss you all back home, we can’t imagine not living on Argo anymore.