Friday, December 8, 2006

The Amazing Race

Author: Anna

Location: Phuket, Thailand

We started off the race with just two classes, Ocean Rover and Classics (ours) on the course. The start of the race was slightly delayed but at least had a few knots of wind to get us over the starting line. After that though, the wind died and all four boats in our class floated around for several hours in some weird currents and no wind. Just as we were about to give up hope, a puff of wind came and we were off! As we started sailing away the race committe radioed to ask if the boats wanted to cancel the race due to no wind, but we all radioed back and said no, and the race was on! As the boats picked up speed Argo slowly pulled ahead of the fleet and sailed across the finish line first, to many cheers from the other boats and the race committee. Even though we probably won't get first place due to the handicap system, we took line honors and the personal victory for our crew is one we will never forget. On our way back into shore we launched the dinghy and took some great shots of Argo under full sail. The wind was strong and we had Argo up to over ten knots! It really was a great race. This afternoon will be relaxing, with some shore time and a rescue diving review after dinner.

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Thursday, December 7, 2006

Another race for the books

Author: Jim

Location: Phuket, Thailand

The now seasoned Argo crew took home another trophy today with an exciting second place finish. About halfway through the race we were overtaken and spent a good deal of time fighting light wind to try to regain second place. The other boat was ahead but drifted down current away from the mark which gave us an opportunity to squeeze into second place. We made the mark before them and successfully raced Argo once again! Also the crew was joined by Jim Stoll and a camera crew.

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Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Hooray for Lay Day

Author: Evie
Location: Phuket, Thailand

Today was our lay day from the race, but we still had lots to do onboard Argo. The morning was spent taking our rescue diving exam and doing our last rescue dive, now all we have to wait for is the Code Red scenario. After lunch some ofus headed o shore to sort out flights and gifts and any last minute Thailand necessities we needed before home. We had dinner onboard followed by a concluding OCE lecture. The ned of the night was mainly occupied with paper writing, logbooks and PSCT tests. And finally, before bed Jim arrived onboard.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Exhilarating Racing

Author: Tom

Location: Phuket, Thailand

We had a really thrilling race today! Adrenaline pumping excitement! Well, no not really. There wasn't even a breath of wind. We had a good starting position when the race committee began the start sequence. However, due to the lack of wind and the strong current, we found ourselves getting pulled away from the line. After a couple hours of drifting we decided to drop anchor so that if the wind picked up we wouldn't be even farther from the line. After a few more hours and dozens of boats calling it quits, the committee called off our race. Interestingly we were awarded second place for the day without ever crossing the finish line. Of course after we were back at the anchorage the wind picked up to twenty knots. We'll all be praying for wind in the days to come.

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Monday, December 4, 2006

First Place and King's Birthday!

Author: Rosy

Location: Phuket, Thailand

Today was a big day for the Argo crew and all of Thailand. It was the beloved King's birthday, therefore the majority of the people were sporting bright yellow shirts in his honor and each boat showed respects for the King before the race started by lining up in a procession before the Royal Thai Navy boat. Afterwards the race began with a bang; we lined up Argo perfectly and charged through the starting line at exactly the right moment, dominating all other boats in our path, shadowing them with our sails. The next big moment came as we rounded the first marker, wondering for a few uncertain moments whether we would glide smoothly around the mark or be pushed into it by the current and penalized. Luckily we made it around just in time and proceeded towards the end to a first place finish! To make things even better all the action onboard was caught on tape by an ESPN reporter who had taken interest in Argo and her crew and joined us for the day. After the race we enjoyed a great Thai dinner on shore and had fun celebrating our victory.

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Sunday, December 3, 2006

Race Day!

Author: Mike C.

Location: Phuket, Thailand

Well, today was our first race day of the King's Cup Regatta. We all started the day off early with breakfast at 0700. We were out on the course for about 0800 and tacked around the starting line. Our class started tenth and we started well. With two other boats in our class, Cordilia and Jubileaum, in close quarters we rounded the first mark in good position. It wasn't until the second gate that the wind died and the current took over. For the rest of the race we tacked in very light winds, making little headway before retiring at about 3:30. We are heading back into port a tired and sun-kissed crew of Argonauts.

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Saturday, December 2, 2006

working out the kinks

Author: Peter

Location: Phuket, Thailand

The King of Thailand arranged for steady winds for the practice day before the race. We practiced tacks and jibes all morning and started the practice race just before two. Boomer and Kevin went to the skipper's meeting and figured out the starting procedures for tomorrow. Tomorrow is the start of the real race and we are ready!

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Friday, December 1, 2006

Race Registration and Phuket

Author: Boomer
Location: Phuket, Thailand

Today I registered us in the King's Cup and the crew took the day to see Phuket after the OCE final. Everyone enjoyed their time exploring and eating good Thai food. Allan and I took a chandlery run where we replenished some needed cleaning and polishing products while some other crew sorted out dinghy fuel and propane. Lauren and Sam prepared an excellent dinner and then we had a pre-race meeting where we sorted out uniforms and tactics. Practice race is tomorrow!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Boat Appreciation

Author: Nickie
Location: Phuket, Thailand

We departed from Phi Phi Island at 5am this morning and arrived in Phuket around 10am. Upon arrival we began a big boat appreciation- cleaning Argo and getting her ready for the King's Cup. We worked hard all afternoon polishing the hull, shining the stainless, etc. By dinner time most of us were tired but very excited and proud of our hard work. Argo is looking fantastic!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Busy day

Author: Evan

Location: Ko Phi Phi Don, Thailand

Today was busy and exciting. We woke up and after breakfast we had Rescue diving class. Half of the group learned how to give oxygen and the other learned how to pull unconscious people into the dinghy. After lunch we went on a longboat cruise around Phi Phi Le. We finished the cruise with a stop at Monkey Beach where about 100 monkeys live. They drank out of our water bottles and even chased a few of us away. We had a few hours on shore to cruise around at Phi Phi Don. It was a great day.

