Friday, August 17, 2007

Hola Barcelona

Author: Kayla
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Today was our first full day in the beautiful city of Barcelona. The shipmates all woke up to a favorite breakfast of yogurt and muesli- quite tasty it was. Then we took our MTE Navigation Master final which lasted till lunch. Afterwards people went ashore to explore the vast and culturally rich city. Some went shopping at Zara while others traveled to the top of Barcelona and looked down over the city and harbor in awe. For the evening activity the shipmates and staff wrote letters to each other showing their appreciation for one another. For some shipmates this took quite a long, long time but all in all it was a pretty sweet day.
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Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Last Sail

Author: Jenni
Location: Palma to Barcelona
Today we continued our passage to Barcelona. It was our last passage and you can really see how much the crew has learned about sailing and how much we all enjoy it and are excited to step up to all the challenges that come with it. The passage finished with a bang and a pop. At about 0900, I remember commenting how the sky was so clear and cloudless. Only fifteen minutes later, we are suddenly being swung side to side in an increasing swell and the sky became filled with clouds. You could feel the resistance of the sails against the wind as the wind speed jumped about 15 kts in just a few minutes. We hurried to trim the sails to the new wind and secure the items on deck. I can't wait to get up on the bow and enjoy splashing up and down in the waves. The foredeck definitely turned into a splash zone and you can hear the surprised remarks of the next watch as they head up on deck. We decide we need to reef the mainsail with only the sacrifice of one PFD as it accidentally inflated while Simon was hanging off the boom, trying to secure sail ties. It was the perfect last sail.
Once we docked in Barcelona, the rain started up and we ran for cover on Argo. A few shipmates headed out to see the city while many of us stayed on board to relax or study for our final exams. After dinner, more of us take advantage of the now nice weather and head into the city. While many of us kept studying late into the night, you could hear the murmurs of "course to steer" and "5 leeway" and "where is flashing green light #2?" We are also just taking advantage of the excuse to stay up and hang out, as we are all too well aware that this amazing experience is coming to a close way too soon.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Classics

Author: Jay
Location: Palma
It was a glum morning aboard Argo as we bid farewell to Heather bright and early. She has a work commitment at home that couldn't be avoided, and we will all miss her over the next few days. This also served as a harsh reminder that soon we will all be leaving Argo, and moving back to land and our everyday lives. Not ones to waste time wallowing, we swiftly moved along, enjoying breakfast and then doing some last minute cramming for the oceanography final. We moved the boat off the dock and out to an anchorage, then got the boat ready for tonight's passage - our last sail aboard Argo which will bring us to our final destination, Barcelona. After lunch we had our oceanography final and then got the chance to view a classic wooden boat regatta. Simon had strategically anchored near to what we all hoped would be a racing mark, and his decision paid off in the afternoon as we watched some of the world's finest classic yachts rounding the windward mark and bearing away towards the finish line. We had dinner and showers, then sailed into a moonless night marked by numerous shooting stars, the remainder of a recent meteor shower.
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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Heather's Final Day

Author: Desiree
Location: Palma, Mallorca
The day began with the Argo crew finishing up a night sail and entering the harbor at Palma, Mallorca. We docked the boat Mediterranean style and enjoyed an afternoon of shore time to explore the city. After dinner, we all enjoyed a night out in the old part of the city to celebrate Heather's final night aboard Argo.
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Monday, August 13, 2007

A Day of Chaos

Author: Marie
Location: Puerto Pollenca, Mallorca
Today the crew had a very busy schedule. After breakfast, we moved Argo out of Puerto Pollenca and around the corner to a smaller bay. Here, both the advanced and open water divers went for a cave dive which was pretty sweet! After the dive we had grilled cheese and tomato soup and then the second group of divers descended into the cave. After two afternoon classes, it was passage prep time followed by dinner. Then, off to Palma!


