Monday, March 31, 2008

perfect Pou

Author: Alex
Location: Ua Pou, Marquesas
In our newfound newly uninhabited bay, we made excellent use of a free day. Throughout the day crew members were in and out of scuba gear, cleaning the hull of hitchhikers (barnacles) who had been with us since the Las Perlas islands. Multiple students landed on the island to hike the pristine landscape of Ua Pou. Around dinner time we pulled up our stern anchor and decided to leave twelve hours early for the Tuamotu's.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

in search of the perfect bay

Author: Leila
Location: Ua Pou, Marquesas
After a wonderful breakfast it was all hands on deck for some serious sail raising. From the bay, the waters looked choppy so we prepared for doing sailing drills in heavy wind. However, the wind gods did not shine down on us so the drills consisted of raising all the sails, then striking and flaking them as quickly and efficiently as possible in the blazing hot sun. We took a quick motor sail over to the isolated island of Ua Pou in search of a quiet place to anchor and enjoy being away from all civilization. We found the perfect bay, consisting of one Swiss resident who offered us as many limes as we could carry. There was a whole crew swim consisting of flips off the caprail and football games in the water. Later followed a relaxing evening, an awesome dinner, and a fun basic seamanship class.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

exploring Nuku Hiva

Author: Anna
Location: Nuku Hiva, Marquesas
This morning started out with a 6am provisioning trip to the local market for four of the crew, and after a delicious breakfast of blueberry and pumpkin pancakes made by Tory and Julia everyone had a free day to explore the island. A few intrepid groups made their way to a waterfall and hiked to the other side of the bay, seeing a museum of ancient art, an old church, and a lot of animals along the way. Others took the time to relax and catch up on school work and errands on shore. Everybody got together in the afternoon to help prepare the boat for passage tomorrow to the island of Fatu Hiva. After dinner and a hammerhead shark sighting during cleanup, everyone dressed up to head to shore for a night out at a local Polynesian dance celebration.

Friday, March 28, 2008

diving into the deep

Author: Dash
Location: Nuku Hiva, Marquesas
After the morning rain had cleared the Argo crew prepared themselves for their first South Pacific dive. Each group rode dinghies to their points of descent, which were all located just in front of where the cascading island cliffs met the ocean. The dives were the deepest yet, going down as far as 100 feet. Many new marine organisms were spotted, along with a sunken ship. The day ended with a wonderful salmon pie dinner and marine biology students took their fourth and final exam.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

spear fishing, outrigger, canoes, and… Beaker's back!

Author: Teddy
Location: Nuku Hiva, Marquesas
Today the merry crew of Argo woke up to muffins, and had a free day ashore to call home, email, and see dry land after a long time at sea. Captain Boomer explored the area, trying out outrigger canoes with other members of the staff, and spear fishing. Beaker surprised us by arriving a day early. It was a lovely, relaxing afternoon; time for studying, swimming, exploring ashore, and buying nearly all of the local groceries to provision Argo.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

French Polynesia

Author: Graham
Location: Nuku Hiva, Marquesas
Today the crew awoke to the high mountains of Nuka Hiva. We arrived early this morning to a dark harbour and dropped anchor. After some rest we ate breakfast and started our boat appreciation. We gave Argo some much needed love for getting across the pacific. To celebrate our crossing of the pacific we enjoyed a dinner of fresh baked pizzas and fish ashore.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

land ho

Author: Leah
Location: underway
Now 18 days into passage across the Pacific, life at sea seems normal. It's not unusual to wake up every few hours thinking you should be on deck for watch. Walking on the high side is out of habit, along with standing with legs far apart to remain balanced. But in just a few hours everything will change, because at 1630 today land was spotted off our starboard bow. As Argo quickly approaches the Marquesas everyone grows more excited to explore the realm of French Polynesia.

Mar 25 Argo Update

Leah calls in from Argo for the March 25th Update from Argo. Argo is about a day away from finishing up their Pacific passage.

Monday, March 24, 2008

the flip side

Author: Andrew
Location: underway
Last time I was skipper for a day, Argo was in the Northern Hemisphere. Since then we have crossed the equator, stopped for fun in the Galapagos, crossed near the point furthest away from land on the planet and now are only a couple of days out from the Marquesas. Not only have we come far, done a lot of unique activities, we have grown together as a crew and have become stronger. It's hard to believe our passage is almost complete and you can already hear talk of skipping our visit to land and going on to make the passage longer. Living aboard Argo has become more then just a semester, but a way of life. Shipmates continued to prepare for and take Yachtmaster exams and ready Argo for her visit to the Marquesas.