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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Beach

Author: Mike M.

Location: Ko Phi Phi Don, Thailand

This morning we took off early from Phi Phi Don to Phi Phi Le, which was a short 45 minute passage. We arrived early as a recommendation by locals because soon after the sun rises over the cliffs of Phi Phi Le the tourists flood the little bay. The beach we spent the morning on had sand as fine as flour with giant green cliffs rising up from all around. This island is also where the film "The Beach" was filmed. Within an hour of stepping onto the beach, the powerboats, longtail boats, and ferries started to crowd the small bay. We had planned to spend the afternoon there but the crowds made us all want to return to Phi Phi Don. It was a beautiful island in the early morning.

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Monday, November 27, 2006

Shore fun and boat love

Author: Tim
Location: Ko Phi Phi Don, Thailand

Today started off with a nice breakfast of sticky buns and an OCB class, the last of the semester. Afterwards the shipmates went ashore while some of the staff took part in some boat lovin, aka cleaning, before the King's Cup Regatta. Some of the students decided to help out the staff in the afternoon. After dinner we had our second to last scheduling meeting and a review for our OCB final exam tomorrow evening. All in all, it was a good day filled with good times had by all.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

arrival at "The Beach"

Author: Chris

Location: Ko Phi Phi Don, Thailand

Today Argo and her crew arrived in Ko Phi Phi Don after a day's passage from Richelieu Rock. This is an amazing place, with spires soaring from the sea in the most awe- inspiring fashion. The shore, despite it's run-in with the 2004 tsunami, is booming with tourism. There are more farang (foreigners) than anyone has seen since their departure from home. We look forward to exploring the ins and outs of the island without being sucked into the capitalism we are all used to at home.

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Saturday, November 25, 2006

Octopus and cuttlefish

Author: Chantale
Location: underway

After several days of exploring and diving in the Similan islands, we left at midnight for Richelieu rock, a pinnacle some 40 miles offshore barely showing at low tide, which is well-known as one of the best dive sites in Thailand. After our 50 mile passage we arrived at Richelieu rock at 9am and immediately started diving, and by noon everybody had been in the water. Water was extremely clear and we spotted multiple octopus, cuttlefish and lionfish. As soon as the last divers were back on board, we raised sails and headed south towards Ko Phi Phi Don. The wind was light for most of the day but once again it picked up for watch team 3, and we did some nice sailing after dark.

Friday, November 24, 2006

B.A. and hull scrape

Author: Lauren

Location: Similand Island #8, Thailand

Much of today was spent in preparation for the upcoming King's Cup Regatta. What began as an ordinary day of class and diving turned into a full on BA session. Most of the wood was sanded down and oiled, all of the brass pins were polished until they gleamed, and the hull of the boat even got a good scrape courtesy of the marine science students. We even preserved a few of the scraped off specimens to view under the microscope. All in all, today was far too hot, but it's hard to complain when you are moored off of some of the world's most beautiful islands. P.S. There are lots of sea turtles everywhere! A few of them ate our lunch leftovers that went overboard, giving us plenty of opportunity to observe them.

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Thursday, November 23, 2006

Black Friday

Author: Allan

Location: Similand Island #8, Thailand

While many people on land woke up early on Black Friday to get in a full day of shopping, we woke up at 6am in order to fit in a full day of scuba diving. After moving Argo to a new dive spot, we unpacked all our gear and descended on Elephant Head Rock, a site known as the best spot in the Similan Islands archipelago. When we all had the chance to dive Elephant Head, we moved to island #8 and enjoyed a full afternoon of diving. I would say a good time was had by all.

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Turkey Day!

Author: Eliot

Location: Similan Island #4

The day has been packed full of diving at some absolutely beautiful sites. The currents were strong and the water was occasionally cold, but the fish life and coral never failed to disappoint. In between our aquatic adventures Anna served up some hearty Thanksgiving sandwiches, and some of the crew worked up an appetite in the afternoon jumping from some of the incredible rock formations that litter these islands. In celebration of the holiday we went on shore in the evening to the ranger station for a not so traditional Thai feast and night out. We partied the evening away, enjoying chatting with the locals and other travelers on this fantastic tropical island. Not your regular Thanksgiving- happy holidays everyone!

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

sailing again

Author: Ashley
Location: Similand Island #4, Thailand

Today we were finally able to continue out to the Similan Islands. We had a nice day passage to island #4, where the water is as clear as a swimming pool. This is where we will be spending Thanksgiving. After a scheduling meeting many people went swimming to cool off. We're happy to be back on an island that is quiet.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Rescue diving

Author: Breandan
Location: Phuket, Thailand

Today we woke up to a glorious sunrise that reminded me of when I reached the summit of Everest. We were anchored in a beautiful cove which gave us a great opportunity for snorkeling and other water activities. In the afternoon the Rescue divers took part in some training exercises to get them to save lives. After that dinner was great and we spent the rest of the night relaxing on Argo

Sunday, November 19, 2006

exploring Phuket

Author: Kevin
Location: Phuket, Thailand

Today we spent the morning exploring Phuket Town and getting some parts for the boat. Our original plan was to make our way north and offshore to Richelieu Rock, a dive site offshore between the Surin and Similan islands. This was to be the best dive site yet, but due to some unforeseen circumstances we turned around and dropped anchor in a bay off north Phuket. On the way in squalls from all directions surrounded us and gave us an amazing light show.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

back to Thailand!

