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Our morning started a bit earlier than we all expected with the sounding of the fire alarm before 6 am, which may or may not had been set off by Bridget starting on our pancake breakfast. Nonetheless, after another hour or so of sleep, I was ready to wake the rest of the crew up. My tactic starts out quite kind, with some Jack Johnson and John Mayer. The only problem with this is that no one gets out of bed with that kind of music on, so we had to get a bit more aggressive. Out came the extra loud, extra bass-thumping electronic dance music that blasted throughout the cabins until everyone was most definitely awake and ready for the day. After we enjoyed Bridget’s pancakes, with homemade whipped cream complete with fresh vanilla from her personal secret stash, the students got stuck into some classes for the morning. First up was leadership class with Tim, with special guests Amanda and myself. The students learned about conflict mediation today and were tasked with aiding Amanda and me, who were acting as roommates, with resolving what seemed like issues with doing or not doing the dishes, but deeper down was an issue within our friendship. After leadership, I taught oceanography, where we started learning about how air circulates in the atmosphere all around the globe. It was very exciting to start teaching about things that we actually see around us, and that affects us in some way in our day-to-day lives. We had about an hour of free time before lunch where many people, including myself, decided to jump in the water. Instead of just jumping off the cap rail, the mission for this hour was to do backflips off of the martingale. Somehow in the last 7 or so months that I have been on Argo, I had never done one, but with a lot of encouragement and moral support, it finally happened. Also among the new back flippers of the day were Morgan, Jennifer, and Cole, with Amanda, Ky, Tyler, Max, and Mia cheering us all on and showing us how it was done.

After lunch, the moment was finally here. It was time for the Argo Summer 2021 Deck Olympix! The students were split up into two teams, and Elle and Lolo were the games officiators, with Amanda as the events DJ. The teams competed in various events from the Blind Gumbie Bear, which involved getting in their immersion suits as fast as possible and making their way across the deck, to a game called “No hide, just seek,” where they were given a part of the boat that they had to go find, and the first team to correctly identify it and find it on the boat received a point. The final event determined our winners, which consisted of a 3 handed race, where each team had to walk from Argo’s stern to the bow, jump in the water, and swim all the way back to the stern, all while at least 3 team members had hands on one of our deckie brush poles. It was an afternoon full of teamwork and determination, which led to the Nerf Sharks ultimately being victorious. After the Deck Olympix we all jumped back into the water and swam over to the sandbar nearby that pops out around low tide every day. While at the sandbar, we discovered countless creatures in the shallows, did a lot of running into the sunset, and even buried Mia in the sand. We found things like giant anemones, baby sea stars, two different types of egg cases, and even a big dark hole that seemed to go on forever into the deep. Finally, it was time to come back to Argo, where we had Bula Friday (a play on Aloha Friday) planned for dinner this evening. Everyone dressed up in their newly purchased fun printed button-down shirts and sarongs and enjoyed a chicken stir fry dinner made by Chloe, Elle, and Bridget. During squeeze tonight, we talked about turning points in our lives. It was special that after over a month together, we could still learn more about our shipmates and hear about events or moments that changed their lives in some way. Tomorrow is a new day, and I, for one, am very appreciative of getting a few extra days in Fiji to soak in the final bits of its beauty and magic. See you all again in 25 days (:

Picture 1- Jenn, Morgan, and Tyler backflipping off of the bowsprit
Pictures 2-10 – various Deck Olympix activities
Picture 11- Our Deck Olympix champions, the Nerf Sharks
Picture 12- Jenn doing a headstand on the sandbar
Picture 13- A group shot of our sandbar squad
Picture 14- The Argo men decked out for Aloha Friday
Picture 15- Today’s all-star aloha deckie squad