Mar 24 Argo Update

Andrew calls in with details of a fairly busy day aboard Argo as she nears the end of the long passage from The Galapagos to The Marquesas.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

clear skies

Author: Tory
Location: underway
Today was especially beautiful aboard Argo, with the sun shining on us on all day. Julia and Altman prepared a delicious lunch of pumpkin soup and rosemary biscuits. Watch teams continued scraping varnish off the caprails in preparation for a fresh coat in the Marquesas. Marine Biology and Oceanography classes enjoyed a Blue Planet documentary on deep oceans. While on bow watch, Sydney spotted a sea turtle swimming by which is a reminder that we are one day closer to land. With the arrival in the Marquesas soon approaching, shipmates are taking advantage of free time to study for their Yachtmaster exams. A dinner of Mexican cuisine closed out another day underway.

Mar 23 Argo Update

Tory phones in the podcast from Argo as she nears the Marquesas. Argo should arrive in French Polynesia around mid week.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

birthday celebrations

Author: Chantale
Location: underway
After a few early morning showers the skies cleared and allowed us to keep doing deck maintenance under the sun while we continue our watch rotation. We then had an afternoon of Oceanography where the students gave a presentation to the group on their respective research projects on various topics in marine science. The winds came back today and we have been sailing at good speed since the afternoon, reaching about 8 knots by dinner time. It's also been a day of celebration, with not one but two birthdays, and both Anna and Dash received a flurry of wishes, streamers and birthday brownies. We are now enjoying daylight hours in more normal times as we adjusted our clocks by 3 hours yesterday to account for all the miles we've covered to the West since we've left the Galapagos. We're sailing into the night at good speed, looking forward to reaching the Marquesas in a few days.

Mar 22 Argo Update

Chief Scientist, Chantal calls in to update us on the 15th day of Argo's Pacific passage from The Galapagos to French Polynesia.

Friday, March 21, 2008

the ghost watch

Author: Chandler
Location: underway
Today was day 67 of the program and day 14 of our long passage. Today was an exceptionally long day aboard Argo, exactly 3 hours longer. As a crew we crossed yet another time zone taking away 3 hours and letting us once again eat supper at dusk instead of high noon. We will soon be seeing the Marquesas and the island of Nuku Hiva, our first stop. It's the beginning of the end sadly, but the crew is still in high spirits working and playing like a true family. We miss you all and will be home too soon, a little more tan, some with longer hair, other with much much shorter, but all with smiles on our face and stories in our hearts.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

musings of the sea

Author: Cindy
Location: underway
I looked above me today to the sail luffing in the wind and - remembering its stubborn stiffness when we flake it - marveled at the ease and grace, the flowing power, with which it snaps and rolls on the mast. The booms transfix me, covered in lines and swung wide over the water.
At night I can hear the sails beat on the mast and shudder the boat, the foremast shaking all the way down into the fo'c'sle. The stars have come back out and the helming is easier with the Southern Cross nestled in the backstay. A flying fish jumped on board and smashed her eyeball out of its socket. I meant to throw it back but when we had the flashlight trained on it I'll admit I was paralyzed and Squid had to do it for me.
Waves have become rolls in the Pacific trade winds and by day we travel across bands of blue and green; currents? algae? Otherwise all goes well (especially in the fo'c'sle) where there always seem to be comings and goings.

Mar 20 Argo Update

Cindy calls in from the chart house of Argo for the March 20th update. Lots of studies done today in addition to some watch team fun and some great eating!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

a typical day underway

Author: George
Location: underway
It has been another beautiful and typical day at sea today. We have luckily been able to sail and haven't had to turn on he engine for a number of days now, covering 170 miles in the last 24 hrs. The crew finished telltale articles in the morning and had an afternoon of ocean sciences with oceanography and a joint oceanography, biology class.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

just another day

Author: Sydney
Location: underway
Well, we are at sea for yet another day. I'm not sure which day of passage it is, and that is really nice. We haven't seen anything else for a while. We had a typical day aboard Argo, with watch teams and classes. In marine biology we got the first A average for any class. Well, that's all for now. Peace.