Author: Mary
Location: Phuket, Thailand

We awoke this morning to wind! Argo was in her glory, sailing with all six sails raised- a great way to begin the day. Upon our arrival in Phuket we worked hard doing boat appreciation, stopping for lunch and then jumping right back in. After everyone exhibited such great effort and love towards Argo, we headed to shore to explore Phuket Town for a few hours. Returning to the pier for dinghy runs at 5:30 turned into a massive effort to transport the food provisioned by Anna, Claire, and Evie. Never have we seen such a provision! After passage, anchoring, BA, transporting/stowing food, and night classes, we were all more than ready for a good night's sleep.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Farewell to Malaysia

Author: Sam

Location: underway

Today is our final day in Malaysia. And we chose an amazing spot to cap off a great run in this country. Most of the morning in Pulau Gubang Darat was spent studying for the big marine biology exam and finishing our species logbooks. The pre-sail checklist consumed the rest. Once Boomer and his helpers returned from checking us out of Malaysia, and once lunch was finished, we set sail for Phuket, Thailand. The exam and oceanography took place underway and watch teams took over soon after. The rest of the afternoon was spent sailing. The wind was in our favor until we put all six sails up.

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Thursday, November 16, 2006

North Side

Author: Ellie

Location: Pulau Gubang Darat, Malaysia

As the sun rose behind us, we motored away from Langkawi early this morning without a location in mind. Free to anchor wherever we desired, the North side of Pulau Gubang Darat caught our attention. We swam, we fished, we explored. After lunchtime, naps were taken in hammocks hung all around the deck. Finally, dolphins off the stern brought the day to an end. With the island's steep cliffs and lush vegetation, this is truly paradise.

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

exploring Langkawi

Author: Anna

Location: Pulau Langkawi, Malaysia

First thing this morning the crew had a scheduling meeting to plan out the day and the rest of the week. Most people spent their day exploring the town and malls of Langkawi, while some spent a relaxing day onboard catching up on schoolwork and learning how to windsurf. Everyone met up back onboard for a delicious dinner of quiche and gumbo, and shared humorous anecdotes of past travel stories while they ate. Langkawi was a nice diversion for a day, but everyone is ready to get back out to cleaner and clearer water tomorrow!

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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

arrival in Langkawi

Author: Jim

Location: Pulau Langkawi, Malaysia

Our day started with a quick breakfast followed by a 7nm passage to Langkawi. There was no wind but we raised and lowered the sails just for practice. Turns out we needed the practice, but I'm fully confident we'll have all the kinks worked out by race day. Upon arrival in Langkawi Rosy gave a short presentation about the island, and soon after we all went ashore for a while until dinner. The squeeze question opened up dialog for social reflection onboard. We are working hard to realize our potential as a crew.

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Monday, November 13, 2006

Beach Cleanup!

Author: Evie

Location: Pulau Payar, Malaysia

Today we woke up to another beautiful day in Payar. After breakfast we headed to shore to help the park rangers in their daily beach cleanup. Although we thought that because the cleanup was daily there would be no trash, we were wrong. In the two areas of rocky beach we managed to fill up over 15 trash bags. It was definitely a realization as to how much trash is actually in these waters. After returning to Argo for lunch we had a free afternoon. Half of us decided to go scuba diving one last time in Payar, hoping to see more porpoises, sailfish, or sharks. The rest of us took advantage of the quiet atmosphere onboard to catch up on chart work and other assignments. We did a pre- dinner preparation for sailing tomorrow, and settled in for a Student Leadership Development movie.

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Sunday, November 12, 2006

Snorkeling and Rescue Training

Author: Tom

Location: Pulau Payar, Malaysia

After breakfast we had a dive for whoever wanted to come along. Though we had some confusion of where the site was, it turned out to be a good dive with better visibility than expected. Afterwards we started reviewing what we'll need to learn to become Rescue divers. Then we had an early lunch so that we could check out the daily shark feeding at the ranger station on Payar. We snorkeled around the area looking at sharks. Then we stood among squealing tourists, waiting for one of the many black-tipped reef sharks to take the fingers off the rangers, who fed the sharks chicken bones by hand! When we got back to the boat we got in the water to practice the Rescue diver skills in acted- out scenarios. We were worried that our "victims" yelling for help might raise alarm from the other boats around. Instead of screaming for help, we had everyone scream for mulch. Rescue diving is nothing easy. We were exhausted.

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Saturday, November 11, 2006

diving and dolphins!

Author: Rosy

Location: Pulau Payar, Malaysia

Today was our unforgettable first day in Payar. It was Nickie's 20th birthday, our first birthday on board, so we celebrated all day with a decorated salon and cake with dinner. The other activities of our day began with an optional dive right after breakfast where we enjoyed the sweet sights of aquatic life and beautiful coral. The best sight, however, came upon surfacing when we spotted a large pod of dolphins and a rare sailfish right off our bow. We were able to swim amidst all the dolphins and one lucky shipmate experienced the thrill of touching one. After lunch and an unexpected, unfortunate yet entertaining lesson on unclogging a head, we plunged into the water again for our wreck dive and final certifying dive. Our diving didn't stop there though, after dinner we descended into the depths again, flashlights in hand, for a peaceful night dive. Exhausted after our non-stop day, we returned to Argo, showered, and passed out for the night.

