Friday, February 29, 2008

welcome to the Galapagos

Author: Bridger
Location: San Cristobal, Galapagos
Another beautiful day aboard Argo, started even better than most. Waking to the sight of the Galapagos on the horizon meant a good BA, or boat appreciation, was ahead. Once we got close to shore we dropped the sails and motored into Wreck Bay, where we would be anchored for the next few days or two. We had lunch and then BA started by breaking up into groups by task. Topsides, galley, salon, heads, and engine room all had to get a deep cleaning. After a successful BA the crew had showers and then got cleaned up for an early dinner, which we had below while the immigration officer came aboard for inspection. After a quick dinner cleanup we rolled into our SLD class, where we watched a movie and were given an assignment to analyze the leaders in the film. After class the crew had some free time before heading to bed and starting anchor watch, kicked off by Cindy and Dani. Another good day full of hard work and fun.

Feb 28 Argo Update

Argo calls in with the mid cruise update on day 45 of the Spring 2008 Global Sea|mester. Andrew gives us details on a great day as the crew celebrates the crossing of the equator!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

crossing the line

Author: Andrew
Location: underway
There has been little wind so we have been motoring a good portion of the way to the Galapagos. I can tell we are getting closer because birds have been flying by and some of them are boobies, but it is unclear what type they are because they have their feet tucked away. After last night's Pollywog Revolt, where everyone dressed up as the opposite sex, it is hard to believe it could get any better. Well, it did. Today we crossed the equator at 87 degrees longitude. We continued with tradition and had the Line Crossing Interrogation. All the Pollywogs lined up on the starboard side and got blasted off with a fire hose into the Pacific. The night continued with a good squeeze question that got everyone in the singing mood. It was interrupted with a quick but heavy rain shower. After business was taken care of we got back to explaining what our theme song would be and doing our best to mimic it. Overall today couldn't have been better.

Feb 27 Argo Update

The day 44 update brings good news as a small amount of wind brings Argo near her first crossing of the equator!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Taking on a sailor's tradition

Author: Tory
Location: underway
The day started out rainy, but after lunch the clouds cleared and the afternoon was calm. Leah told us about a sailor's tradition in which everyone dresses up as the opposite sex during dinner on the eve before crossing the equator. After showers everyone went below to swap clothes and when the dress-wearing men were finished preparing dinner, we all met in the cockpit to compliment each other on our various looks.

Feb 26 Argo Update

Argo nears the Equator as she motors on in relatively calm weather. The wind has been very light and the crew has been busy taking advantage of the smooth seas to work on course materials and Argo herself. l

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Orcas and tunas

Author: Chantale
Location: underway
This was a great day of passage on Argo. The wind has been calm and seas very flat, and early after sunrise we spotted several orcas. We turned around to get a closer look and spent half an hour watching the pod, which included two large males, a few females and two juveniles. After a morning of calm seas, hot sun and stainless steel maintenance we had an afternoon of marine science; we first had a class about marine reptiles and birds, then another on evolution, island biogeography and the Galapagos. In the late afternoon we caught a tuna that provided the group with fresh sashimi before dinner, and as now as the sun sets there are dolphins jumping off our starboard bow.

Feb 25 Argo Update

Chandler brings us up to speed on Argo's second day on passage to the Galapagos.

Monday, February 25, 2008

just another day`

Author: Chandler
Location: underway
Today was another eventful day onboard Argo. A manta ray was seen by a couple of shipmates, as well as a large school of dolphins by the staff. For all the oceanography students today was the mad dash to finish their literature review papers, due by 8am tomorrow.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

the meat and the potatoes

Author: Cindy
Location: underway
One phrase has stuck with me since we began our foray into the magnificent Pacific this morning; we have truly begun the Meat and Potatoes of our journey. The sailing/motoring has been quite peaceful and already the wildlife and fish that visit the boat are abundant. I must admit that this portion of the journey has seemed a little daunting, a bit like an abyss that will chew me up and never spit me out! An exaggeration to be sure but it seems like Life After Pacific Ocean is something unimaginable right now in the face of the crossing. But for now, we all focus on being on time for watches, getting dinner out of the oven on time, keeping spirits high and watching for dolphins. You know, the little things that get you through the big things. As my good friend, Teddy, says: Tallyho!

