Thursday, January 31, 2008

360 degrees of blue

Author: Andrew
Location: underway
Today was the first full day of our passage to Bonaire, and there is no land in sight. Off the bow, stern, port, and starboard is water. You would think there is not too much to do on a 110 ft. boat, but there is a lot of activity aboard Argo. We have three watch teams that rotate through three hour shifts that go throughout all hours of the day. We raised the fisherman sail for the first time; that brings our sail count up to five. Now that we are all starting to get our sea legs life goes on as normal. Today was also the first time for us to have classes while on passage. We are making a transition from doing a bit of sailing then anchoring to sailing with a bit of anchoring here and there. Currently we have a guest aboard Argo from the office who helped build Argo. Jason is working on a celestial navigation certificate, so he can be seen on deck with a sextant, as well as providing conversation. It has been a good day and we are starting to get in the groove.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

exploring the streets

Author: Tory
Location: Fort de France, Martinique
We arrived in Fort de France, Martinique at 9am, and were free to explore the streets until 4pm. It was a busy day on shore with lots of shopping and eating. The rain started coming down when we returned to Argo and continued on while we got the boat prepped for passage. After class we began our passage to Bonaire.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Vive la France!

Author: Chantale
Location: St. Pierre, Martinique
We woke up very early this morning to raise our anchors and set sail for Martinique. It was a very calm passage and we made good speed; we arrived in St. Pierre in mid-morning. After we flaked our sails and cleared into Martinique, our first stop in French territory, we had a good part of the day to cruise around town and get to know St. Pierre. Several crew members went to the little museum on the eruption of Mount Pelee and the associated devastation on St. Pierre, others made it to the cemetery and other buildings that still show signs of the eruption; all enjoyed French food. After dinner we had a Student Leadership Development class.

Monday, January 28, 2008

breathing underwater

Author: Chandler
Location: Dominica
Day 14 aboard Argo began with a 7:30 breakfast, followed by my briefing of the crew on what the plan of attack was for the day. On paper the day seemed pretty simple and laid back. At 9:00 the first batch of newly certified scuba divers would go out and dive until 1pm, followed by a switch aboard Argo so us group 2 could go and dive. While one group would dive the other group would get some shore time to explore and grab a bite to eat. Well, breakfast ran late for reasons unforeseen and shore time got suspended until the heads were unclogged. So as the first group arrived on the docks for diving at exactly 9:00, group 2 was well at work cleaning the ship. Group 1 started out at a popular dive spot known as "Witch's Point." We saw sea turtles, an octopus, brightly colored parrot fish, and other exotic species mostly found in the Caribbean. We surfaced and took a 45 minute surface interval until our next dive, and then motored to a second spot named Soufriere. On this second dive the coral was breathtaking. We saw similar species on the second dive with exception to a seahorse and two abnormally large frogfish, Dominica's national fish. When we arrived back on Argo the transition went smoothly and group 1 went ashore and group 2 went to dive. As the day drew to an end the crew of Argo couldn't help but smile ear to ear, while the anticipation of what is still to come only made us smile more.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

adventure paradise land

Author: Cindy
Location: Dominica
The Argo crew took a grand tour of the island courtesy of SeaCat and Stowe (formerly known as Batman). Our tour was essentially of gastronomical nature and I have never eaten more exotic fruit in one day. We sampled everything from lime covered sugar cane (nature's lemonade) to fresh pounded cocoa to soursop to watermelon. In between we tasted mangoes, oranges, papayas, lemongrass, cassava cakes, coconuts, and my absolute favorite, grapefruit picked fresh from the tree. SeaCat and Stowe were most wonderful guides and finished our day in Dominica with a stop at two enormous waterfalls for a cold water bath because SeaCat told us "with SeaCat tours, you always stay clean." After a dip under the falls we soaked in some of the hot springs that seem to flow from every nook and cranny in this land of 365 rivers. It was a truly wonderful day on the island and as our vans steamed up and down the narrow mountain roads on our way back to Argo, blasting "Cash Money" reggae with SeaCat jiving in the driver's seat, I recalled his advice from 8am that morning: "let's just relax now and see what comes our way."

Saturday, January 26, 2008

hike to the boiling lake

Author: George
Location: Dominica
We woke up early this morning to meet Boomer's friend Pancho and the other guides for our hike to the world's only boiling lake, here in Dominica. En route to the lake we stopped to relax in a series of hot springs fed pools. After lunch at the lake we hiked down, returned to the boat for dinner and class, and went to bed early to prepare for another day in Dominica.

Friday, January 25, 2008

smooth sailing!