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Friday, November 10, 2006

Sailing away from the city

Author: Mike C.

Location: Pulau Payar, Malaysia

Well today we finally sailed away from the city. It feels all too long ago since I last jumped into the ocean, so arriving at Pulau Payar was a treat. This morning we all woke up bright eyed and bushy tailed and ready to leave the sky scrapers of Penang behind. We steamed out of the channel and found a slight wind to sail by. It was only 35 nm to Payar but we made the most of it with OCB class on the way and our final advanced open water knowledge review being summed up for our final advanced dive. After a great dinner of unusual burgers, we took our OCE quiz and finished the day off with MTE. We also set up on a bridled mooring, a first for Argo. What a day!

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Thursday, November 9, 2006

exploring and night out

Author: Peter
Location: Pulau Penang, Malaysia

Today we had two classes and then the day was very free. Penang is a place where one can have the best Chinese food or a delicious curry within steps of each other. We were allowed to have a night out at a pub where Boomer and Tommy played their guitars. That was the best night out.

docking in Penang

Author: Boomer
Location: Pulau Penang, Malaysia

Anchored off Georgetown, I dinghied in to clear us back into Malaysia. After learning that it was considerably more expensive to drop people on the dock compared to being on the dock, we decided to put Argo alongside the city dock. The crew performed flawlessly with the tricky docking and by 1300 we were secure alongside and ready to see Penang. A little exploring followed by dinner and class ended another adventurous day.

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

arrival in Penang

Author: Nickie

Location: Pulau Penang, Malaysia

We continued passage to Penang today, and the morning greeted us with more fantastic sailing. After lunch we had a marine biology class. The rest of the afternoon was spent enjoying sailing, doing schoolwork, or napping. We anchored in Penang this evening and had a scheduling meeting after dinner. A group shower in the dark ended our day on a good note, and everyone was happy we made it through the Malacca Straits with no pirate attacks!

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Monday, November 6, 2006

Great sailing

Author: Evan

Location: underway

Today was another great day of passage. We cruised along with four sails up and enjoyed easy watches. After oceanography and seamanship class many people took bucket showers. The seas were calm up until 9pm, when a large squall hit. Visibility became only 20 or 30 yards as Argo crashed through the waves. It was very exhilarating with the non- stop lightning and howling wind. Argo even got up to her fastest speed, 12 knots. It was a great day with great sailing.

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Sunday, November 5, 2006

Underway from Singapore

Author: Mike M.
Location: underway

This morning we woke up to our last day in Singapore and began setting the boat up for passage. After the boat was set and inspected, many of us lacking the time for a final shower took advantage of flushing toilets one last time. We set off at 10am and motored and anchored in a bay not far from the marina to await immigration clearance. Not long after, we were cleared and departed Singapore and headed north through the busy Malacca Straits.

Saturday, November 4, 2006

Last day in Singapore

Author: Claire
Location: Sentosa Island, Singapore

Another fabulous day in Singapore! After breakfast and an early morning marine biology class, we were set free once again to explore the spotless streets of the city. Shopping, eating, and getting lost ensued. Some shipmates went to check out Little India, which grows famously rowdy on Sundays, while others took care of some last minute shopping on what was our last day in the big city before we depart for our three day passage to Pulau Penang. Personally I enjoyed the aisles of the most westernized supermarket upon which I have stumbled during my time here, which will basically put me in a good mood for the rest of the week. Avocadoes and I had been missing one another.

Friday, November 3, 2006

more exploring

Author: Tim
Location: Sentosa Island, Singapore

Today started as usual, with a 7:30 breakfast that was cereal. After that we had our PSCT class which was on the rules of the road. Then everyone went their separate ways ashore. After dinner we had a pre- night out inspection. Following a chat with some of the locals who gave good advice on where to go and how to dress, those who wanted to left for their night out in which everyone had fun.

Thursday, November 2, 2006

Aquarium and exploring

Author: Chris

Location: Sentosa Island, Singapore

Today was a productive day for many, both onboard and on shore. The day began with a trip to the aquarium on Sentosa Island, where we are docked. Following this all were free to gain further experience with all that Singapore has to offer. After a relaxing evening, Argo sits quietly in her slip under full moonlight.

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Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Cruising around Singapore

Author: Chantale
Location: Sentosa Island, Singapore

On our second day in Singapore we continued our exploration of the city and were amazed by the number of shopping centers concentrated in such a small area! Many took advantage of this to pick up some needed items such as rain jackets, flip flops and memory cards, while others perused the nicer shops and came back with dresses and fancy shoes. Some explored beyond the shopping many areas and visited Chinatown, little India and Sentosa Island. All are learning more about the regulations and culture of Singapore, much of which we've been learning from our friendly and chatty cab drivers. A group favorite is the discovery that Singapore has a Ministry of Fun.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

First day in Singapore

Author: Lauren

Location: Sentosa Island, Singapore

Our first full day in Singapore was today. After a morning BME class, everyone headed into town to begin exploring. There was a lot to see on Sentosa Island, where our marina is, but the majority headed across the bridge to downtown- some even took the cable cars! We made it back to the boat early so that we could have our squeeze at 5, rather than the regular 6pm. We had a night out ahead of us, and this time we were able to have dinner out as well. Even though everyone went their separate ways, we all managed to find great food and good dancing.