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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Mallorca

Author: Chelsie
Location: Puerto Pollenca, Mallorca
We had a fulfilled day of scholastics. We started off with an exceptional OCE class taught by both Chantale and Mike. This was followed by shoretime. The locals were very friendly and even with the language barrier were somehow able to understand our sarcasm. Oh, and the food was amazing. Some of us stayed on shore all day, while others came back to study for the MTE final. Heather and Basia prepared a fantastic meal of chicken parmesan for all of us scallywags. And just to mix things up a bit, we had another oceanography class after dinner. The class was exceptionally hot, so went for a late night swim before bed. Later, around midnight, there was a lightning storm and for the first time on our voyage, it started to rain.
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Saturday, August 11, 2007

It's Fabulous

Author: Vince
Location: Puerto Pollenca
Today I, as the skipper, led a fearless crew 60 nautical miles into the vast Mediterranean Sea. We had an exceptionally nice daysail, hitting speeds up to 10 knots. The most exciting part was that the students found our way to our destination without GPS or any modern electronic navigation tool. Dolphins frolicked in our wake; it was fabulous.
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Friday, August 10, 2007

Mahon-y and Me

Author: Mike
Location: Mahon, Menorca
Today was another beautiful day in Mahon. After a great breakfast, the crew learned about the wonders of geological oceanography swiftly followed by a video of the Blue Planet. Before lunch the crew had the chance to venture on shore and some even stayed and enjoyed a Spanish feast on land. Everyone returned to Argo at 1600 to get ready for our passage to Porto Pollenca tomorrow morning. Just before putting our heads down for the night, we moved Argo to another anchorage. That's all folks.
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Thursday, August 9, 2007

A humble account of Will's day as skipper

Author: Will
Location: Mahon, Menorca
0715: Crew woken by smell of breakfast or fire alarm, not sure which. Either way: timely response.
0730: Crew enjoyed breakfast. Listened attentively to skipper's morning announcements. Daily program well-received. Skipper's fair judgment commended!
0830: Oceanography class. Crew learned much, slept little.
1000: Dinghies to shore. Excitement was tangible.
1200: Lunch for those aboard. Much debate as to the correct time on shore. Ship time remains the same.
1300 - 1700: Shore time for all. Crew uses downtime for self-betterment (i.e. homework).
1800: Dinner. Squeeze question befuddles and amuses.
1930: Class and chart work. Crew's deftness with parallel rules impresses.
2100: Aborted attempt at movie night. Skipper makes the prudent choice and sleeps.

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Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The end of passage

Author: Kiernan
Location: Mahon, and the open seas
We awoke on this third morning of passage to heaving seas and slightly overcast skies. But growing on the horizon, to the delight of the seasick shipmates who had spent much of the night clutching the stern rail, was Mahon. With all hands on deck, we quickly struck sail and prepared to stop anchor. Secure in our calm anchorage, the shipmates of Argo returned to their now placid beds to study and catch up on sleep. Following a nourishing lunch, we completed an oceanography quiz, then spent the rest of the afternoon giving Argo some much needed loving, Refreshed after showering and devouring a hearty meal prepared by Ericka and Kayla, we went ashore for a much deserved night out, finally returning to the good ship Argo happy and content.
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Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Passage to Menorca

Author: Chantale
Location: En route to Spain
Today was the second full day of our passage to Mahon, Menorca. The morning started with excitement as a fish bit our line shortly after sunrise. It was difficult to pull it in and after Kiernan fought with the line for several minutes we realized that we had quite a large tuna at the end of our line, the largest we've ever caught on Argo! After a lunch of fresh tuna we had an oceanography class followed by a nautical science class, then bucket showers on deck before dinner. Throughout the day the shipmates continued to measure the temperature, salinity and dissolved oxygen of the water hourly as part of their oceanography class. The wind picked up in the morning and we were able to sail all day on a nice broad reach. Though our rocking with the swells is testing the sea legs of the crew, all are happy to be sailing along at nice speed towards Spain.
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Monday, August 6, 2007

First Day at Sea to Spain

Author: Caroline
Location: En route to Menorca
Today began the first full day of our passage. Throughout the night, three watch teams rotated every three hours. At 1200, the whole crew woke up for a lunch of chicken wraps that were amazing. Following lunch we had an MTE class where we learned about estimated positions, dead reckonings, and courses to steer. During that class, Mike and Chantale collected samples of plankton which we observed in the next hour during OCE class. After, everyone decided that it was time to shower and we heaved to and jumped into the middle of the Mediterranean Sea for showers. At 1800, we began watch rotations again for the night and enjoyed shrimp pasta for dinner that many people enjoyed.
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Aug 6 Argo Update

Argo calls in from passage to Menorca. A busy day aboard with lots of sailing, lecturing and lab work keeps the crew busy as they settle into 3 hours watch rotations.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

