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Location: Falmouth Harbor, Antigua

Hello everyone back home! Today, of course, was another fantastic day on Argo. I’m beginning to think that bad days aren’t possible on this boat, as if they were outlawed by the ship’s registration.

I began the day with the classic wake-up-by-music gag, and precisely at 7:00 AM inspired an impromptu dance party with “Dreaming” by Smallpools. Within thirty minutes, we were on deck eating yogurt with granola for breakfast and doing our best to mesh our excitement for the day with the rope burn we got from handling lines yesterday. Those who know me know that the speech I gave at breakfast outlining the day’s itinerary would have been concise, poignant, and hilarious. Since you weren’t there, I will leave you thinking that.

Immediately after breakfast, we jumped into two classes – marine biology and seamanship. In marine biology, we learned about lionfish and their detrimental effect on Caribbean reefs (Frankie was particularly interested in this), as well as coral bleaching. In seamanship, we went over an extensive list of nautical terms that seems to get longer every time we go over it. After those classes, we sent Lolo off on a provisioning trip and then had some free time before lunch.

Lunch was a tasty dish of fried rice and vegetables prepared by Steph. Much like how there are no bad days on Argo, there are also no bad meals. Everything has been delicious and today was no exception. After lunch we went through a walkthrough of our many responsibilities during our hourly passage boat checks. We’re hopeful that we will begin our trek to Saint Vincent tomorrow, and these boat checks will become an essential part of our watches. After that, Loloo got back with our food provisions, and we worked together to unload the dinghy and get everything stowed away. Our fruit hammock has now been replenished with oranges and I, for one, am ecstatic.

The peak of the day was when we got to step on land for the first time in twelve days for our first team COVID tests. We headed to the dock around 4:00 PM and waited until around 5:30 when a doctor showed up to administer the tests. While we were waiting, a rainstorm popped up and gave us the opportunity to take some team pictures. The innocence in our faces is evident in those pictures, because the COVID tests that awaited us were nothing less than awful. The doctor administering the tests went as deep as humanly possible in both of our nostrils, and then (naturally) wiped the insides of our mouths for good measure. It sounds worse than it was, but watching each other go through it was a bonding experience we won’t soon forget. Once we had finished with these tests, we made our way back to Argo teary-eyed and sniffling, and had ocean showers in the last light of the day.

Dinner deserves its own paragraph, because it was the perfect end to the day. Knowing that we had baked ziti waiting for us on the boat was the only thing that kept me from running to one of the nearby restaurants when we were on the dock for our COVID tests. After dinner we had squeeze, and my question was, “What is a compliment you wish you received more often?”

Now that I’m writing this, the students have sat down for a movie in the salon. Popcorn is included and obligatory, so I will be joining them now.

I’ll leave you with some tallies from the trip so far:
Oranges (both hard and soft) eaten: 96
Argonauts convinced that hard oranges are better: 27
Unforgettable anchor watch conversations: 82
Meals lost to seasickness: 6
Questions about lionfish from Frankie: 23
Days we will remember forever:12

Thank you to everyone for reading, wish us luck on our first passage tomorrow!

Joyfully,

Riley

PS. Shoutout to Jack D. from the SOM ’19 voyage from the Caribbean to Tahiti. His daily tallies inspired mine today, so his legend lives on.

Pictured:
Deckie team ft. Mac, Gillian, and Marina
Tim schooling us on boat checks
Our friends on Ocean Star
Kitchen staff with Elie, Giselle, Natalie, and Renee
Ezra in the gopher hole
Dishwashing crew with Nick, Una, Thea, Lewis, Trevor, Frankie, and Niko
Mac coiling a line
Antigua in all her beauty
Our first steps on land since the start of the program
Amanda and Elle, two of our wonderful staff
Just us kids in the rain
Gillian and Thea on our sunset dinghy ride home

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