Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Author: Anna
Location: Agadir, Morocco
In celebration of Halloween, throughout the night everyone had the pleasure of being woken up for watch by some sort of scary creature, i.e. Bret with a mask on. The watches ended at nine when all hands were called up on deck for breakfast and the striking of the sails as we prepared to enter the port of Agadir. Once secured on the dock and after a quick lunch, boat appreciation started and everyone worked hard for several hours to make Argo sparkle. After an hour of shore time, followed by showers and studying for the upcoming OCE exam, the group convened in the cockpit for dinner in full costume. After cleanup and the exam the tired crew gathered in the salon for a scary movie and then headed to bed, eagerly awaiting tomorrow's surfing trip.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

our day exploring Essaouira

Author: Isabelle
Location: underway
Today, after marine biology, we went to shore in Essaouira. We split off into smaller groups to explore. Everyone did a lot of shopping. People bought everything from jewelry to bongo drums to traditional Moroccan clothing. It was a cultural experience walking through the markets. We saw a table full of chopped off goat heads. Essaouira has two main beaches, one of which had camel rides available. Some people went to see some ruins that were said to have inspired Jimi Hendrix's song "Castle Made of Sand." After we all got back to the boat we left for Agadir with the engine off and making way at about eight knots.

Monday, October 29, 2007

world champs

Author: Philip
Location: Essaouira, Morocco
Having grown up in Boston, being a diehard Red Sox fan has just been in my blood forever. Baseball season means that somehow, around 7:05 EST every day, I find my way to a TV or a radio to cheer my beloved Red Sox to glory. Now as you can well imagine, it has not been easy to do so in the middle of the sea halfway across the world. On that note, however, there have been some serious efforts made on the part of the Argonauts to keep apprised of the situation. If you haven't yet heard, the Red Sox won the World Series last night with a series sweep of the Colorado Rockies and my world was completed again! Having resorted to tape a cell phone to the hatch of the fo'c'sl (the forward room) to ensure optimum reception, it was announced over the PA system at approximately 10am local time and the celebrating began. We laughed and cried and sang our hearts out to "Dirty Water," but now it is time to move on and sail. (Editor's note: Phil doesn't remember much else from this day, but we actually had a beautiful morning of sailing, arrived in Essaouira safely, and are looking forward to exploring shore tomorrow).

Sunday, October 28, 2007

road to Essaouira

Author: Doug
Location: underway
Day 45, our halfway point, began early as we bid farewell to Morocco's main oil refinery in Mohammedia and set sail south towards Essaouira. As we proceeded towards our destination, 175nm away, we dodged local fishing boats and their traps. Strong northerly winds allowed us to cut the engine and sail through the smooth waters along the coast.



Oct 28 Argo Update

Erick calls in with some great details from the crew's first experience in Morocco. The tour was a great experience and as Argo sails south to her next Arabian port all are excited to see more of Morocco.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Mr. Sugar's "good idea" is "not a problem"

Author: Erick
Location: Mohammedia, Morocco
To Casablanca! An awe inspiring tour of the third largest mosque in the world and the flamboyant antics of our animated tour guide - Mr. Sugar, from Fez - left us eager and grateful for an authentic four course Moroccan meal. Although this might justly be described as one of our more "touristy" days ashore, our bus-and-foot tour of Casablanca gave us an invaluable window into the lifestyle and economy of urban Morocco. With obligatory souvenirs stowed and a few extra dirham in our pockets, we hit the rack with anticipation for our continued voyage south along the Atlantic coast of Africa and beyond. A wise man once said that every boat can be a submarine, but only some can come back up. In the words of Mr. Sugar, "Good idea!"





Friday, October 26, 2007

Africa

Author: Michael P.
Location: Mohammedia, Morocco
We were underway, heading along with the Atlantic coast of Morocco, eagerly anticipating to capture sight again of the African shore. The Moroccan coastline is generally low and sandy, thus, making it unclear as to when exactly it will appear. After a beautiful passage we finally arrived at Mohammedia, just east of Casablanca. The temperature has noticeably risen, which sets a good atmosphere. Marine biology took place this evening with guest lecturer Simon talking about marine birds. Overall, it has been a very relaxing and enjoyable day. We now await for tomorrow's exploration on land. Thank you.