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Monday, October 30, 2006

Halloween in Singapore

Author: Allan

Location: Singapore

After an overnight passage leaving from the pristine waters of Pulau Aur, we arrived in the most heavily trafficked waters in the world. Following a successful navigation of the Singapore Straits, we entered Singapore's quarantine zone. While waiting for the immigrations boat the crew gave some good lovin' to Argo, shining all her steel and getting everything straightened away. A couple hours later we were allowed to leave quarantine to go to the marina. Once all straightened out in the marina, we all went ashore to explore. Singapore is huge. Later that night was a costume party and pizza.

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Sunday, October 29, 2006

Last day in Pulau Aur

Author: Eliot

Location: underway

Our last full day in Pulau Aur started a little slowly after a late night the previous night. A morning navigation dive as part of the advanced open water certification served to wake everybody up and after lunch a second group splashed in as well. The rest of the afternoon was spent preparing for our passage that evening. As night descended and dinner was cleaned up we turned our bow to Singapore and left this beautiful island behind.

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Saturday, October 28, 2006

diving and beach BBQ

Author: Ashley

Location: Pulau Aur, Malaysia

We woke up this morning to two clogged heads! Marine engineering students took the opportunity to learn about the systems and helped unclog them. The afternoon was full of diving, snorkeling, and swimming. In the evening we all headed to shore for a beach BBQ. Some of us challenged the locals to a soccer game on the beach. All in all, it was a great day on the beautiful island of Pulau Aur.

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Friday, October 27, 2006

Reef checks

Author: Breandan

Location: Pulau Aur, Malaysia

Today was a wonderful, relaxing day. The morning consisted of intro to reef checks. Reef checks are a program that allows ordinary divers to do simple tasks and check the stability and quality of a reef. The info we gather is then put into a database in California for the world to look at on the web. In the afternoon half of us did a reef check while the others hung out and relaxed. Everyone loved the dive and were happy to help the reefs. Can't wait for tomorrow!

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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Argo stern to

Author: Kevin

Location: Pulau Aur, Malaysia

Today we woke up to a beautiful backdrop of Pulau Pemanggil. After some oatmeal and cereal we split the group for diving and shore time. It was our first deep dive and the advanced divers learned the effects of nitrogen at depth. A few people went out in search of adventure and climbed to the top of the island. After a quick lunch we weighed anchor and set a course for Pulau Aur. We were all a bit sad to leave the beautiful scenery but were soon surprised by our new anchorage. Crystal clear water welcomed us as we put Argo stern to the beach for the first time.

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

sailing to Pemanggil

Author: Mary

Location: Pulau Pemanggil, Maylasia

It was a busy, action- packed day for Argo and her crew. After finishing a delicious oatmeal breakfast prepared by chefs Rosy and Tim, we set to work to 40/40 Argo for passage. Our next destination, Pemanggil! Our passage was a short few hours but eventful. The wind allowed us to raise all sails except the flying jib, and sail for the first time headed off on a broad and beam reach. To ensure there was no accidental jibing, the use of preventers was required for the first time and we got to secure them. Kevin and Eliot also assembled a crew to extend the flying jib sheets, and much fun was had while learning to splice and whip the lines together. Arriving at Pemanggil, a beautiful and remote island, the PSCT class members were put to the test and placed in charge of striking/flaking all the sails and anchoring the boat. The practice course proved both successful and fun. The evening found all shipmates tired but excited with the adventure and accomplishments of passage.

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

BA and provisioning

Author: Sam
Location: Pulau Tioman, Malaysia

This morning was jam- packed with much needed work done by the crew. The day started off with rain leading to an indoor scheduling meeting, followed by a mostly indoor BA. Kevin and I designated specific jobs for everyone onboard while a select few went to the mainland to provision. The crew focused on their personal spaces, eliminating the odors which will probably return in a few days. BA gave me a power high for a few great hours. Lunch and the majority of the afternoon were spent on shore eating, emailing, and shopping. Marine biology followed dinner, and Talladega Nights followed the class; a great movie to top off a great day.

Monday, October 23, 2006

arrival in Tioman

Author: Ellie
Location: Pulau Tioman, Malaysia

This morning we arrived in Pulau Tioman, one of the most beautiful islands in the world according to Time magazine. The musical South Pacific was filmed in Tioman years ago, which has brought a fair amount of tourism to the island. Therefore those who spent the afternoon on shore were able to catch up on email as well as work on their highly anticipated Halloween costumes. Rolls of Mentos, numerous ice cream treats, and ice cold soda pops were consumed at a dangerous rate. Overall, a successful and rewarding day as skipper.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Under the Sea and Over the Waves

Author: Anna

Location: underway

Today our crew experienced the best of both worlds on Argo. First thing in the morning everyone participated in an underwater naturalist drift dive for their advanced certification, in which exciting things like a shark, moray eel, and Titan Triggerfish were spotted. Immediately after returning to the boat sails went up and the bow was pointed towards Pulau Tioman, 120 nautical miles away. Passage life agrees with everyone, and shipmates relaxed by reading, napping, playing cards, telling stories under the shade of the sails, or doing some homework when they weren't on watch. Dinner was served on deck just before sunset while under full sail, and the addition of fresh baked chocolate chip cookies made the busy day complete. Leaving Tengol after such a short period was sad, but Tioman promises to bring some excitement as it is new to everyone onboard.

