Monday, June 30, 2008

Laundry Day

Author: George
Location: Rarotonga
Monday morning in Rarotonga was fantastic. After a hearty breakfast of breakfast sandwiches and scrambled eggs most of the crew began a quest for laundry service, and within three hours everybody had accomplished that goal. With no daytime class we were free to explore Rarotonga. Most people used the public buses for transport to have a day of shopping and exploring. We finished the day with what was to be our last fresh water shower in at least a week and the discovery of some atomic level spicy peppers that Jesse found growing near the harbor. We ended our last day in Rarotonga with a dinner made by Chantale and Troy followed by a 7:30 PSCT class to wrap it up.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Checking out Rarotonga

Author: Tyler, aka "T"
Location: Rarotonga
The Marine Bio and Oceanography classes took a walk just around the harbor and checked out the intertidal zone at low tide after breakfast. With the day ashore, ten of us checked the map of the island briefly before setting out to hike through the center of the island to the other side. The map was never looked at again and it wasn't very detailed anyways (tourist map). An hour into the hike we came to the foot of the highest of the three mountains and hit a dead end. With no signs, it was mostly an expedition to find the trail that would lead to the waterfall on the other side. The group split up and a half hour later we found each other again and made our way up the highest peak at about 2,000 feet after a very steep climb. The view was spectacular and gave us a near 360 degree view of Rarotonga. We made it to the cold, refreshing waterfall with a family from town whom we met along the way. The hike took about four hours total. After the hike, we jumped on the transit bus that was circling the island. The bus ride was interesting and Rarotonga is an extremely beautiful place. The tourism isn't excessive, though definitely present. Instead of a few Americans, as in Bora Bora and Tahiti, all the tourists appear to be on vacation from New Zealand. Since it was a Sunday, the town was closed for the day with the majority of Rarotongans at church. When we returned to Argo, the local boys were still jumping off the dock just off the stern. The day ended after dinner with the Basic Seamanship midterm, which by now was a cakewalk.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

A day at the market

Author: Graham
Location: Rarotonga
Today the crew of Argo cleared into the Cook Islands and explored the town of Avarua on Rarotonga. Most of the crew went to the local market that takes place every Saturday. The market had a wide variety of local food, crafts, and music. After some time ashore we gave Argo a little love and made here look good. We have had a lot of people walk and drive by today and we are starting to think we are one of the bigger sailboats that has been here recently. All and all Raratonga has turned out to be a nice place with nice people. Tomorrow we are planning to go hiking into the interior of the island which should be fun.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Arrival in Roratonga

Author: Monica
Location: Roratonga
It was another amazing day at sea again today as watch teams continued to rotate throughout the night and day. We had our first whale sighting of the trip! We believe it was a pilot whale that was spotted about 50 yards off the port side of Argo. After lunch, the shipmates had the pleasure of watching "Shark Water"- a documentary about sharks seen through the eyes of a speedo-wearing merman. After the video, Roratonga was in sight. The group worked together to lower the sails and prepare the boat for anchorage. As we motored into Roratonga, the sun was just setting over the ocean. Tonight the students are putting the final touches on their first Marine Bio paper that is due in the morning.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

3rd day of passage

Author: Kiernan (aka Maximus)
Location: Bora Bora - Roratonga
Today was another perfect day as we continue to make our way towards Roratonga. The seas are calm and the skies are clear. Life under watch has become routine, and "Team Boot and Rally" has pulled through and overcome their challenges from the first night. Additionally, the smell below has improved dramatically after the chefs of the day gallantly found and defeated the foul smell coming from the fridge. After Marine Biology and Leadership class we were introduced to showers while under way and everyone was very relieved to be clean for the first time since we left Bora Bora. The sailing looks like it will continue being great for the rest of the evening and we should be arriving in Roratonga in a little more than a day.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Passage to Roratonga

Author: Anne
Location: Bora Bora - Roratonga
Today was our second day underway, and everyone is starting to get their sea legs. The weather is great with a calm ocean and lots of sunshine. We were mostly on a beam reach today but the wind changed and we sailed on a broad reach for the afternoon. We still haven't spotted any land or boats, and are cruising at a nice speed of 7.5 kts. Graham caught a skipjack tuna while trolling off the back of Argo which we are excited to have for lunch tomorrow. My watch team, watch team 2, has changed our name from "Team Boot" to "Team Rally" and we are currently holding all of our food down.

June 25 Argo Update

Ann calls in from Argo on passage to Raratonga.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

On our way

Author: Troy
Location: Bora Bora - Roratonga
Today was a beautiful, sunny day. We prepped the boat while provisioners bought loaves of French bread and other goodies. We got underway to Roratonga at about 1400, and cruised at a solid 8.8 kts for the first few hours. This was an amazing day to start the passage.

