Monday, July 31, 2006

Adventure!

Author: Katie T.

Location: Pulau Tenggol

: After a calm night anchored off beautiful Pulau Tenggol, we woke up to some delicious crepes and started our adventurous diving day in the fascinating marine park of Tenggol. We dived down wall to a diverse reef with rays, eels, turtles and colorful fish of all sorts swimming all around us! It was such an amazing sight for all, especially our newly certified divers! Then onto a very relaxing day on board with classes in the afternoon, a delicious pasta dinner and some more amazing diving at night! We dived down a shallower wall to yet another nice reef, however at night is when all the 'big guys' come our and play; giant moray eels, giant parrotfish and giant crabs just lurking all around! It was quite a delightful surprise. Needless to say, today rocked! Full of excitement and adventure, with smiles all around!

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Sunday, July 30, 2006

Arriving in Tenggol

Author: Sarah M.
Location: Pulau Tenggol

We finished the 40 mile passage to Pulau Tenggol and arrived around noon. The anchorage was deep and we were prepared to drop a stern anchor, but changed plans to observe the regulations of the local marine park. We had a late lunch after anchoring and then everyone worked on their oceanography literature review papers until dinner. After dinner we did more work on our papers, as they are due tomorrow morning! Tenggol is beautiful and we're excited to go diving and hiking!

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Certified!

Author: Bree
Location: Pulau Kappas, Malaysia

After breakfast and a morning oceanography class, it was off for open water dive three. We went down to about 35 feet and had fun dodging the jellies. Fortunately, they were slow and pretty easy to avoid, but it was fun shooting air at them with our regs! After lunch and quick naps all around, it was time for our fourth open water dive. When we ascended, we were all officially certified divers! We prepared the boat for sailing, and cruised off around 1930. By 2000, we ran into a bit of a squall and had all hands on deck in the pouring rain! What a way to start our passage to Pulau Tenggol!

Friday, July 28, 2006

Jungle trek!

Author: Katie E.

Location: Pulau Kappas, Malaysia

Started the morning off right with pancakes. Perfect breakfast for the day we had in store for us. We completed our second open water dive, even if the current made it a little harder than the first. We made it to 25 feet for 25 minutes, just in time to return to Argo for lunch, pasta salad, perfect for our windward/leeward hike across Pulau Kappas. We hiked through the jungle and safely made it to the other side of the island where we hung out on the volcanic rocks. On our trek back as the skipper of the day I showed the rest of the crew why we should not fall when crossing the stream (by example)! Oceanography papers are due in 2 days so after another salt water shower we hit the books for a long night of writing!

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Thursday, July 27, 2006

Open water dive #1 and BBQ

Author: Boomer

Location: Pulau Kappas, Malaysia

Today was started with our open water dive #1. We scoped out a nice location on the Northeast side of the island and went for our first dive to 30 feet. The dive was quite nice and there were a few larger fish spotted, which was a good change from the little reef guys seen in confined water. After the dive, we ate lunch and then had the afternoon to explore, go to the spa, go to the turtle hatchery and stay back to work on Argo. We capped the day with a BBQ at the Gem Island Resort. Squid, fish, lamb, chicken and veggies were on the menu, courtesy of chef Zam Zam. Good day on Kappas!

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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Yard Sale

Author: Tom

Location: Pulau Kappas, Malaysia

After a good cereal breakfast, we all gathered for confined water dives. We mastered the basics of SCUBA at a great beach with the backdrop of a lush jungle, high above us. The morning went smoothly and we took a break for lunch, which was well prepared by Scott and ready when we arrived back on board. Oceanography class was right after the meal, then we went straight back in the water for the final parts of our confined water dives. While trying to get a handle on some more complex dive skills, some of us looked like "total yard sales". We all came out on top though, along with plenty of laughs. Our day wound down with an expertly crafted dinner and a nautical science class. With confined water sessions out of the way, we're all looking forward to the real diving!

