Friday, November 30, 2007

a little bit of this, a little bit of that Dominica style

Author: Abby
Location: Roseau, Dominica
Today was full like a puffer fish. We started off diving in the morning with Dive Dominica. We loaded up on the dive boats, moored at two different reefs, and went down to a max depth of 60ft. We then went to shore to explore Roseau, the capital city of Dominica. The vibrant colors and friendly people made an excellent place to check out, not to mention some good eats. We finished off with a swim with the local kids and a good dinner. All in all Dominica has been an excellent intro to the Caribbean.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

the boiling lake hike

Author: Isabelle
Location: Roseau, Dominica
We woke up early this morning to go on the boiling lake hike. We met Pancho and Sea Cat, our guides for the day, on the dock. We then drove through town and towards the rainforest. We hiked up to the top of a mountain, it was amazing. The lush vegetation, the muddy pathways, the heat and the rain were very refreshing. Also it felt good to be able to really walk around for the first time since we left the Cape Verdes. As we descended down the steep steps on the other side of the mountain, we started to smell the sulfur of the hot spring. We climbed down a rocky hillside and into the valley of desolation. There was steam blowing by us as we ate our lunch with natural mud masks on. We continued our hike towards the boiling lake. It was amazing sight, looking over the steep ledge into a huge bubbling lake. On our way back we stopped and bathed in the hot springs. The hike ended at the Titou gorge, an amazing swim spot through the rock walls in the cold water to a waterfall that was almost completely enclosed by the tall rocks. We then cruised back to the dock listening to reggae.

Nov 29 Argo Update

Capt Simon calls in to update us on the current seismic activities in the Caribbean. The crew is well and the days activities were unaffected by the initial quake and subsequent tremors.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Dominica and the sweet taste of land

Author: Phil
Location: Roseau, Dominica
Argo made her final turn on the Atlantic passage around the south point of Dominica as the sun crept up from where we came. After being surrounded by blue for so long, there was something strange and majestic about the intense green of the island. We set to sanding the cap rails and beautifying the boat as soon as our island friend Pancho helped us anchor stern to with our lines made fast around a rock and a palm tree. Our mid afternoon swim was fun and playful and this is when most of us re-acquainted ourselves with terra firma. Now we're off for a night out!

Nov 28 Argo Update

Capt Simon calls in from Dominica after Argo's arrival. The crew enjoyed the two week passage and are very excited to explore the lush tropical island of Dominica. Stay tuned for more podcasts and surf over to www.seamester.com to see some of the photos and written log entries from the passage.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

land in sight

Author: Doug
Location: underway
296 hours after leaving our friends in Cape Verde the crew of the Argo sighted land. At 22:47, a "land-ho" was sounded by the ever attentive bow watch, setting off a celebration that would last until daybreak. The winner of the estimation for time of first sight of land was the expert mathematician Rachel who calculated almost to the second when we would see the beautiful sight of a Martinique lighthouse. We were welcomed to the Caribbean Sea by a pod of dolphins who played off the bow multiple times today. Tomorrow we will make landfall.

Nov 27 Argo Update

Argo closes in on Dominica as they are a bit over 120 miles east of the island making around 7kts. Look for some photos from the passage in the next day or two.

Monday, November 26, 2007

bobbing about the big blue

Author: Erick
Location: underway
The skies are generally clear and the stars are bright! A Minke whale joined us early in the afternoon, making passes only feet away alongside, remaining for a few hours. An escort for our arrival in the Caribbean, perhaps. At dinner we submitted our estimates on the time an nature of our first sight of land, along with $1 for the pot; by tomorrow night or the next morning we should have a winner. Doug spotted a bottle six days ago Mars is still in Gemini