Thursday, October 25, 2007

welcome to the Atlantic Ocean

Author: Danie
Location: underway
We began the day with a quick fuel up and then set out to the straits of Gibraltar. Everyone was excited to pull out into the Med and see Europe to our starboard, Africa to port, and the Atlantic dead ahead. After an energetic all hands effort to raise the sails, watch two carried us through the straits with some musical entertainment from Matt and Simon, which was only interrupted by swarms of flying ants overtaking the deck as we crossed into the ocean around lunch time. Not to worry, our fearless bosun Dan and his deckies fixed the problem (after I squished most of them with my boots). Our first activity on the ocean was an MTE class on tides, which was most appropriate as we just started experiencing these in Gibraltar, and then an OCE class. Mani and I sighted a large sea turtle waving us hello as we came around the coast of Morocco. Kevin made us a delicious dinner of spaghetti and meatballs, which was followed by a simultaneous and heavenly sunset and moonrise. Spirits are high in the salon, everyone is very excited to get to Africa and work on OCE projects. Watch one has just taken over for a beautiful, moonlit 9-12pm watch to carry us into tomorrow.





Wednesday, October 24, 2007

klepto monkeys

Author: Kate
Location: Gibraltar
After a sound night's sleep post passage, the crew of Argo started their first day in Gibraltar with a thorough wash down on and below deck. Afterwards we ventured out to enjoy "the rock." Some took the sky tram to the scenic views from the summit, while others hiked or taxied to Ape's Den, where they got to experience Gibraltar's infamously kleptomaniac apes first hand. Tomorrow we'll head out to Morocco, leaving the Med behind and setting our sights on the Atlantic for the first time on this voyage.


Oct 24 Argo Update

Argo's Second Mate, Kate calls in from Gibraltar. After exploring "the rock" the crew is excited to depart into the Atlantic as they set sail for Morocco in the morning.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

we made it!

Author: Jenna
Location: Gibraltar
Today we completed our voyage to Gibraltar! To begin our day, the crew mustered together for a challenging lunch. We all squeezed together in the cockpit and ate sandwiches. Watch team four took over from noon to three pm. We had a fun watch because on bow watch each of us got soaked head to toe from the waves. After watch we hung out and prepared to arrive in Gibraltar. The dock we are staying at is very nice, with warm showers and fancy boats around us. It is Isabelle's 18th birthday today so at dinner we made a cake for her! PSCT took place after the meal and those who weren't in class were able to explore the quaint town. All in all a great day!

Monday, October 22, 2007

underway

Author: Mike R.
Location: underway
Today was a relatively calm and standard day on Argo. We are underway enroute to Gibraltar sailing close hauled with the prevailing winds coming from almost exactly where we want to be heading, requiring frequent tacks. The wind has been blowing tons of waves and spray over the deck making this the wettest passage yet. Today has been a great day for wild life, with frequent but short visits from dolphins off our bow, a few Minke whales at lunch time, and a large pod of 10-12 pilot whales following us at dinner time. We've kept with the watch cycle we are all so familiar with and a sighting of Africa is keeping morale high for what's to come.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

leaving Cartagena

Author: John
Location: underway
We woke chipper for breakfast after a wonderful night out. French toast made for a great breakfast. We then had four informative presentations in PSCT, followed by one last shower. We had lunch and MTE at the dock and left around 1400. I just saw Africa- cool! The weather is great, making 6 knots under sail. Couldn't be happier!

Oct 21 Argo Update

Ryan calls in with details of the crew's trekking day on the south coast of Spain. A great time was had by all as the crew stretched their legs and enjoyed some time ashore.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

beach hike

Author: Ryan
Location: Cartagena, Spain
Today we had a 7am breakfast on the dock and immediately left for Los Balones to do an incredible hike along the coast. We had to hike the coast through swarms of mosquitoes. Then we followed the coast to a huge, flat, sandy beach. Half of us, mainly the guys, played a couple games of ultimate Frisbee (my favorite) while the rest laid out and went swimming. All of us really enjoyed today's expedition and I think it will be a fond memory for everyone. Later in the night everyone went out to watch the championship rugby match, England vs. South Africa. Overall we had a fantastic day , followed by a great night out.