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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Snorkeling and coconuts

Author: Jason

Location: Pulau Kapas, Malaysia

Up anchor from Malaysia's port of Kuala Terrenganu. Decided to motor sail to the beautiful island of Pulau Kappas. Just 5 miles away, we went from muddy water to crystal clear water, and upon arriving we found dense vegetation and white sandy beaches. I thought of the song 'Bali Hai' from the famous movie 'South Pacific'. All of us are giddy with excitement to take the plunge into the big blue and explore the world beneath the rolling waves. We found the island just as we had hoped and read about; a perfectly stable environment for our confined water training of the SCUBA course as well as some slightly deeper dives to explore soon after. We had our first dive chat on equipment and then took the rest of the day to explore! We all snorkeled the coral reef just a few feet from shore, which spans most of the coast. We saw so much life in just a few feet of water and thoroughly enjoyed our first naturalist exploration. After, a few of us cracked open a few coconuts to enjoy the island flavor and played baseball with a small coconut and a bamboo stick on the beach. What a treat!

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Monday, July 24, 2006

I�ll show you� Malaysia

Author: Catherine
Location: Terengganu, Malaysia

The crew awoke to a hearty breakfast of cereal and coconut yogurt, and were briefed on Boat Appreciation, which was to come next. We cleaned Argo inside and out while Boomer went to shore to clear us into Malaysia. Cleaning was fun and went quick due to the superb teamwork of the group. Work was followed by play time in the Malaysian city of Terrenganu. Local cuisine was the menu for lunch and this was followed by necessity shopping at 7-eleven and quality internet time. The group tackle big waves in the dinghy to return for a fine dinner of chicken parmesan and pasta. The movie Captain Ron followed dinner, and shipmates dropped like flies and off to bed due to their exhausting day...

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Prime Minister of Malaysia

Author: Sara B.
Location: Kuala Terrenganu, Malaysia

The wind picked up today and it brought some attempts at tacking to bring us closer to our Malaysian destination of Pulau Tioman. However it seems like the wind is against us, coming directly from the South, and since we were making little progress towards our original destination we decided to stop at a different city, called Terrenganu, on Malaysia's peninsula. We anchored around 2100 and can see the lights of the city. We are all excited to see land after a long passage and will hopefully explore the wonders of Malaysia in the near future.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

In Malaysian waters!

Author: Blair
Location: South China Sea

Today was a beautiful but hot day! We lowered Nopadone into the water because we were lacking in wind. A bunch of the crew went with Scott for a fun ride in Nopadone and we were able to swim and shower. This was also our first chance to see Argo with all her sails up a beautiful sight! After a great tuna salad lunch, we were assigned our research topics in oceanography and we took our final exam in the PADI Open Water class. The wind has been picking up and we are passing Pulau Redang, as we are all very excited to arrive in Pulau Tioman. It has been another great day on Argo.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Dolphins on the bow

Author: Chantale

Location: Gulf of Thailand

The wind was light again today but we got all six sails up in the morning and managed to sail slowly through the day. In the early morning, a pod of dolphin came to swim by our bow and we could see them eating flying fish and splashing in the phosphorescent water. The afternoon was spent finishing up the theory section of the Open Water SCUBA diving class, followed by an oceanography class. Scott and Jason have been diligently putting our fishing lines in the water again today, but no catch yet.

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Thursday, July 20, 2006

Swimming in clear blue waters

Author: Scott

Location: Gulf of Thailand

Our fantastic wind from yesterday slowly faded away. Boat speed fell and we started motor-sailing on a flat glassy sea. Engine trouble gave the crew lots of excitement as we hove-to for our first swim in the clear blue water. Boomer soon had Argo up and running again with the get home motor.

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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Sailing

Author: Alan

Location: Gulf of Thailand

Katie, Scott and I sailed from 2000 to 2100 using the stars as reference while Catherine watched for fishing boats and nets of the Gulf of Thailand from the bow. The watch teams seem to be working well together and things are running smoothly.

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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

We're Free!

Author: Katie T.