A Worthwhile Hike

Author: Heather
Location: Cinque Terre Region, Italy
Ask anyone off the street what Italy is known for and they will probably say something about the amazing food. However in recent years, the secret about Cinque Terre has gotten out, and travelers are slowly being let known about a formerly well kept secret. Along the coast of Italy, we hiked the rigorous up-and-down pathways of the mountainous terraces, stopping only for the view and to hyperventilate a little. We began our hike after a short train ride from La Spezia, and after hiking up some insanely steep slopes, found ourselves in the jaw-dropping beauty of Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. After separating into a few groups, a few stopped in one of the five towns for bruschetta, gelato, photographs, or all three. The second to last town brought some high cliffs to our attention and after seeing a few locals jump off the rocks into the turquoise blue water, we decided that we definitely needed to do the same. The initial fear was well worth the cooling and rinsing off of sweat. It could not be a more enjoyable hike. Upon return we immediately prepared Argo for our three day passage across the Med to Mahon, Menorca - a process we are all becoming quite quick at. We decided to immediately depart and had "the squeeze" and under during passage - always an interesting test of balance and stomach strength. The true test of stomach strength will be unveiled in the next few days!
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Saturday, August 4, 2007

Porto Venere Excursions

Author: Simon
Location: Porto Venere, Italy
The good crew of Argo enjoyed another idyllic day in Porto Venere. We began with a breakfast of egg sandwiches, followed by an oceanography class and one of the "Blue Planet" DVD's. After class, some of us went ashore to take advantage of the pay phones and shopping. We were all sure to check out the pesteria, where a local woman sells and offers samples of her own authentic Genovese pesto. After lunch aboard, some set out to explore nearby La Spezia while others stayed aboard to work on oceanography projects, nautical science homework, or just generally help the staff by applying new skills toward splicing lines for our dinghies. We all enjoyed a gourmet meal of spaghetti a la pesto for dinner, and finished off the night with another sailing DVD to prepare for passage tomorrow night. We're trying our best to catch up on sleep tonight in anticipation of our Cinque Terre hike tomorrow, followed by our departure to Spain tomorrow night. We won't be back online for several days, so hold tight and we'll let you know when we've safely arrived in the Balearic Islands. Hasta luego!
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Aug 4 Argo Update

Capt Simon calls in from the post card perfect coast of Italy. Lots of details of a great day aboard!

Friday, August 3, 2007

The Pesto Port

Author: Meredith
Location: Porto Venere, Italy
Gelato: 2 euro. Laundry: 9 euro. Castle entrance: 4 euro. Seeing a vending machine filled only with pesto: priceless. Argo entered the quaint port of Porto Venere, Italy shortly after 0700. We balanced out the new background with an old favorite: BA (or, boat appreciation). By lunch, Argo was shining from every D-ring. The motivation to go ashore, er . . . have an oceanography class, expedited the cleaning process. After a scholastic hour of current and tides, we set out to explore the Italian port. The crew split based on interests - be it castles, beaches, or culinary adventures. We joined back onboard for dinner and the "squeeze". The option to venture out a second time was offered, which a few crew took advantage of. Most, however, chose to stay aboard to watch an educational sailing video, "Captain Ron"!
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Aug 3 Argo Update

A quick call from Elba brings us up to speed on the very busy happenings aboard.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

On the move

Author: Kate
Location: Elba, Italy
Early this morning we moved the boat to the far side of Porto Ferraio where we would commence a morning hike overlooking the harbor and city. After the hike, we returned to Argo for some lunch and a scheduling meeting in which we planned our next seven days aboard. Later, there was some free time spent swimming, studying, and stocking up on sleep in anticipation of our night's passage. Well rested, we prepped the boat before dinner and then hauled the anchor up after eating. Having just enjoyed a peaceful sunset over the mirror-calm water, we are currently heading back to sea, this time headed for Porto Venere in Italy's Cinque Terre region.
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Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Exploring Elba

Author: Ericka
Location: Elba, Italy
Elba greeted us with a beautiful sunrise followed by an exciting day of adventure. Elba's fascinating history was uncovered as we explored the residence of Napoleon Bonaparte during his exile on Elba, or the spectacular Fortezza Medici. While some explored the island from land, the advanced and open water divers explored Elba from below the surface. It is clear we have reached the midpoint of our journey because while not exploring we were recalling all the information we have learned for our oceanography midterm this afternoon, or preparing for our final projects by dissecting fish and taking water samples. As usual, we reunited for dinner and finished our evening off with an oceanography class.
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