Nov 26 Argo Update

Argo near the Eastern Caribbean! Landfall should be early Wednesday morning as they are down to around 300 nautical miles to go.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

goodbye full moon

Author: Mike P.
Location: underway
It is the eleventh day on this truly amazing passage. Though seemingly long, we are accustomed to a great rhythm of life onboard Argo. Days blend together and what separates them mostly is the sunrise and sunset. The evening and early hours of the morning have been bright as the day lit up by the moon. We carry out our watches on three hour shifts on a continuous basis with lunch and classes running through 12-3pm. An OCE quiz and review followed by a Blue Planet documentary were penciled in for day 73. The ocean and sky are typically presented as blue, but take a closer look and so many color, shapes, sounds, smells, and tastes can be experienced at any moment. Just like the full moon has already started to fade away, this voyage is gradually coming to an end by the day. The tradewinds are allowing us to sail around 7-8 knots. Thank you.

Nov 25 Argo Update

Michael calls in to update us on Argo's westward progress. Argo continues to make good time as she sails along at 7.5kts. The current plan is to make landfall on the island of Dominica.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

full moon and flying fish

Author: Danie
Location: underway
So it was a great day at sea. Watch one hit 5000nm for the entire trip on their 12-3am watch, which was a momentous mark, though most of us were sleeping soundly. Good winds have kept us sailing all day and everyone yearning for borrowed helm time. I'm still waiting for someone to break my record of 11.1 knots though! We had one of our last MTE classes today, which is sad, but has gotten the crew fired up for our final NavMaster test coming up soon. OCB followed and then some bucket shower time. Kevin and crew made us some yummy and spicy chilli. We had an early squeeze at 5:15 where I asked about everyone's bad habits they have or want to give up, after a day of trying to pass along the good habit of trying to give at least three compliments a day. With that said, Argo, you are beautiful and I love the way you sail.

Nov 24 Argo Update

The Saturday the 24th update from Argo. The tradewinds have kicked in and the crew is in high spirits as the put in some good miles under sail.

Friday, November 23, 2007

tradewind sailing

Author: Kate
Location: underway
Today was our first full day since setting the clocks back and for me, it began with an 0300-0600 watch. This was a treat since the winds had picked up overnight and the sun is still rising relatively early. So by 0430, our entire watch was enjoying a gorgeous sunrise over the open Atlantic as we cruised along at speeds averaging nearly 10 kts. Dani broke our current semester's speed record by logging 11.1 kts and the watch team celebrated a total of 28 nautical miles during the three hour watch - all great numbers. The rest of the crew began waking for breakfast soon thereafter and the smells of fried eggs and pancakes took over the deck. After lunch, there were oceanography and marine biology classes, along with an impromptu "bathtime" when some inspired souls beat the heat by scrubbing one of our dinghies clean and then filling it with buckets of sea water and some bubble bath solution. The sun set early for us, and we all enjoyed a dinneron deck under the near full moon. All in all, another contented day in the Atlantic.


Thursday, November 22, 2007

gobble gobble!

Author: Jenna
Location: underway
Happy thanksgiving! Today Argo reached its halfway point across our journey. Watches were in place throughout the morning. After classes (MTE and PSCT), we changed our clocks back three hours and had a wonderful afternoon of intense sailing. Argo almost reached ten knots- the wind and waves were unforgettable. As a crew, we decided to dress up for thanksgiving. Various costumes, including a turkey, were all present during our fabulous dinner. The chefs did a spectacular job with dinner. There were two lines full of main dishes and desserts. Everyone was so happy and impressed with the meal. We will always remember this thanksgiving as a crew. What a day to be thankful for!

Nov 22 Thanksgiving Argo Update

Jenna calls in to update us on Argo's position and the crew's mid-Atlantic Thanksgiving plans.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

day seven underway

Author: Mike R.
Location: underway
Today started like any other day at sea so far on this trip. In the morning we had around 1200nm to cover until landfall, and the watches went through the rotations flawlessly until lunch and class time. At night many seized the opportunity to watch a movie or get to bed early. Never a dull day on Argo.