Location: Gulf of Thailand

Today was a fantastic day! We hauled our anchor out of the river once and for all! We set sail on the Gulf of Thailand and away we went due south to Malaysia! The day was a pretty relaxing one; the breeze fresh, the water clear and as blue as sky, and smiling faces all around to finally see what this trip is all about Sailing away! After a couple of classes on deck in the afternoon we started our watch system. Every 3 hours a team of sailors rotates through steering, bow watch and engine checks. Everyone also experienced their first bucket showers and thoroughly enjoyed it! So, with some wind right off our starboard bow filling our sails, a line off the stern, catching some tales, we sail, we smile, we experience, a great day for all and many more to come!

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Monday, July 17, 2006

Are we still in the river?

Author: Sarah Mills

Location: Samut Prakan

Another day on the river, but his will (hopefully) be our last. After a breakfast of breakfast sandwiches, we took the dinghy to shore and took cabs to the BTS station at On Nut, in Bangkok. From there, the students (with Tommy, Katie and Scott leading the way) took the train through Bangkok and rode a long tail boat around canals and the river. We went to the Siam Paragon mall as well. Boomer once again handled customs procedures and we ended the night with and MTE class at 1930.

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Sunday, July 16, 2006

Day in the river

Author: Bree
Location: Samut Prakan (the river)

Samut Prakan, Thailand -- First day of classes on Argo!! We all gathered in the cockpit to learn oceanography and scuba diving from Chantale. After lecture, we watched a PADI video while Boomer was talking to Thai customs to decide our fate. At 10:30 we received a call that it would be a bit longer before we could be on our way to Malaysia, so we made the best of it and learn knots from Jason, Katie and Scott. By 1300, it was clear we wouldn't be able to set sail today, so the shipmates went into town to get some last minute munchies for the upcoming 6-7 passage. After dinner we had our first MTE class (nautical science), then bonded over some card games. Anchor watch again tonight!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

3-headed elephant and crocodile farm

Author: Katie E.

Location: Samut Prakan, Thailand

Samut Prakan, Thailand -- The crew woke up to a lovely breakfast of French toast this morning at 0730, which was much needed after a night of anchor watch. By 0900, the crew was on shore in Samut Prakan for a day of culture and adventure. The 1st stop was at the Erawan museum, where we toured inside the 3-headed elephant. From there we continued to the Ancient city, where we toured on triple tandem bikes, stopping for a picnic by the pond. Our 3rd and final stop was the Samut Prakan crocodile farm. We returned to Argo at 1600, re-anchored and ate dinner. After dinner we had a watch team and passage meeting, where we were all issued our inflatable PFDs in preparation for the passage to Malaysia. Another night of anchor watch tonight and hopefully by tomorrow we will be on our way to Malaysia.

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Friday, July 14, 2006

First Sail

Author: Boomer

Location: Samut Prakan, Thailand

Samut Prakan, Thailand -- Today the crew woke up for a 0730 breakfast and then we got right into it. We hauled anchor and motored through the maze of Tapioca barges to clean air, where we raised sails for the first time. With 5 sails up and making 7.5 knots the new crew of Argo got their first taste of what life is going to be like for the next 40 days. Our sail was cut a little short while we assisted the Thai Marine Police with an accident at sea. We finally made it up the river at 1800 and had a much earned dinner. No rest yet however, anchor watch around the clock here!

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Thursday, July 13, 2006

Arriving on Argo

Author: Chantale

Location: Ko Sichang, Thailand

Ko Sichang, Thailand -- Most shipmates arrived in Bangkok very late last night so we all stayed at a hotel in the city overnight. We all met for breakfast at 8:30 this morning and got ready to make our way to Ko Sichang, where Argo was waiting for us. We were picked up by a minibus and suffered in Bangkok traffic on our way to Si Racha, but still got to the dock in time to make the ferry that took us to Ko Sichang. From there we were picked up in dinghies by the staff on Argo, and finally arrived on our new home. Thai food was waiting for us on board, and after a big lunch and more formal introductions, we all sat down to talk about the program and policies. Later, shipmates had time to unpack and get settled in, and everyone enjoyed their first salt water shower. Following dinner, shipmates were introduced to specific areas and systems of the boat.

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