Feb 24 Argo Update

Cindy calls in from Argo as she makes good time in her voyage from Panama to the Galapagos.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

getting ready for passage

Author: George
Location: underway
We woke up early this morning to return to Panama City to refuel before departing for the Galapagos. During the morning we prepared the boat to sail and awaited high tide to maneuver onto the fuel dock. We spent the afternoon refueling and departed for the Galapagos around dinner time, under full sail.

Friday, February 22, 2008

diving and BA

Author: Sydney
Location: Las Perlas
This morning we moved to our surprise to Isla de Mogo Mogo, which is another island in the Las Perlas islands. We had an intense day that was split between navigation diving and a massive boat appreciation effort. We had people hoisted in the rigging, rustbusting in the bilges, and scuba diving to scrub the hull. And of course plenty of other special projects to keep the crew busy. Diving was a bit difficult because of the current. All in all it was a fun day and we all worked together.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

first Pacific passage (a short one)

Author: Nathan D.
Location: Isla Contadora, Las Perlas
We arose at 6:45 and started readying the boat at 7. We motored 30nm from Panama City to the Las Perlas islands. Anchoring off Isla Contadora, some people went ashore for a bit, and from the reports it resembled Connecticut. Boomer was head chef and we ate a hearty Mexican fiesta of shrimp, fire chicken, and or/pork tacos, along with beans, rice, etc. After dinner we had PSCT class; we all went aloft and took turns sweating each other up to the spreaders.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

exploring Panama

Author: Becky
Location: Flamenco Marina, Panama
The day began with a Panamanian sunrise lighting up the marina, filled with boats of the rich and famous. For once Argo was dwarfed by giant mega yachts, likely belonging to the stars of the new James Bond movie being filmed in the city. After breakfast we enjoyed one last OCE class taught by Beaker, who sadly left us today. We'll miss you, Beaker! The majority of the day was spent touring the city, checking out the James Bond set, and sampling some local cuisine. Altman, Dash, and Diddle rocked out extreme sandwiches and pizza for dinner, and after a quick geology quiz we all enjoyed a fantastic night out in the city!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Pacific

Author: Beaker
Location: Flamenco Marina, Panama
We began the day early in the fresh water lake, Lake Gatun. While awaiting our pilot we listened to the calls of the howler monkeys in the surrounding jungle. As the sun rose over the assortment of container ships anchored close by we enjoyed breakfast. Another of many firsts for us, the first time Argo has been in freshwater! At about 09:00 our pilot boarded and we began our trip through the lake and rivers to the Pacific side of Panama. After lunch we transited the Milaflores locks and descended back down to sea level. Argo saw the Pacific for the first time, and we motored to Isla Flamenca and picked up a mooring. The marine biology students excelled on their marine life identification quiz and we settled early for bed.

Argo Nears the Miraflores Locks

Argo entered the Panama Canal yesterday evening and transited the Gatun Locks before anchoring in Gatun Lake for the night. The crew was up early and underway this morning and as of this posting they are in the Gaillard Cut and should begin to "lock down" to sea level in the Pedro Miguel and Miraflores locks around noon EST. The Panama Canal Authority website has live cameras streaming footage on the web, if you are interested in trying to catch a glimpse of Argo transiting the Miraflores Locks or passing under the Centennial Bridge please surf over to the link below and keep your eyes out for Argo and crew.

Web Cams of Panama Canal

Feb 19 Argo Update

Leila calls in with a podcast detailing the transit of Argo through Lake Gatun and the Pacific side locks of the Panama Canal.