Friday, October 19, 2007

missing you

Author: Bret
Location: Cartagena, Spain
Today we arrived in Cartagena, Spain. I got to dock Argo early this morning in between rain storms. There was a test tonight, I hope I did well. All in all it was a pretty great day exploring the town of Cartagena. I really miss everyone and I wish you were here for the experiences.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

underway to Cartagena

Author: Dan
Location: underway
Today we awoke early to haul back the anchor and set sail for Cartagena. With 5 sails set we headed out to sea to begin our 130 mile passage. The crew broke into watch teams shortly thereafter which allowed us to rotate through navigating, steering, and checking the boat during our watches. We enjoyed a mid-day break from the watch schedule for lunch and class during this time the crew was introduced to the Nav Master portion of MTE and learned about Bony Fish in Marine Bio. After the mid-day hiatus we continued with watch teams underway throughout the night, gathering again for dinner at 1800. The sailing was good and the company superb, another magnificent day at sea on Argo.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

productive day

Author: Zoe
Location: Formentera, Spain
Today was a productive day for the scuba divers, as we split into two groups and completed open water two (one group in the morning and one in the afternoon), and the rescue divers completed certain skills. Some down time was spent studying and relaxing, and some brief shore time was allotted to those who wanted it. Just before dinner the anchorage was moved, and the boat prepared for tomorrow's passage. An oceanography class will conclude the day in Formentera.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

football and Formentera

Author: Mani
Location: Formentera, Spain
At about 9am all were roused to strike sails and anchor alongside the beautiful beach and landscape of Formentera. A few shipmates headed to shore after we dropped anchor. The rest hung out and studied until lunch. We had some great grilled cheese sandwiches, had a quick cleanup, and then most remaining folks went to shore to explore, play some American and non- American ("real") football. Those remaining aboard enjoyed some quiet school time and got some work done on Argo's systems. A storm rolled in late in the afternoon and we had dinner down below, followed by MTE and watching a movie for SLD class. We'll be keeping a vigilant anchor watch tonight, enjoying the lightning shows off to starboard.

Monday, October 15, 2007

open water diving

Author: Simon
Location: Puerto Portals, Mallorca, Spain
We raised the anchor and motored briefly up to Puerto Portals to anchor next to a rocky point with clear water to spend the day getting the crew through some of their dive training. The open water divers were cycled through their first real dive to approximately thirty feet, and the rest of the crew went ashore to stock up on candy and soda for the passage to Formentura, eighty nautical miles to the south. At 2100 we departed in calm seas and fair winds with the stars to guide us.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Palma

Author: Chris
Location: Palma, Mallorca, Spain
We spent a glorious day ashore in Palma. The weather was warm which lent itself to people lounging on the beach and exploring this beautiful community. Many of us made a day of visiting the internet that we hadn't had access to in what seems like weeks. All of us ate splendidly, some people even found an American style diner. All in all it was a beautiful day in Palma.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

yacht heaven

Author: Evan
Location: Palma, Mallorca, Spain
The lovely and dramatic island of Mallorca and her yacht filled capital city of Palma awaited us after a morning of BA and a lunch of sandwiches. We motored closer to the marina but were denied a slip because of it was full of mega yachts waiting for hurricane season to pass before they crossed the Atlantic. After anchoring off of a beach and being shuttled ashore, many spectacular sights, smells, and tastes were experienced by everyone. Of particular interest were the cathedral surrounded by meticulously manicured gardens and palm trees, the gigantic marina, and the quaint old town. We were treated to an amazing meal of mashed potatoes, balsamic marinated chicken with bell peppers and onions, fresh green beans, and a salad with homemade vinaigrette by our head chef Phil and his helpers. We are looking forward to a night out and whatever Palma brings to us tomorrow.