Nov 21 Argo Update

Mike calls in from Argo on the day before Thanksgiving. The wind has picked up and the crew has gotten to do some sailing as they pass the half way point in their crossing. About a thousand miles to go and the weather is forecast to keep them sailing for most of the rest of the crossing.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

day six across the pond

Author: John
Location: underway
It was another calm day on the Atlantic. The crew enjoyed the warmth and sunshine. It was a day of studying as we prepared for the first Yachtmaster exam. Besides that and a game of "murder," there wasn't a whole lot else going on. We stood our watches and enjoyed plenty of peaceful time of reflection. Some people even took part on their afternoon to practice up on splicing. It was over as fast as it began though. Time seems to run together at sea in my mind. It is as we get in a rhythm and just go with it. Keep on trucking.

Nov 20 Argo Update

John calls in for the November 20th update. The wind is increasing and the outlook for some good sailing is very good!

Monday, November 19, 2007

day five of the Atlantic crossing

Author: Ryan
Location: underway
Once again, we had a beautiful day of calm weather and sunshine. We have really gotten into the routine of being at sea every day; two three hour watches a day, two classes at the same time every day, seeing your watch team members at every waking moment. It has really been nice getting to this point, and it feels great. I'm loving these longer passages, and I think that the whole crew shares this feeling. On the flip side, I cannot wait to arrive in the Caribbean, see land, and step foot on good old solid ground. I'm sure it will be a spectacular achievement.


Nov 19 Argo Update

Ryan updates us on day 5 of Argo's Atlantic crossing. The crew stopped for a mid-ocean swim as the weather is amazingly calm.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

floating castle

Author: Bret
Location: underway
Today was a pretty hot day. Things are starting to heat up a bit as we enter the tropics. The highlight of the day started last night. This is when the three to six watch saw a glowing light far off in the distance. When the sun came up and we got closer we realized it was an oil rig. How cool- an oil rig being towed by two boats across the Atlantic. The fun did not stop there. We also had a great swim and some super cool fun in the science labs. It turned out to be a pretty eventful day for being in the middle of the middle of an ocean.

Nov 18 Argo Update

Argo continues west despite a lack of wind in their sails. Lots of good fishing, marine science coursework and the occasional spotting of a colossal oil rig under tow are keeping the crews spirits up. The wind is forecast to build again in the coming days so stay tuned.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

a whale of a day

Author: Dan W.
Location: underway
Today Argo continued making way towards the Caribbean as the crew aboard began to settle into the natural routine of watch teams. The highlights of the day were various whale sightings, a mid-day swim call, and several successful reductions of celestial navigation sights by the crew. Students learned about coral reefs in Marine Biology class and listened to fellow crew members present their research on marine engineering topics after lunch. Class was interrupted by a few mahi-mahi bites but unfortunately our catches were a little too small to eat so they were released. Nonetheless we enjoyed a tasty chicken dinner and continued to motorsail into the magnificent sunset.


Nov 17 Argo Update

First Mate Dan calls in with an update from the chart house of Argo as she makes her way across the Atlantic. The wind remains light and the seas are quite calm. While these are not great sailing conditions it is allowing for some wonderful fishing and also allows the crew to keep a focus on their academic projects.

Friday, November 16, 2007

day two of Atlantic passage

Author: Zoe
Location: underway
Passage continued as usual today, rotating through the normal three hour watch team schedule. After our break for soup and Cobb salad for lunch, we continued the afternoon with an MTE class followed by an OCE class up on deck in the beautiful, sunny weather. Just before our 1800 muster for the squeeze and dinner, Bret caught and released a small female mahi mahi. We're looking forward to more enjoyable passage days.