June 24 Argo Update

Captain Boomer calls in from the south pacific.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Last day in Bora Bora

Author: Boomer
Location: Bora Bora
We've come full circle now on the job wheel so Argo will be looking towards her crew to step it up as we make our way to Australia. After swimming with mantas and eagle rays this morning, we motored out of our beautiful little bay back to Vaitape for an afternoon ashore to experience the local festival of Hieva. After an excellent spaghetti dinner, the crew topped off the day with an OCE class. Tomorrow we depart for Roratonga!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Deep Dive

Author: Mike
Location: Bora Bora
Today was another great day in paradise. The day started strong with a deep dive. This was the first time for most of the students to experience depths this great, so it was quite an accomplishment. The day did not wind down there because we then moved Argo to the other side of the island and instead of being in 12 feet of water, we are now in 30 feet of crystal clear water and it is an awesome spot with lots of underwater activity. Once we got to our new destination, it started to rain but we made fun of it. So far the trip is great and strangers are growing into friends. Enjoy your sleep!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

First Night Dive

Author: Jesse
Location: Bora Bora
I woke up once again to the realization that we are anchored in 12 feet of crystal clear water inside one of the most amazing lagoons I've ever seen. Something about Bora Bora feels like home. As the crew and I wiped the sleep out of our eyes and headed to breakfast we started to feel excited about the day ahead of us. In Oceanography class we learned about the chemical makeup of water and the ocean. As Chris says, "If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water." We thought about this as we learned to drive the dinghy and sat in Marine Biology class. Next on our schedule was a night dive at 7:00. We hoped to see some of this magic in the form of bioluminescent plankton, sharks, octopus, and other marine organisms. I was lucky enough to see a variety of shrimp including banded coral shrimp, mantis shrimp, and a moray eel. Good night.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Becky - 2008-06-20

Author: Becky
Location: Taimpoo Bay, Bora Bora
Today was a gorgeous day in French Polynesia. We woke up in our shallow anchorage surrounded by the clearest light blue-green water only to be met with a day of ocean-centered classes and diving in some of the most colorful reefs in the world. The afternoon was met with snorkeling, rock running, free diving and full sessions of Argo-laties and push-up circuits.
It's hard to write a complete Skipper's log without talking about the food. It's true that on a boat, crew morale revolves around the food. Today was no exception to the rule. Our personal professional Chef Dane-gerous whipped up some stellar meals. Even Boomer admitted to thinking he knew everything you could do with canned chicken until today. We had chicken cakes for lunch, fashioned around crab cakes with a cayenne aioli and blackened chicken breasts with fruit salsa for dinner.
I've never seen so much marine life, rays and fish, and the colors that we're seeing down here. We're excited, learning and gelling as a crew.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Finding Our Way

Author: Tessa, aka "Big Carrot"
Location: Bora Bora
After a great breakfast of cereal, made lovingly by our Head Chef MT, we had our first Student Leadership Class. The newbies are getting settled in and we are finally a full crew. We then motored over to a nice shallow bay with millions of sea cucumbers scattered on the ocean floor. After lunch, the training advanced divers had their navigation dive. Only a few were lost, but luckily we could just stand up and find our way back to the boat. We then enjoyed some much needed nap time, or a few chose to do some "Argolates." We're working on our six pack stomachs and bicep guns. We had an amazing sunset dinner followed by an exciting MTE class, which made us all want to race some boats! Most of us are drained by the sun, but still have the energy to go on deck and look at the luminous full moon and stars. There is nothing like a Bora Bora night sky.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

New Faces

Author: Travis
Location: Bora Bora
We woke up to another beautiful sunrise this morning. We were preparing to pick up the highly anticipated new crew. Chris made us an awesome breakfast of pancakes and Boomer helped me make the biggest pancake I have ever seen. After clean up we had Marine Bio. While we were in class our new crew member, George, showe up. He will be living in the Starboard 6 man. After class we moved Argo to Viatape then we had lunch. Right as we started lunch, Troy showed up. After hanging out with Troy and showing him around, Mike came aboard and we finally had our full crew. In preparation to motor to the other side of the island we motored back to Port Bourayne. Argo is happy to have her full crew aboard.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Off Night

Author: Oliver
Location: Povia Bay, Bora Bora
We woke up and prepared for a dive in Bora Bora. There were a lot of beautiful fish and creatures on the dive and one group even saw a couple of octopus fighting. Once the dive was over we had lunch and then prepared for a second dive. The first group saw a group of around 100 eagle rays and the second group saw almost fifty. After that we ate an early dinner and prepared for our first off night. For the off night we went to Bloody Mary's, a local restaurant. After spending a few hours there we all came back and most people wrote their Marine Bio papers that were due the next morning.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Sailing to Bora Bora