Mar 18 Argo Update

Sydney updates us on March 18th as Argo continues to make good time as she heads west to French Polynesia.

Monday, March 17, 2008


Author: Julia
Location: underway
The skies cleared for Argo early this morning to give us a clear starry sky and a beautiful, hot, sunny St. Patrick's Day and a return of steady wind. The crew has gotten even more comfortable with life aboard as we make our way through the second half of the passage. Today's classes were OCE about Tides and MTE. After classes, we help a special "Nautical Spelling Bee" with voluntary participation. Participants included Alex, Teddy, Anna, Becky, Matt, Altman, Chandler, Leila, and George and was hosted by Cindy and myself. Words such as "coxswain", "barometer", and the infamous "lobscouse" eliminated some hopeful participants. After a grueling three rounds, Anna took the prize after correcting Chandler's misspelling of "Rhumbline". After shower time, the crew enjoyed Boomer and Dash's fettuccini alfredo special. The crew continues to study hard for their professional skipper exams. All in all, it was a very eventful day!

Mar 17 Argo Update

Julia calls in from the 10th day of Argo's Pacific crossing. Life aboard is good and moral is high as Tahiti draws closer.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

a new first

Author: Nathan D.
Location: underway
This morning at nine am our trip log registered the first 200+ nautical mile day in Argo's history. At 202 nautical miles in the previous 24 hours, we made it just closely and the watch teams took extra vigilant turns at the helm for the hours leading up to this morning's log reading. Once it was realized that we were within shot of a 200 mile day, everyone at the helm was extra careful to steer as straight as an arrow. We had a marine bio class on marine protected areas followed by a PSCT practical class on deck where Captain Boomer taught us about outboard engine maintenance amidst a torrential downpour. Fortunately the rain cleared before dinner and we were able to eat Altman's calzones and flaky apple crisp on deck in the cool overcast evening air. Watch cycles continue as normal as we fly across the ocean in a perfect rhythm acquired in the 4364 mile wake we trail behind us.

Mar 16 Argo Update

Nathan reports in on day 62 of the voyage. The winds have been very favorable and Argo made 202 nautical miles towards Tahiti in the past 24 hours!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

epic sailing

Author: Becky
Location: underway
Today was an excellent day of sailing. We averaged around 8.5 knots and have been loving the fresh sea breezes without the rumble of the engine. We're now about halfway through our passage to the Marquesas. Rumor has it that this stretch is the farthest away from dry land that you can possibly be on the planet! We had a marine biology lecture on coral reef ecology, and then we all got together and watched the coral reef episode of Blue Planet. Everyone is squeaky clean after our showers. We celebrated Danimal's birthday and enjoyed an excellent dinner of stir fry and brownies! It hasn't rained on watch team two yet, so it's been a terrific day!

Mar 15 Argo Update

Becky calls in on the "Ides of March" with the update from the tropics. Argo made good time today and is revving up for a 200 nautical mile day!

Friday, March 14, 2008


Author: Sami
Location: underway
Today was one of the greatest days yet on our Pacific passage. The wind picked up and we've been cruising between 8-10 knots. Chantale taught an OCE class on waves and Boomer led an enlightening PSCT class on marine diesel engines. We are all looking forward to our chance to go into the engine room and get our hands on Argo's engine. Dan ended the day with a delicious tortilla soup, yummy!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

pesto pasta

Author: Alexi
Location: underway
Watch team two started out the day with a six to nine watch that encompassed a gorgeous sunrise. Altman then made some delicious banana bread that was enjoyed by the entire crew. The main portion of they day was spent studying and writing papers, as due dates are coming up soon! After a delicious lunch we gathered for an animated MTE class and learned how to plot a running fix, theoretically of course since there is nothing around us except for clouds and blue ocean. We have been waiting patiently for the fish of the Pacific to bite, but unfortunately they only seem interested in stripping our reels. We finished this gorgeous day off with a delicious meal of pesto pasta prepared by our chefs Alex and Andrew. Ciao!

Less than 2100nm to go!

Argo and her crew are now logging some quick miles and are nearing the 2000 "nautical miles to go" mark. This screen shot shows their position as of Thursday at noon EST.