Nov 16 Argo Update

Zoe calls in after the first day of Argo's Atlantic crossing from Cape Verde tot he Caribbean. The weather is very stable and with winds in the 12-15kt range and for the time being the winds still have a good bit of north in them so the sailing is good.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

start of our Atlantic crossing

Author: Mani
Location: underway
Today is one many of us have been eagerly anticipating- the start of our Atlantic passage from the Cape Verdes to Grenada in the Caribbean. We had some shore time this morning to tie up any loose ends- the last call home or email sent. Some also went to a local school to drop off some baby food (which made its way onboard at some point in our Moroccan provisioning). We got Argo ready to sail while awaiting our turn at the fuel dock. After a top off we set sail to a good beginning- the engine is off and we are sailing out to open ocean with a top speed of 10.6 knots! What a great beginning to our longest passage yet. We're all very excited and enjoying the first day.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

arrival in the Cape Verdes

Author: Simon
Location: Cape Verdes
At 0800 we dropped anchor in a small bay inside the bustling port of Mindelo in the Cape Verde Islands. Local ferries and small inter island traders were tied up along side and rusty and expired freighters lay at anchor or foundered on the beach to leeward. Oddly enough a US submarine was also in port and its crew were busy in many of the same pursuits as ours; internet and junk food. After clearing in and cleaning the boat from a week at sea we sent the crew ashore to assist with the daunting task of provisioning in small local markets for 30 people on an Atlantic Crossing. Everyone had some time to explore and the reports were that the Island's people were hospitable and kind and the city was lively and colorful. We had carried two large duffle bags of clothing along on the trip to distribute in Cape Verde. Abby made contact with a local orphanage and we transported the clothing up to the director. After an eventful afternoon everyone was back aboard and ready to continue with preparations for our Atlantic crossing, in hopes of getting underway tomorrow.

Nov 14 Argo Update

Captain Simon calls in from The Cape Verde Islands where the crew prepares for the Atlantic crossing.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

don't let it get away!

Author: Chris
Location: underway
It's a beautiful day! From sunrise to sunset the good ship Argo sailed (and motored) at a steady pace, bringing us that much closer to the Cape Verde Islands. Watches went through their duties and those not on watch spent their time studying and enjoying the weather. Oceanography taught us the interactions of water molecules in their grander form of waves, and the rest of our class time was spent learning about the long anticipated coral seas. The beauty of the ocean is hard to express, but the overall feeling is the ship, in my opinion, is one of peace and contentment.


Nov 13 Argo Update

Chris calls in from Argo as she slowly makes her way to Cape Verde. The crew should arrive at first light on Wednesday morning.

Monday, November 12, 2007

a day underway

Author: Evan
Location: underway
Today was another gorgeous day spent in the beautiful Atlantic. The weather did not supply a steady wind, but it did supply our team of sunbathers with a cloudless sky. We had OCE and PSCT today where we learned about ocean currents and weather, respectively. Dinner was great, everyone filled themselves to the brim and will soon go to sleep dreaming of what adventures the Cape Verde Islands will bring.



Nov 12 Argo Update

Evan reports in with the November 12th Argo Podcast. The passage continues to go well although the wind speed has decreased a bit but there is promise that it will return in the next day or so.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

a fair day

Author: Matt
Location: underway
The seas have been quite fair to us thus far and today is no exception. The calm sailing has brought a sense of solace over the crew that seems to resonate from that around us. Warm tropical showers are enjoyed on deck, as the water temp is a roaring 80 degrees farenheit. Life onboard is perceived well by all lately and the anticipation of the crossing post Cape Verdes is growing. We are getting just a taste of the quality sailing that the trade winds hold for us. Flying fish are now a regular sight off the bow as we break through the ominous ocean before us. I believe we could not ask for more pleasant times at this point in our journey. Now brings the closure to another day of life onboard our home Argo.






Nov 11 Argo Update

Matt calls us from Argo as she continues her passage to The Cape Verde Islands. The wind is back and the crew is sailing Argo well.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

tropical!

Author: Kevin
Location: underway
Today was a bright, sunny day underway. The wind has been light and we have gone back and forth between motoring and sailing. We made one repair to the fisherman rigging in the morning and sent Evan up the mast to repair it. In the afternoon we crossed the 3000nm mark on the trip, and about 6nm later we entered into the tropics. The water has also gotten warmer and the crew enjoyed our time to swim and do some back flips off the bow. Overall it has been a great day.