Author: Sydney
Location: Dominica
We left Antigua after dinner last night and sailed through the night to Dominica, where we anchored around noon. This was the first time we cut the engine off and relied on just wind power. It was so quiet and peaceful with the boat rocking slightly side to side and the waves lapping on the side of the hull. We gave Argo some appreciation with an intensive cleaning all afternoon. We also met one of Boomer's friends Pancho. We are looking forward to diving, touring, and hiking to a boiling lake in Dominica over the next couple of days.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

day ten

Author: Julia
Location: underway
Today we woke up at the normal time and enjoyed oatmeal for breakfast. After breakfast the crew took a "hike" to Shirley Heights for some science with Beaker. After the hike the crew explored Antigua for the afternoon, enjoying shore delights, email, and phone calls. We then returned to the boat and prepared for our departure to Dominica and had an excellent dinner of chicken scampi. The crew is excited to test our skills at sea once again as we prepare for the Pacific.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

arrival in Antigua

Author: Nathan D.
Location: Falmouth Harbour, Antigua
We arrived in Antigua early this morning before light. After a breakfast of cereal we spent the morning on BA- boat appreciation- washing Argo, polishing, flaking sails, etc. In the afternoon we all got to test our newly acquired sea legs on land for the first time. Everyone enjoyed the novelty sensation of rocking on land, and it was good to hear the general consensus that the crew loves Argo and was glad to be back on board at dinner time. We have our first free night out tonight, everyone is cleaned up fresh and Argo is looking her best.

Argo Arrives Antigua

Argo arrived safely in Falmouth Harbour, Antigua after a bumpy ride across the Anegada Passage. The crew is tidying the vessel and will get ashore later today. Look for updates to the blog soon!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

first passage

Author: Becky
Location: underway
Today was rough, but the crew really pulled through for those of us who weren't feeling so hot. We made it to Antigua all in one piece, after an exciting and eventful passage. We saw spinner dolphins and ten foot waves!

Monday, January 21, 2008

underway to Antigua

Author: Beaker
Location: underway
Watch team one mustered on deck at 0550 to set sail for Antigua. The crew were all eager to raise sails and begin the first of many passages this semester. We motored out of Gorda Sound as the sun rose behind a thick and rainy layer of clouds. We passed Necker Island and sailed out into the Anegada passage. The passage was fairly rough as we motored to windward into some big waves. We set a few sails for stability and they were filled slightly off the wind. During the passage we rotated through our three watch team, everyone standing a three hour watch. We gathered in the cockpit for lunch and dinner. All the crew are quickly learning the skills of the helm, bow watch, boat checks. It was a fun passage and I enjoyed getting to know our new crew better.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

intro to sailing

Author: Sami
Location: Gorda Sound
Today was amazing. We started off the morning with a mangrove snorkel and saw a lot of cool organisms, such as a baby barracuda and feather duster worms. After lunch we got an introduction to sailing with Julia and Graham on Hunter 216's. It was a blast! We ended the day with a passage meeting and prepping Argo for setting sail the following day.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

certified divers!

Author: Harrison
Location: Gorda Sound
After two nights at Mountain Point, we were ready to make some moves. A few of us were on deck to raise anchor at 0630, and we were off on a one hour motor to Coral Gardens. There, those finishing up their open water certification got to experience some deeper water, while those already certified got to explore. The highlight of the dive site was an airplane fuselage, affording those who found it a great swim through. Once all of Argo's crew was back onboard, we were off to Gorda Sound, about an hour away. Graham gave an informative deck and boat maintenance workshop preparing us for our duties as deckies and bosun. After a delish dinner of chicken parm, Beaker and Chantale gave an informative and exciting marine life slideshow for us all. Bedtime and anchor watch now!

Friday, January 18, 2008

a day of diving

Author: Alexi
Location: Mountain Point, Virgin Gorda
Today started with a lot of open water dives and our first marine bio class. After that the day consisted of more diving, mostly open water certifications and a few certified diver checkout dives. We had a little excitement with one of the forward heads as it exploded all over Dan! Haha! After that a few of the crew put up the flying jib, getting us one step closer to sailing! After everyone finished their dives and ate dinner, we concluded the evening with an oceanography class and divemaster exams. Everyone is now getting ready for a good night of sleep and anchor watch! Ciao!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

first underwater breathing

Author: Matt
Location: Mountain Point, Virgin Gorda
It was a busy and beautiful day on Argo. Those going for their open water scuba certifications spent the day in the shallow water working on their basic scuba skills. While the novice divers practiced, the more advanced divers helped reset the mainsail in preparation for our upcoming passages. In the evening, after a nice dinner of chili, we began our first class on basic seamanship.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

first day out

Author: Boomer
Location: Mountain Point, Virgin Gorda
Today we left the dock en route to Mountain Point. There was a lot to talk about today as we prepare for a very long voyage west. The new divers prepared for certification and the certified divers learned to operate a dive compressor. We had a big group swim test followed by a great dinner. The evening finished with some formal boat introductions as well as an introduction to the ever popular anchor watch.