Friday, October 12, 2007

the sea has begun to shape us

Author: Matt
Location: Palma, Mallorca, Spain
The seas did not cease to press Argo and her crew for what might have been their most challenging day yet. As we made way for the Spanish island of Mallorca, the seas began to intensify sometime in the morning hour. As I stuck my head out of the companion way for a fresh look on the new day I was greeted with a rushing wave of sea water. This made it apparent that we were in some high seas. Fifteen foot swells continued to grow and vanish with us in between them. The crew quickly began to don their foul weather gear as the swells continued to roll up and spray across the deck. Lunch was a challenge, but we all faced it with a smile. As we rounded Isla Dragonera the seas began to settle. Class took place as usual, and the watches resumed. As we neared our destination watch two was on deck to bring us to anchor. Just before dropping anchor the rain began to fall. All able hands were topside as sails were flaked and covers danced in the fresh water bath. The rain provided for anther dinner in the salon, which I believe the crew is becoming fond of. A chance to sit around together while enjoying a meal is a nice change. The day was an adventure and a challenge of elements and limits. The crew met their task with a well shaped attitude, for what is only a preparation of what our not so distant future may hold.

Oct 12 Argo Update

Matt calls after the passage from Corsica to Mallorca.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

sailing and fishing

Author: Kevin
Location: underway
Another day at sea with no land in sight until late at night! Argo passed the 1000nm mark right after lunch and it is starting to show in the crew. Everyone knows the jobs and what has to be done. It has been a beautiful day of sailing with sun and enough wind to keep the engine off most of the day. Fishing was much more successful today with between 4-6 fish caught, depending on who you ask. We kept three for dissections and saved the meat for dinner. The rest of the day was spent with our watch teams, we hope to arrive in Palma at some point tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

with no land in sight

Author: Rachel
Location: underway
From sun up to sun down the crew of Argo enjoyed 360 degree views of nothing but water. It was a pretty uneventful day that began with sailing but switched to motoring early this morning. We had a bit of excitement right after lunch when Bret almost caught us another tuna. As visions of a fish dissection (instead of the upcoming marine bio and oceanography classes) and fresh fish for dinner danced in our heads, Simon reached down to haul the tuna in only to have it slip free and swim safely away- much to Beaker's delight. Visions scattered, we went on with cleanup and trudged to class. Apparently another fish was caught and released while we were in class, so our fish dinner will have to wait for another day.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

shore day, night sail

Author: Will
Location: underway
Today we woke up to a wonderful breakfast of coffee cake and yogurt! After cleanup and marine bio class we were left loose to explore Corsica. I'm not sure where Corsica is located but it is somewhere in France. There was not much to explore unless you decided to hike up to the wind turbines which a few crew members did and really enjoyed. I did not hike up to them but while on another hike I could hear the blades rotating and was really excited to be so close to one. It is 8pm and we are on our way to Mallorca. The night sky is clear and gorgeous looking. Hopefully we will catch some good wind on our longest passage yet of 330nm. Another fantastic and successful day!

Oct 10 Argo Update

Skipper of the day Abby checks in after their passage from Elba to Corsica. The crew had a great sail and is very excited to explore this island steeped in history.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Island hop

Author: Abby
Location: Centuri, Corsica
We reported on deck at 7am to ready the boat for our short passage to Corsica. We left Elba as the sun rose with a light wind over our starboard side. The wind came and went. In between breakfast and lunch we had a sweet sail with a little heel on the side. We came into Corsica around 3:30pm and proceeded to swim and bathe in the clear waters. We are now anchored for the night and will see the port the following day. We were sad to leave Elba but Corsica looks like it has some potential for both on shore and off adventures!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Down and back up again

Author: Mike H.
Location: Elba, Italy
Following the anchor dragging the night before, we woke up for breakfast and then moved the boat back to where we were diving. The open water divers found some pretty good conditions again today and we finished up most of our training. Following a lunch of grilled cheese, those who dove in the morning hiked up to a castle that gave us an incredible view of the island of Elba. It was awesome, and gave us some incredible pictures of the sea. The wind picked up again and we had to move the boa back to the calm side of the harbor. We had dinner and concluded the exciting day well.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Diving into it