Monday, February 18, 2008

the canal

Author: Sami
Location: Gatun Lake, Panama
Today started out with MTE and a quick slideshow on the invasive species of the Panama Canal. After we had some free time and prepared for our transit through the Panama Canal! Before dinner we motored to an anchorage to wait for our pilot that would guide us through the canal. He showed up after dinner and we began our journey. Going through the first set of locks was incredible. We are all excited to continue the adventure tomorrow!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

monkey business

Author: Harrison
Location: Shelter Bay Marina, Panama
After a fine breakfast, the crew set out on a small hike in a nearby national park alongside the Rio Chagres, the river the gives the canal its constant supply of fresh water. Guided by a ranger, we saw a plethora of local plants, trees, insects, birds, and howler monkeys. Also included on the tour was a former US army base (that held Manuel Noriega after his capture) and a 16th century Spanish fort. Upon returning to the boat we had MTE and a great lunch, followed by free time around the marina. The day concluded with a plankton lab, with lobster larvae and a juvenile crab as the highlights under the microscope. The anticipation and excitement surrounding our impending canal transit couldn't be higher!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

lots of food!

Author: Alexi
Location: Shelter Bay Marina, Panama
Today was fairly relaxed, that is, until the provisioning team came back. Ten shopping carts filled with food, then piled into a box and brought back to the boat. The question was, where to put it all? The answer: the bilge, the cupboards, under bunks, etc. After an hour or two it somehow all disappeared from the salon, the galley, and the floor. It's pretty comforting to know that we are all sleeping on top of hundreds of pound of provisions. After dinner the science classes had a guest lecturer, who brought the skull of a crocodile to show us!

Friday, February 15, 2008

arrival in Colon

Author: Matt
Location: Shelter Bay Marina, Panama
Following breakfast Argo departed from Portobello for the short trip to the mouth of the Panama Canal. While cruising into the area we passed numerous container ships either bound for or traveling from canal transit. After docking in the Shelter Bay Marina the crew washed down Argo and prepared for the next leg of the journey.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

early departure to historic port

Author: Boomer
Location: Portobello, Panama
We moved to Porvenir yesterday due to its straightforward exit to open ocean. We departed in the dark at 0500 in order to arrive in Portobello with plenty of daylight for exploring the sleepy little town. Centuries ago this port was used to load gold onto Spanish Galleons to transport back to Spain, these days it provides cruisers with a safe anchorage. Arriving with winds upwards of 30kts we witnessed a small dugout canoe get overwhelmed by the windswept water and 2 young boys, who were bailing frantically, ended up in the water. As we were launching a rescue boat a local fishing boat came to their aid. The crew went ashore for the first time on mainland Panama where they got to see a statue called "The Black Christ." This shrine is said to have miraculous powers and attracts pilgrims from all over central America, some of which travel from as far as Costa Rica on their knees!! It was a great day on Argo.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

atop the spreaders

Author: Nathan A.
Location: Porvenir Island, San Blas Islands
Dash and crew arose at 5:30 to begin the task of cooking coffee cake without baking soda! They felt a good solution would be to add more sugar, which made for a great start to a long and relaxing day. After class the divemasters took a group out for a snorkel, while Harrison and Alex went out fishing. Others decided to earn a most coveted "dinghy certification" badge of honor. Dylan, fresh out of training, went on a run to pick up a few stragglers. On the way he missed the dock by 360 degrees, doing a loop around then once he got his bearings nearly missed a boat, now he drives like a champ! The day continued with a quick ride to Porvenir. Teddy was excited to go up in the bosun's chair in order to spot reefs and shallow water. He was enjoying himself so much that he didn't even notice the meeting in the salon. We had to call up to him via the loud speaker. This made for a good laugh and a pleasant arrival in Porvenir. Here Argo was once again bombarded by the local sellers, which drained some of the crew of their savings, trading for shirts and squares of cloth. After a wonderful dinner by Dash, Matt, and Tory, the crew prepared for the trip to Portobello in the wee morning hours. Argo is once again prepared to set sail.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