Nov 10 Argo Skippers Report

The school ship Argo came to the aide of a small vessel some 140 nautical miles from land. Captain Simon Koch gives us a detailed report of the actions taken by Argo's crew to drop food, water and fuel to what was believed to be boat of refugees before taking action to alert the Spanish Maritime Rescue Coordination Center (MRCC) in Las Palmas of the vessel's position and situation. The MRCC sent a spotter airplane out to verify the location of the boat and a tugboat was dispatched to tow the vessel and it's crew to safety in Tenerife.

Nov 10 Argo Update

Kevin calls in from the charthouse of Argo as she heads south and west in the Atlantic Ocean en route to The Cape Verde Islands of the west coast of Africa.

Friday, November 9, 2007

a day like no other

Author: Rachel
Location: underway
Today began like any ordinary day underway, but that soon changed. Everyone was awoken for lunch, after which we had an MTE class. Right as we were about to start, a Minke whale was seen off our port quarter, thus postponing class for a few minutes while a few of us ran up to check it out. Halfway through class a pod of about ten pilot whales came upon us and everyone ran on deck to watch the whales pass us. Some of the whales came within five feet of the boat, surfacing long enough for people to attempt snapping some photos. As we headed back to finish class we marveled at how cool it was that our class had just been interrupted because a pod of whales was passing that's not something that happens every day. We finished MTE and were starting into our PSCT class when Simon was called on deck because a small motorboat was approaching us waving flags. We soon realized it was a small, fifty foot wooden boat full of refugees from Africa, we presume. We decided to help them out as best we could, and gathered some spare food and water which we attached to a buoy we had found. We dropped the parcel overboard and moved away from it a bit before the boat approached it and picked it up. They seemed grateful but were still waving at us. We realized they were holding up empty fuel tanks and probably needed gas, so we prepared a spare canister of fuel and the shipmates gathered all the water bottles they could find to fill with more water. They also donated an abundance of precious personal snack food. Soon we had a very large and heavy trash bag full of more food and water, which we attached to the fuel container and several lifejackets. We dropped everything overboard and watched as the refugees struggled to get their boat started, but were eventually able to pick up our second package. We continued on our way but contacted the Spanish coast guard in the Canary Islands to alert them of the boat and give them their position. A few hours later we saw a search and rescue plane fly overhead and shortly afterward we were notified that the refugees had been found and a ship had stopped by them and would wait until a tugboat could get to them. We heard that approximately 800 people flee Africa every day, and as we enjoyed a delicious dinner and watched more whales swim past, many of us thought about what a different life the people of Africa must lead to have that many people trying to leave every day. We realized how truly fortunate we are onboard Argo, but also how unique of an opportunity we are having here.


Nov 9 Argo Update

Rachael calls in from Argo on passage from The Canaries to the Cape Verde islands.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

A slow beginning to our longest passage so far

Author: Will
Location: underway
Today we had some tasks to complete before making the 850nm journey to the Cape Verdes. It was a slow morning of settling up with immigrations, classes, and fueling up before we left around 1pm. I am pretty sure everyone is happy to be back underway and looking forward to our longest passage yet.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

in a little town called Las Palmas...

Author: Abby
Location: Las Palmas, Canaries
Today was a prime day to get a lot of those little things done before crossing the great abyss otherwise known as the Atlantic. We went on an informative dock walk this morning then had the day to ourselves. Las Palmas has an excellent HiperDino that has every possible watch food that a body could want, a number of cafes and other services. Everyone is back to good health and we're jellin anticipating the upcoming crossing!

Nov 7 Argo Update

Abby calls in from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria as the crew preps for the passage south and west to the Cape Verde Islands. Stay tuned for podcast updates becoming more frequent as the crew checks every day or so while at sea.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

arrival in Las Palmas

Author: Mike H.
Location: Las Palmas, Canaries
Following a calm night sail from Gran Tarajal to Las Palmas, we settled into our berth at about 9 o'clock or so. I brought us into the marina and Simon finished up flawlessly squeezing us between two boats. We had a very successful BA today and an extreme provisioning session that got us ready for our crossing. The group had a bit of time ashore after lunch that involved internet, personal provisions, and fresh water showers. Tomorrow we will be here and will get to explore a bit more, now that everyone is feeling better. Woohoo!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Guy who?

