Location: Cape Town, South Africa

The day has finally arrived; Sailing Yacht Argo receives her fresh hands. Twenty-two students become shipmates the moment they tread upon her sweeping decks for the first time. It’s been a long journey for some, not only through the twenty-odd hours of flights to reach Cape Town but through the weeks and months of mounting anticipation leading up to the day when a “grounded” routine becomes appreciably more…”dynamic.” The butterflies quickly give way to excitement at noon as introductions between staff, students, and Argo are all met with eager smiles. The new shipmates are shown their cabins, and perhaps wonder quite how they should ever fit into a bunk bag and single cubby, all which has been crammed into their enormous travel duffels. Among other concerns are the ship’s “heads” as “I gotta poop, you gotta poop, we all gotta poop.” These marine toilets are said to take some getting used to and require special care and attention. For some, this marks the first time stepping a tentative foot upon a boat. However, spirits continue to run high as Argo’s for’d accommodation becomes increasingly busier with the buzz of new shipmates strategically unpacking. A few anxious parents are reassured when they, too, are shown around the vessel, noting particularly the safety features as well as her hulking size in the water. Farewells will be slightly easier knowing that their loved ones will be safe at sea. With check-in complete, the process of becoming settled in with the vessel and fellow shipmates can begin. Making new friends is easy when the common mindset of adventure is what has brought these young adults all together on a boat.

The first meal aboard is served on deck as the African sun slides below the ridge of the famous Table Mountain. Her looming presence over the city of Cape Town is worth marveling at, an iconic image. After a welcome hearty meal, basic dock etiquette is discussed, including the topic of being kind to the noisy, smelly, but adorably cute neighbors – South African Fur Seals! Everybody is then introduced to the daily game of “Squeeze,” where a circle is formed by holding hands to answer the given question in turn. Its a simple yet essential one to begin with – who are you, where are you from, and what are you anticipating from the coming adventure? The game serves its purpose of breaking any remaining tension. Finally, the process of dishwashing is begun as all hands man a station along the line to clear up after the meal. This is completed in no time at all, and the shipmates can settle on deck in the gentle dusk light to continue getting to know each other, before turning in to their bunks for their first night aboard the magnificent vessel. This is Argo…

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