paradise near Panama

Author: Dani
Location: Lemon Cays, San Blas Islands
Today around 8am we spotted the San Blas islands. Dylan slowly motored us into the small sea level islands that are home to the Kuna Indians. These remote islands are incredibly gorgeous, your idyllic paradise retreat. Blue waters, white sands, and palm trees As Boomer and Thomas (as translator) went in to clear us into the islands the crew gave Argo a good boat appreciation. Once cleared in we moved from the customs island to the Lemon Cays. Once anchored there we swam ashore and explored. In the afternoon we lounged around Argo finishing some marine bio papers and doing some laundry. For dinner we had fresh caught fish, done up with Caribbean hot sauce by Boomer, Teddy, and Chantale, as well as fried rice, fruit salad, and brownies baked by Chandler. Once again we are cleaning up Argo and getting ready to have a quiet night out on a beach across from the boat.

Monday, February 11, 2008

approaching Panamania

Author: Dan
Location: underway
Our third day at sea began with a cloudy sunrise and moderate seas following us on our way to the outlying San Blas Islands of Panama. The day went well with a combined Oceanography and Marine Biology showing of The Blue Planet and a Professional Skipper and Crew Training presentation on safety at sea. We ate well as usual with hot dogs and chili for lunch and a teriyaki chicken and pasta dish for dinner and we are now about 60 miles distant from our destination. The Argonauts are eager with anticipation to experience the frontier that is Panama as the sun sets on another brilliant day at sea.

Feb 11 Argo Update

Chief Mate Dan calls in with the Monday update from S/Y Argo. The crew has slowed to allow for a daylight arrival on Tuesday to the San Blas islands.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

almost to the San Blas islands

Author: Dylan
Location: underway
Today we continued to have another great passage. We have had very nice weather and plenty of waves that reached 15-20 feet during our dinner in the cockpit. We are getting further away from the Columbian coast and the swells are getting noticeably larger. We are expecting to make it to the San Blas islands the day after tomorrow. I had a great time as skipper today and look forward to the arrival.

Feb 10 Argo Update

Dylan calls in during a busy Sunday off the coast of Columbia. Argo continues to head west and covered around 170 nautical miles in the last 24 hours.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

relaxation off the South American coast

Author: Alex
Location: underway
Today was an altogether peaceful and stress free day of passage. It was ideal for my first experience as skipper. We navigated a course that kept us far away enough from the South American shore as well as close enough to land to avoid the turbulent seas our navigation system warned us of. When shipmates weren't on deck performing their watch duties, they were sitting in the salon writing their student leadership essays. The calm day allowed the crew to catch up on sleep and make way for homework.

Feb 9 Argo Update

Alex calls in from day two of Argo's passage from Aruba to Panama. Busy day as sea.... with two academic classes and some great sailing.

Friday, February 8, 2008

leaving Aruba

Author: Leila
Location: underway
After a wonderfully cooked breakfast strata we worked together as a crew to make sure the boat was sea ready. We had our fill of ice cream and enjoyed our last fresh water, resort style shower and were ready to go. Close to departure we heard rumors of 40 knots of wind and 17 ft. swells, so Captain Boomer decided it was best to scoot along closer to the coast of Venezuela where the weather was much nicer. We started our passage to the San Blas islands well with high spirits and no cases of seasickness!

Feb 8 Argo Update

Leila calls in form the Argo as the crew heads West to the San Blas islands.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Aruba, Jamaica...