Author: Mike C.
Location: Fuerteventura, Canaries
Well on this 5th of November with gun powder, treason, and plot fortunately onboard Argo we haven't had any. Today was a wholesome day of diving and some time ashore. We started off this morning with open water dives three and four, finishing most peoples dive course, whilst others went shore. The afternoon was very similar, split only by an OCB lab and hull scrape to make Argo go that teensy bit faster across the ocean

Sunday, November 4, 2007

certified open water divers!

Author: Myla
Location: Fuerteventura, Canaries
Some people were feeling sick today, either that or getting better. Half of us finished the open water dives, and the rescue divers went in the afternoon. A few people went on shore. Later we had our VHF PSCT class I hope I passed! Worn out, we all went to sleep

Saturday, November 3, 2007

underway to the Canaries

Author: Dan K.
Location: Fuerteventura, Canaries
We arrived in the Canaries today after a two day passage from Morocco. The passage went smoothly as did anchoring. The islands seem very interesting, although it's hard to tell at night. Everyone is very excited for our dive tomorrow, which should be a lot of fun.


Nov 3 Argo Update

A hip-hop update from Argo?? For those not keen on rap music be patient.... once they get through the intro it becomes entertaining and informative. Stay tuned for less "hip" updates as the crew travels south and west in preparation for their trans Atlantic passage.

Friday, November 2, 2007

calm seas

Author: Beaker
Location: underway
We were up early today at 6am to leave Agadir. We cast off our dock lines and motored past the many small fishermen out in the bay at sunrise. Today was an important day for the crew; we switched up the watch teams, and began the watch rotation with our new team members. After lunch we had an MTE class and an OCE class. The Atlantic has been extremely calm today, like a lake for most of the morning. It was a great time to sit out on the bow sprit enjoying the company of our new watch team members. Following the lunchtime activities we had a man-over-board drill, we practiced a different technique to last time when we launched the rescue dinghy, today we practiced the figure-8 maneuver under sail, and sent in a rescue swimmer for the final grab. Phil volunteered for the task of rescue swimmer, we tied a line to him and kitted him out in a life vest before he dived in to rescue our large orange buoy! As the boat was hove-to it was then a perfect time for a shower in the Atlantic. The water has been about 62oF for the past few days along the coast of Morocco, possibly due to local upwelling. Today as we motored offshore it jumped back up to our more usual 70oF, making shower time pretty refreshing. We have just had dinner, prepared by Bret and his team, and the watch teams will continue into the night.


Thursday, November 1, 2007

surf day in Agadir

Author: AJ
Location: Agadir, Morocco
Today started off as a normal breakfast and the usual cleanup. But today was going to end up as no ordinary day. After cleanup we were accompanied by a man named Sufjian. This was Argo's first time with Sufjian so I think we were all a little skeptical on how he would treat us. He led us to an old beat up bus that we all piled into and made way for the beach that we were all meant to surf. The surf was small but perfect for beginners. Before the surf guides let us into the water they gave us a vigorous workout to get our blood flowing and get us stretched and ready to surf. After they released us into the sea we surfed for hours. There were about twenty boards but twenty seven of us so some people were playing great games of ultimate Frisbee and football as well. Sufjian even joined in on one of our football games and showed his fun playful side, he even gave our shipmate John a little tackle. We were served a nice lunch that has become popular known as tagine, and had a great fruit basket for lunch dessert. Afterwards the surfing went on as the waves seemed to grow, eventually dying down later in the evening. Everyone started to settle down as we all had an adventure packed day. The men that let us use the boards were good people as well as Sufjian and the people that fed us. This day was over as we all rode the bus home, with some of us considering surfing as a new hobby.