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Saturday, October 21, 2006

Night Dive and Turtles

Author: Jim

Location: Pulau Tengol, Malaysia

We had an early morning arrival into Pulau Tengol after a short three mile passage from Pulau Kappas. The morning was spent aboard as well as snorkeling around the point in order to orient ourselves for the upcoming night dive. In the afternoon some went ashore to explore the epic jungle of Tengol while others relaxed on the beach and free dove. Finally our anticipation was met with a stellar night dive. The rays, eels, and many fish were a delight to see in the exciting darkness of the night sea. Following the dive one of the local resorts invited us to watch and participate in the release of some baby sea turtles they had been nurturing as a conservation project. The sight of these tiny wonders finding the sea for the first time was an utter delight.

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Friday, October 20, 2006

Jungle adventures and boom swinging

Author: Evie

Location: Pulau Kappas, Malaysia

Today, as our last day in Pulau Kappas, we knew we had to take full advantage of the sunny weather and beautiful scenery. We started off the day on a windward/leeward hike through the jungle. Kevin, Boomer, Tommy, and Ashley were a little ahead of the rest of us and got to see not only a python but a miniature lizard. On the windward side of the island some of the group resorted to primitive methods of getting fruit down from a tree; throwing rocks at it. However, when that failed Jim save the day with his tree climbing skills and retrieved the fruit. Upon returning we enjoyed a cake and PB+J lunch, which was proceeded by hours of boom swinging and fun for everyone and a few injuries for some (Boomer and Kevin). After dinner we got some nap time in before setting sail to Tenggol.

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Thursday, October 19, 2006

Another Beautiful Day

Author: Tom

Location: Pulau Kappas, Malaysia

It was another beautiful day at Pulau Kappas. After a dive in the morning, everyone onboard is a certified diver. With all the training dives now out of the way, we are all looking forward to doing some real dives and many are ready to work towards an advanced certification. In addition, today the engineering class learned about the fresh water system onboard Argo. After a post- lunch seamanship class and some more swimming, we all got ready for our night out. At a nearby resort, which was virtually empty, we had an amazing BBQ. We all stuffed our faces and had some heated games of fooze-ball. I don't think we could have asked for a better day.

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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Finally diving again!

Author: Rosy

Location: Pulau Kappas

Today was bright, sunny, and beautiful and the majority of the day was spent in the sparkling clear water. We went scuba diving in the morning to complete our Open Water dive #2 certification dive, and then again in the afternoon to complete Open Water #3. We are now only one more dive away from being certified. Today was by far the best diving we have seen; there were tons of brightly colored reef fish, clown fish in sea anenomes, puffer fish, barracuda, and one blue spotted stingray. The many different kinds of coral and urchins added to the underwater beauty, making the whole experience very memorable. The day was busy but relaxed at the same time and ended well with a new and succesful dinner of pizza.

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Best Day Yet!!

Author: Mike C.

Location: Pulau Kappas

Well today was probably my best day yet on our good ship Argo. After Boomer cleared out of Terengganu, and we had finished with an SLD course, we headed out of the brown river water and hazy complexion that Terengganu had to offer. We motored eastwardly, on our way the water slowly turned bluer and the sky followed suit. After dropping anchor we all went ashore for an MTE lecture on the beach which meant that afterwards we were free to explore our own deserted tropical paradise island. We walked along beaches, delved into bat caves, snorkeled among hundreds of reef fish and corals, all before getting back on Argo for dinner. After that, OCB was held was had and I think I can say for everyone that after an action packed day, Argo rocked us to sleep very nicely.

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Monday, October 16, 2006

Field Trip

Author: Peter

Location: Terengganu, Malaysia

Today we went on a field trip after brunch and it was good. We met the Sultan's cousin and got to see his home. After we went to a boat yard and saw some old style boats being built. Some spent the afternoon aboard while others went to shore. We rounded off the evening with an exciting scheduling meeting that everyone seemed to love. We leave tomorrow for Pulau Kappas.

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Sunday, October 15, 2006

Transferring fue in Terengganu

Author: Boomer

Location: Terengganu, Malaysia

Today we started the day with an OCE quiz coupled with an engineering class. The BME students learned how to transfer fuel today! After was a PSCT class where we learned about lines of position and running fixes. After class we went to shore to explore. Being Ramadan now we could not eat or drink in public and that was a bit of a foreign concept for some. The day was ended with a lecture on dangerous marine animals.

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Saturday, October 14, 2006

Terengganu

Author: Nickie

Location: Terengganu, Malaysia

This morning we woke up and motored into the Terengganu River canal to dock Argo, while dodging a few fishing boats along the way. After lunch some shipmates gave presentations about Malaysia's history and culture and then we went ashore to experience it for ourselves. After dinner we had an awesome guest come talk to us about traditional Malaysian sailing boats and his effort to preserve this skillful craft of building them, as they've been used in the spice trade for 1,000 years.

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Friday, October 13, 2006

Almost there...

Author: Evan

Location: Terangganu, Malaysia

Today was another fantastic passage day. We talked and we laughed, especially about a group of birds that followed us all day and landed on the boat, our hands, and even our heads. We kept up our watch schedules and will arrive in Terangganu late this evening. We are all very excited about being in Malaysia.