Author: Mike C.
Location: Elba, Italy
Well today was an action packed, fun filled day. The crew split up today into two groups, which alternated between open water diving and sailing dinghies. So we managed to finally get into the water for our first confined water dives. I think everyone enjoyed it, although I think a few were spluttering about for a while before swimming like fish. We also rented some small dinghies for the crew to try out their small boat skills! The wind was light but I am sure I saw a few heeled over nicely. This evening a small squall came in, some thunder and lightning but it was all over before we settled down to a PSCT quiz and class.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Elba

Author: Myla
Location: Elba, Italy
We ate breakfast, had marine bio and oceanography, then headed out. Half went to explore Elba and some did rescue dive stuff. Elba was gorgeous. I think I'll be back someday. A lot of people were (are) super stressed about the bio exam, so they didn't see much. The squeeze question was what do you believe? Interesting responses Shower time was the best! Good day so far. P.S. we really disgusted Italians by the way we ate our ice cream hehe.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

sailing to Elba

Author: Dan K.
Location: Elba, Italy
Our day began with a 5am wakeup to depart from Civitavechia. Once everybody had made their way onboard, we put up the sails and made our way towards Elba. Our voyage was short and sweet, guided by smooth seas and clear skies. We arrived at Elba after about 12 or 13 hours underway. It was beautiful, surrounded by picturesque hills capped in grey fog. Tomorrow we will dive, and it should be a lot of fun.

Oct 4 Argo Update

Dan calls in with some exciting details of the day in Rome and the following day before the crew pulled up stakes and headed to Elba where they are now looking forward to doing some SCUBA diving.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Catching up

Author: Beaker
Location: Civitavechia, Italy
Today has been a fairly relaxed day. The crew had scheduled to keep this day free to catch up on school work and other necessary tasks. So this morning after a delicious breakfast from the head chef Bret and his team everyone set to their personal challenges. Many stayed back to work on essays, study for exams or catch up on their journals after a hectic day in Rome yesterday. There was also plenty of time to explore the city of Civitavechia, stock up on treats for our up coming passage and drop off laundry. We were all back aboard by 4:30, showering and preparing the boat for our passage to Elba tomorrow. We have just had dinner and are getting ready for an exam review session for the open water students, finalizing the dry - classroom - portion of their scuba course, and the rescue divers are taking their exam. Then it will be an early night as we will begin our passage early tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Civitavechia and Rome

Author: A.J.
Location: Civitavechia, Italy
We woke up this morning for an early breakfast in preparation for our long day exploring Rome. I happened to be the skipper of the day for such an awesome event, so I was responsible for briefing my fellow shipmates and crew. I suggested some comfortable shoes, camera, a lot of water, and even some rain gear. Breakfast was finished and we did some walking and a little train ride, then we shortly ended up in Rome. I was shocked to see many of the sights, hundreds of different statues and ancient ruins, all made for great photos. This was a full day event but at 6 o'clock we gathered in the middle of Rome and had our squeeze with everyone looking at us. We proudly continued to dinner. Dinner was fantastic. We sat down at a restaurant and had antipasto, or appetizers, brought out to us "hungry Americans," one right after another, until we were satisfied. Great people, great food, great sights, loved Rome- A.J.

Monday, October 1, 2007

happy October!

Author: Anna
Location: Civitavechia, Italy
This morning started off with a welcome little lie-in after our arrival in Civitavechia at midnight. After a delicious breakfast of French toast prepared by Zoe, Erick, and Will, the crew split into their boat appreciation jobs and gave Argo a good clean. While John and Abby were up the mast polishing the spreaders, Chris and Dani went provisioning, bosun Rachel led her crew of deckies, Kevin, Philip, and Bret washed the chain locker, and a stellar crew down below made the salon and galley sparkle. After lunch the basic seamanship class reviewed lights, anchoring, reefing, and docking in preparation for their upcoming midterm, then most of the crew spent the afternoon exploring the busy city of Civitavechia. The chefs, along with guest star Philip, prepared an amazing dinner of chicken and eggplant parmesan that will not be soon forgotten. An oceanography quiz and slide show and a bit of evening shore time will close out this busy day for Argo's crew.