Mar 13 Argo Update

Alexi calls in from Argo to let us know the progress abaord as they continue west.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Author: Matt
Location: underway
It's been another day in our crossing of the Pacific. The weather took a slight break from the streak of clear blue to intersperse the sky with some clouds. The ocean swells calmed slightly and are now rather small. We have now found ourselves far enough south to begin to catch the tradewinds. The majority of the day was spent sailing and we were able to finally raise all the sails for the first time on this passage.

Mar 12 Argo Update

Matt calls in for the March 12th podcast. Agro is hooked into the trade winds and sailing at a good clip. The weather looks favorable for the foreseeable future and the crew is working hard to raise the daily mileage count as Argo continues west!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

March 11 Argo Update

Captain Boomer calls in with the latest update on Argo's passage west to French Polynesia.
The crew enjoyed the day's food and activities.

Monday, March 10, 2008

dance party

Author: Nathan A.
Location: underway
Today was another amazing day on Argo. We continued to make our way to the Marquesas while preparing pancakes for all. Dash the head chef, along with Chandler tore up the galley which lead to a crazy dance party after both lunch and dinner. All checks were normal and seas were light, I hope you enjoy your night.

March 10 Argo Update

Nathan calls in with the Monday morning update. The crew of Argo is doing well and enjoying the days at sea.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

we may have hit the tradewinds

Author: Dani
Location: underway
As the sun rose this morning the sky cleared giving way to soft blue and fluffy white clouds. Expectations were high because we were supposed to hit the trade winds; we were all very anxious to turn off the motor and set the sails. As the morning progressed the breeze picked up and so did our spirits. By lunch time we were under sail, cruising along at a solid pace. During MTE and PSCT we learned about VHF radio operation and of course went over class time with Boomer once again. After class we hung out on the charthouse and in the cockpit doing crossword puzzles and talking. At some point around dinner we realized that what we thought were the trade winds were nothing more then a fleeting breeze; we still had a few more degrees of latitude to go before we hit the true winds. But the squeeze was fun and the sunset was beautiful so the day ended as well as it began.

Mar 9 Argo Update

The day 55 update comes in as Argo (via skipper of the day Dani) dips south of 2 degrees in search of the trade winds. A good number of miles were covered as the crew managed to sail most of the day. Sunshine returned along with the wind so life aboard Argo is reported to be very good indeed.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

a whale of a day

Author: Dan
Location: underway
Today was a superb day at sea for the crew of Argo. As we started to adapt to watch rotations, the sea repeatedly opened up to show us it's best; three separate times we watched sperm whales play in the ocean as we motored towards the Marquesas, somewhere thousands of miles in our future. The wind has been light but we have sails up to stabilize the ship and take advantage of light puffs when they come. The rain has been on and off but often clears enough for a glimpse of the stars at night. Today the crew learned more conventional navigation by calculating speed using some scraps of paper or bread thrown in the water and enjoyed an OCB class, appropriately, on marine mammals. Spirits are high and the crew is excited to voyage west, hopefully meeting the tradewinds soon to carry us to French Polynesia.

Mar 8 Argo Update

Dan calls in from Argo on her second day on passage from the Galapagos to the Marquesas. The wind is light but the marine mammal viewing (sperm whales as close as 50ft) and the exciting course work is keeping spirits high.

Friday, March 7, 2008

goodbye Galapagos

Author: Alex
Location: underway
Argo's crew awoke early with one task in mind: to return her to a seaworthy state. After a week in a marine biologist's paradise we were ready to embark on our three week passage to the Marquesas, one step closer to our final destination. Crew members cleaned the engine room, made sure the galley was 40/40, and returned the deck to the spotless condition they had discovered it in on day 1 in Tortola. We set sail before noon with great confidence in Argo and her ability to transfer us 3,000 nautical miles to French Polynesia.