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Thursday, October 12, 2006

Clear waters at last

Author: Mike M.

Location: underway

This morning was an early wake up call for some, and a time to sleep for the night watch teams. The morning was full of lounging on deck for some and studying hard for biology midterms for others. In the late afternoon we stopped in the middle of the Gulf and went for a quick swim and shower. I have never seen seawater that crystal clear and blue in my life. We would swim 20 feet down and could see as clearly as at the surface. We got some great views of the hull underwater, which was a really cool perspective. After dinner and clean up the winds picked up out of nowhere and after raising the jib, we were soon cruising at just over 9 knots, which had everyone really excited. It was the first tie we've really sailed in good winds, and it was a blast.

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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Busy Day

Author: Claire
Location: underway

Today was a busy day! In the morning we did BA, or boat appreciation, which entailed a full blown clean up of Argo. By noon she was shining and for our efforts the crew was rewarded with Thai take out food for lunch (it may have also had something to do with the fact that the galley was utterly out of commission all morning). After lunch clean up we were given a few hours to go to shore but had to be back and showered for dinner by 6pm as usual. As soon as dinner was finished we all prepared the boat for our passage to Kuala Terangganu. All in all it was a rewarding day. Argo is looking beautiful for our impending arrival in Malaysia.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Fun Times!

Author: Tim

Location: Ko Samui, Thailand

Today we woke up to a breakfast of cheese and eggs. Then the BME students had an optional class to change the oil and stuff on the generator. Afterwards everyone (basically) went to shore to explore on their own, with lunch on shore. Everyone came back at around 4-4:30 to shower and swim and then eat. After clean up we are going to our night out. Fun times!

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Monday, October 9, 2006

Operation Ko Samui

Author: Chris
Location: Ko Samui, Thailand

Argo and her crew made safe passage to Ko Samui this morning. Although there were a few problems in the engine room, we arrived in port at around 5:30am- only a few hours off schedule. After dropping anchor the crew was able to rest until the 7:15 wakeup call for breakfast. Proceeding classes, much of the crew ventured ashore to experience the sights of our new port. The weather seemed to be clearing just before dinner, but a quick shower forced us below to the salon to dine. Tonight we will be scheduling for the coming week's classes, activities, and passages. It's good to be on the move again.

Sunday, October 8, 2006

Passage to Ko Samui

Author: Chantale

Location: underway

After motor-sailing through the night with 2 sails, we put up another 2 sails early this morning and increased our speed. Watch teams kept rotating on a 3 hours on, 6 hours off schedule, and in the afternoon we had an oceanography class followed by a nautical science class on deck. After classes, most of the crew cooled off with buckets of salt water on deck. The wind was close to our bow for most of the day and we had to keep the engine on to keep on course at good speed, but around dinner time the wind veered to the west and we managed to turn the engine off for several hours and finally sail Argo under wind power alone, which we're all excited about! We're making good speed and will be arriving in Ko Samui before day light.

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Saturday, October 7, 2006

Passage to Ko Samui

Author: Lauren

Location: underway

We finally made it out of Ko Chang! There was still a little engine work that needed to be done this morning, along with a test motor around Ko Chang, but by noon we were finally underway! Shortly before 1 the engines were off again so Kevin, Boomer, and the marine engineering class could remove some pieces of smoldering insulation in the engine room, but we were back on track before 2. The rest of the day brought us the most sunshine we've had in a while, and lots of crew members have the sunburns to prove it. We broke into our watch teams for the first time this semester and we are finally getting the chance to put up some sails and learn how to make a ship like Argo travel smoothly from point A to B. Everything is running beautifully and we can only hope that tomorrow goes just as well and takes us safely to Ko Samui.

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Friday, October 6, 2006

Last Day in Ko Chang!

Author: Allan
Location: Ko Chang, Thailand

Our engine is so close to being fixed. The original schedule had us leaving for Ko Samui at 10pm, however, it looks like we'll be pushing departure to sunrise. Most of the morning was spent in class hiding from the rain, but as lunch came near we began to hear rumors of the sun coming out. Before we knew it, many of us (or at least myself) had some vicious sunburns. Considering the sun has been hiding for the past few days, I'll welcome the pain. Overall it was a pleasant day aboard Argo and all of us can't wait to set sail tomorrow.

Thursday, October 5, 2006

Busy Day

Author: Eliot
Location: Ko Chang, Thailand

Today has been a day full of cooking, class, and Ko Chang. After breakfast we had a fascinating lecture on marine bio algae, followed by a trip into the engine room for the engineering students to see some of the inner workings of our boat, while others went to shore. After three hours of preparation our hearty lunch of baked potatoes disappeared in minutes and a sailing test was done just as quick. Most people went to shore in the afternoon and returned laden down with prickly heat powder and suits just before shower hour. We had a huge lasagna for dinner and finished the day with one final lecture on meteorology for our professional skippers class. Now it's time to retire to the cockpit to listen to Tommy work his magic on the guitar before bed. Good night.

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Traveling

Author: Breandan

Location: Ko Chang, Thailand

After an early wake up we all couldn't wait for the two different five hour bus rides we had ahead of us. The first being from Siem Reap to the Thai border and that was a fun ride. Five hours in a bus made for people under 5'2 on unpaved roads full of obstacles was excellent. After getting through immigrations we ate a good lunch and got on the mini buses for another ride to the ferry. The ferry ride was enjoyable due to the sights during the ride. We finally got back to Ko Chang and couldn't wait for a hot meal and sleep. Getting back to Argo was a relief.