Author: Anna
Location: Aruba
Despite my complete inability to get the Beach Boys song out of my head these past two days, our stay in Aruba has been a pleasant and relaxing experience. After two morning classes (a marine science slideshow and Professional Skipper and Crew Training) the crew split up and headed off for some free time. Some stayed onboard for a while to help put the new provisions away, and a few helped Dan change some oil and filters in the engine room, but most headed off for that one last ice cream with lunch. Some shipmates took the shuttle over to the nearby resort's private island and spent the afternoon on the beach with some flamingoes and iguanas. We all met back up again for a delicious dinner of stuffed peppers and green beans cooked by head chef Andrew and his team, and after cleanup was complete the oceanography students had a short quiz and the basic seamanship class had a rousing "pinrail chase" on deck under the floodlights. As fun as our stay has been I think everyone is looking forward to sailing off once again, this time to a completely different way of life in the San Blas islands. We're expecting some bumpy seas, but these Argonauts are excited and ready to go.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

ABC, easy as 123, man Aruba is sweet

Author: Dash
Location: Oranjestad, Aruba
As the sun rose, Argo glided into the marina of Aruba, giving an end to a very rocky passage. Surrounded by giant cruise ships, Argo seemed small for the first time. Along with this first was the fact that the Argo crew was not the most tourist looking group on the island. We were unlike the rest because we did not have blotches of sunscreen around our faces, were not dressed in attire one would wear to a museum, and none of us were equipped with a ten pound fanny pack. Rather than stopping at the temptations of Taco Bell, Dunkin Donuts, and Subway, most of the crew walked by without a glance, having their mind set only on doing laundry.

Feb 6 Argo Update

The first podcast from the chart house of S/Y Argo brings us up to speed of the voyage thus far. Look for more frequent podcasts as the crew starts spending more time offshore where written blog updates will not be possible between ports.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

passage to Aruba

Author: Teddy
Location: underway
Argo pulled out of the lee of Bonaire to some rough seas for our one day passage to Aruba. Today marked the return of adventure on the high seas as the crew got back into the swing of things after our time ashore. Some water came in through a few hatches, and Matt went flying through the door to the staff head. Seasickness returned to some, but the Argonauts held on and got their jobs done anyway. We are currently passing Aruba, sailing under moderate seas and occasional squalls. We will turn and sail in the night to make it to Aruba by daylight.

Monday, February 4, 2008

chilling in Bonaire

Author: Thomas
Location: Harbour Village Marina, Bonaire
The crew woke up and had breakfast. Then we had class at 8:30. After that we had the day off and just had to be back by 5pm for dinner. After dinner we have a sign out night. Everyone did their own thing!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

carnival in Bonaire

Author: Graham
Location: Harbour Village Marina, Bonaire
Today was our first day in Bonaire after our passage from Martinique. After breakfast and an early MTE class the crew headed ashore to experience a Caribbean carnival. Many went into town and enjoyed the local cuisine for lunch. Later in the afternoon everyone gathered on the streets and watched as the parade went around the town with all sorts of costumes and dancers. It was an exciting day and many of us really enjoy the island of Bonarie.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

B is for Bonaire

Author: Leah
Location: Harbour V illage Marina, Bonaire
The crew woke up this morning to the sight of Bonaire off Argo's starboard side. As we motored around the Southern tip of the island we were joined by dolphins and flying fish. For the first time since Argo left Tortola on Day 2 we docked. For many of us it was the first time we've seen or even participated in docking a boat this size. Once the fenders were in place Argo was given some loving. Every surface below deck was scrubbed and every surface on deck was polished to perfection. Following the intense clean we wre permitted our first real shower at the local marina facility. The cool fresh water rejuvenated everyone and set the stage for the next dew days in the Dutch Caribbean.

Friday, February 1, 2008

clear skies ahead

Author: Bridger
Location: underway
Day 18 started bright and early with the watches continuing from the day before. It's now day 2 of our Martinique to Bonaire passage and there is no land in sight! A short while after lunch clean up we spotted something off our starboard side and Boomer made the call to alter course and investigate it. It turned out to be a wind surfing board, it seemed to be in bad shape so we left it adrift. At about 1600 hours we spotted a whale off the starboard side as well, courtesy of Dash. Dinner was a delicious chicken concoction, crafted by our head chef Sydney, from her Grandma's recipe. It turned out better than she expected, and I had seven pieces of chicken and about 6 servings of rice. Well that's your typical day onboard Argo while on passage, nice life till next time