Mar 7 Argo Update

Alex calls in the update from Argo's first day on passage. The crew enjoyed their time in the Galapagos and are very much looking forward to the passage across the Pacific.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

soccer fun with school kids

Author: Teddy
Location: Santa Cruz, Galapagos
Today we breakfasted on eggs in a basket, and then departed for our service project with the local park service. It is currently the equivalent of summer vacation in the Galapogos, and they provide summer camps for the kids. We spent the morning with ten year olds, making beaded key-chains and playing soccer. The kids were amazing, funny, outgoing, and even though I don't speak Spanish their enthusiasm and happiness transcended language. Many of us played soccer against them, and were quickly shown how behind we were, I was falling everywhere in the goal, and Altman managed to trip just before he scored and kick the ball in the opposite direction. Afterwards some returned to the boat for lunch, while others stayed to enjoy another free afternoon in Puerto Ayora

Monday, March 3, 2008

Lonesome George

Author: Thomas
Location: Santa Cruz, Galapagos
We took a tour around the Darwin Research Center and took advantage of all the species, marine iguanas, etc. The tortoises were sooo huge. Lonesome George is the only species left of his race, and he is 130 years old. The rest of the day we had the afternoon off, and had to be back for dinner at 6pm. Some people decided to go see the lava flow tunnels, which I did not do, but they said it was amazing.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

a cruise through the Galapagos

Author: Graham
Location: Puerto Ayora, Galapagos
Today the crew of Argo awoke early to a breakfast of cereal and oatmeal. After breakfast we raised anchor and headed for Puerto Ayora 40 miles away. During the passage the crew learned to splice lines, some worked on their marine biology projects, and others just enjoyed the sights. Also during our sail the few shipmates who choose to sacrifice their hair to king Neptune at the equator learned they needed sunscreen on their scalps. Once anchored, the crew prepared for dinner and swam in the Pacific. Our schedule has been confirmed for Santa Cruz and the crew is excited for 100 year old tortoises, hammerhead sharks, penguins, blue-footed boobies, marine iguanas, and all the other treasures of the Galapagos.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

sea lions, stingrays, and blue footed boobies, oh my

Author: Leah
Location: San Cristobal, Galapagos
Today the crew of Argo was granted the opportunity to wake up to the beautiful sight of the Galapagos' San Cristobal island. The morning began with an early 6:45 wake up call, followed by a quick breakfast and clean up. At 8 o'clock everyone piled into two tour boats and headed out to explore the land of Darwin. The tour entailed swimming with sea lions, unfazed and often curious of the strangers with snorkels, stingrays, blue-footed boobies (a type of local bird), the only marine iguanas in existence, and hundreds of other species unique to this series of islands. Following our exploration of frigid waters and huge volcanic structures sticking out of the thousands of feet deep Pacific Ocean the majority of the crew headed to shore. Around every corner, Argonites could be found enjoying the local cuisine, such as conch, catching up with family members back home via the internet cafes or buying t-shirts with the Galapagos National Park logo on them. By 6 o'clock everyone was back onboard, ready for the night's squeeze question and of course hungry for Graham pie. The question brought the crew back to their childhoods with the Argo version of a Mad Lib. For all those that don't know the definition of a mad lib, it is a story where nouns, adjective, adverbs and verbs have to be added prior to reading, making it all the more entertaining in its entirety. As requested here is Argo's story:

Argo Mad Lib: A Night Out
Another adj friendly day was coming to an end aboard Argo, when crew name Squid, the skipper of the day announced a night out for the crew. A loud sound of excitement whoa could be heard for number 18 miles around. Before the dinghy times could be decided upon the girls, led by crew name Dani, were down the companionway preparing to verb jump the night away. After everyone put on their matching piece of clothing underwear it was time for one final briefing. Boomer had the crew count off than advised Boomerism don't be a muppet and remember to sign out this evening
After everyone had signed their lives away, they verb swam into boomrod. adverb Swimmingly staff member Danimal shuttled the crew to shore. Upon arrival, everyone began verb hiking to the closest noun Graham pie and went inside. Except for crew name Dash who found the closest noun Booby (bird from today). Inside the crew ordered a round of noun sea lion and headed to a noun vasectomy to sit and talk about the day.
They talked mostly about verb bouncing underwater and verb flying with the sea lions and adj ugly iguanas. The best part of the day for some was when crew name Harrison and crew name Anna jumped overboard, swam to place Kicker Rock, back and found the elusive indigenous noun potato.
By 11 o'clock everyone had grown fairly adj narly and was ready to head back to Argo. But before crew name Alex could head back he had to buy one last noun paint. Making the night complete.

Following dinner, the Marine Biology class and anyone else that wanted to participate pulled out their blankets and pillows and enjoyed the original March of Penguins before bed.