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Tuesday, October 3, 2006

First Day Back

Author: Ashley
Location: Ko Chang, Thailand

Today was our first day back from Cambodia and everyone seems to be adjusting back well from our mini vacation. After breakfast we made our schedule of classes and activities for our upcoming passage to Ko Samui. After our scheduling meeting some people decided to head to shore for entertainment, while some chose to stay on the boat and were given the opportunity to learn how to drive the dinghy. All in all the day was a good ease back into life aboard. We're happy to be back; we all missed Argo.

Monday, October 2, 2006

Last Night in Cambodia

Author: Lauren

Location: Siem Reap, Cambodia

Today was the last full day in Cambodia, and we started it off with a basic seamanship class by the pool. After breakfast we met Sophat, our guide, who showed us the floating village on Tonle Sap lake. We then returned to Siem Reap and took a tour of an artisan school, where young people from rural villages learn traditional Cambodian crafts. The gift shop had some pretty great things! After lunch, our last stop of the day was the Cambodian land mine museum. It was founded by a man named Aki Ra, who was a child soldier in the Khmer Rouge regime and was then kidnapped by the Vietnamese army before he joined a UN force de-mining his country. The donations he receives from his museum go towards maintaining a landmine clearing crew. Afterwards we made it back to the hotel for a marine bio class and got ready to go out to dinner. We went to a place that offered traditional Cambodian dancing. It was incredibly beautiful to watch. Since it was our last night we all went out for a night of dancing. We met up with Peter's tuk tuk driving friend Borei, and took over the dance floor at a funky little bar in Siem Reap. It was a great way to end a fantastic trip.

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Sunday, October 1, 2006

The Great Angkor Wat Temple

Author: Ashley

Location: Siem Reap, Cambodia

Everyone was a little groggy when we left the hotel at 5am this morning to watch the sun rise at Angkor Wat. It was an amazing site and we all got some great pictures. In the afternoon we went back to tour the temple with our trusty tour guide Sophat. While at the temple we saw some monkeys being fed by tourists, we admired the intricate carvings on the walls, and we got some great bargains on t-shirts to bring home. All in all, I'd say it was a great day.

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Saturday, September 30, 2006

Angkor Wat

Author: Breandan

Location: Siem Reap, Cambodia

Today was our first day in Cambodia and everyone was excited to get going. We started off the day by visiting the Bayon temple. As soon as we stepped off the bus we got a taste of Cambodia when we were mobbed by locals trying to sell us everything from books to t-shirts. After escaping the frezy of solicitors we entered the temple and immediately were taken back by the breathtaking temple. After exploring Bayon for a bit we headed to lunch, for a real Cambodian meal which was fantastic. The next stop on our tour was at the Ta Prohm temple, where they filmed the Tombraider movies. This was by far my favorite temple. Inside we found massive trees growing all around that were actually part of the buildings. It was amazing. We finished the day by heading back to the hotel for a warm shower and a great meal. After spending only a day in Cambodia I'm already taken back by all it has to offer. I'm glad we got the opportunity to spend time in such a unique place!

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Friday, September 29, 2006

Travel Day

Author: Anna

Location: Siem Reap, Cambodia

What a busy day! We awoke at 5am to a thunderstorm hanging over Ko Chang, and after a very wet taxi ride arrived at the ferry terminal for the half hour ride across. On the mainland we loaded into two minibuses for the approx. 4 hour drive to the border, stopping only to get our pictures taken for the visa application. While our paperwork was being processed we had a very chaotic lunch, and then walked across the border and through immigrations. This took a couple of hours, and it was about 3pm when we finally boarded the bus that would take us all the way to our hotel. And what a ride that was! The road wasn't paved, but that sure didn't stop our bus driver from going full speed ahead. It was fascinating to see the Cambodian countryside pass by, full of beautiful fields and small villages with people waving to us at every turn. Everyone was excited to finally arrive at the hotel just after 7pm, have dinner, and join some Semester at Sea students for a swim in the pool. The hotel is gorgeous but we can't wait to get out and explore tomorrow!

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Thursday, September 28, 2006

More classes

Author: Kevin
Location: Ko Chang, Thailand

Last night the crew was notified of our engine troubles and offered a trip to Angkor Wat, Cambodia, to visit the ancient ruins. Today we got some classes out of the way while others went to shore. After dinner Boomer and I taught MTE class as a practical class. We went through all the fittings and Argo's rigging.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Many new adventures

Author: Mary H.

Location: Ko Chang, Thailand

Well, another day in Ko Chang!! Certainly not a terrible place to be stuck in! Our shore adventure today consisted of a spectacular and trying hike- much more intense than our walk to the waterfall yesterday. We found ourselves quite off the beaten path, making our way up and around another much larger waterfall. Rocks were clung to, slimy rocks balanced upon, and vines swung from- by far the most exciting, adventurous hike I've ever been on. We all turned up extremely dirty and tired, but most importantly excited and satisfied. Upon our return to Argo we found out the scale of our engine problem. It seems it will take about a week to fix- a let down but a golden opportunity for new, spontaneous adventure. We're headed to Cambodia! Everyone seems very pleased with this plan, despite the delay in sailing. We'll be heading for the border early Saturday and spend a good four days experiencing the ruins of Angkor Wat. We'll miss Argo but Saturday cannot come soon enough. What a delightful surprise to be headed into Cambodia.

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