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.