Author: Lisa
Location: Open Ocean, Huahine - Bora Bora
We woke up early to get a head start on the day sail to Bora Bora. The swell had finally given us a bit of a break so we could sail out of Huahine. Unfortunately we were sailing on a such a deep reach to the wind we could not put up our sails, but we still had tons of fun motoring over and taking turns at the helm. We arrived in Bora Bora in the afternoon, when the sun finally came out to greet us. We are all very excited to be in Bora Bora, to do more exploring, more diving, and first night to shore. The rest of our crew will be joining us soon on our summer adventure.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Marine Biology, water sports and last day in Huahine

Author: Chantale
Location: Fare, Huahine
This morning started with a marine biology class, the last one before the first exam. Immediately after class we raised anchor and left Port Bourayne to motor bay up the narrow channel north towards the town of Fare. Today was still mostly cloudy and rainy but the sun came through the clouds for a while, shining on bright aqua colors of the shallow lagoon behind Huahine's barrier reef. In the afternoon, some went ashore for one last time in Huahine while others chose study back on board, swim or windsurf. In the late afternoon we got Argo ready to sail, in preparation for our early departure for Bora Bora tomorrow morning. We are ending the day with a Professional Skipper and Crew Training class.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

First full day in Port Bourayne

Author: Dane
Location: Huahine
This morning we woke up to light rain. We ate breakfast in the salon, which was a first. After breakfast the Ocean Bio class took a fish and invert animal identification quiz. After lunch some people chose to go for a hike on the island, while others stayed on the boat to study and chill. We are hoping for better weather tomorrow and we will continue to explore Huahine for a couple more days until we set sail to Bora Bora to pick up the last of our crew.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Friday the 13th

Author: Maria Tereza
Location: Huahine
This morning it seems everyone had trouble waking up. It was almost breakfast by the time everyone was up. The weather has been rainy and windy. After breakfast we had a Marine Bio lecture on invertebrates and then a rainy motor passage to a new bay in Huahine. Then was lunch of pizza made by Kiernan and Lisa. Since the weather was so bad we had the afternoon to hang out. Most of us went to dive and check out the reef. Then was studying for the Marine Bio quiz that we will take tomorrow morning and a great dinner of hamburgers. To end our night is another Marine Bio lecture which looks to be a showing of The Blue Planet. We'll see if our Friday the 13th weather will break tomorrow and give us a beautiful day again.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Another Day in Paradise

Author: Chris
Location: Huahine, French Polynesia
The day began with the dawning of a new adventure - literally. Last evening, we began our first real sail, putting Argo in her true form, and arrived this morning at dawn to see the outline of Huahine as the sun broke the horizon. It's hard to imagine perfection being replicated but that's what today felt like - leaving paradise only to arrive once again. Huahine welcomed us with lush green mountains, deep blue waters, and perfect weather. As we entered the protected bay through the channel, perfect A-frame waves broke over the reef to our port and starboard, instinctively following the reef line without being encumbered by a single surfer. After setting anchor, we said thank you to Argo for our safe passage by spending the better part of the morning cleaning the boat inside and out. The afternoon was spent ashore to explore and the evening to enjoy the tasty culinary delights of our head chef Jesse. And just when we thought the day couldn't get any better, we learned all about marine invertebrates in marine bio class; weird and wild, these critters are ubiquitous across the reef, and the world once over, but rarely get the credit they deserve. Off the watch schedule, we were all happy to hit our cabins at the end of the day for a good nights rest.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

First Night to Behold the Power of the Wind

Author: Tyler
Location: Cooks Bay, Moorea
After breakfast the Open Water Divers took their final exam, and all passed with ease; we are now certified. The entire crew led by Boomer and Graham go through sailing drills and we raise the Main Sail, then bring it down and flake it on the boom. With a few hours before we leave for Huahine most of us swim off the starboard side and chill on deck enjoying our last day in Moorea with its beautiful peaks surrounding the three sides of Cook's Bay. After a dinner of chicken pot pie, we have been motoring for an hour and set to raising one sail after another and after a lot of teamwork and effort are cruising about 7 knots. Expected time of arrival at the next island is sometime around dawn. We could get their faster by raising more sail, but Boom doesn't want to rush, and would rather not have us anchoring in a bay at night. With 3 shifts of 3 hours per watch we take turns in teams sailing through the cloudless night.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Another great day

Author: Monica
Location: Cooks Bay, Moorea
It's been another wonderful day in French Polynesia. We had our usual breakfast at 0730 followed by a great open water dive #2. All the Open Water Divers mastered their underwater skills and even had time to enjoy a quick dive along one of the local reefs. Once we returned from our dive, Chantale and the certified divers hit the reef for a dive and a few Rescue scenarious. After lunch, the group headed for a challenging hike up Mt. Belvedere and enjoyed the view over the bay. The evening ended with a delicious Mexican dinner, a Marine Biology class, and the final Open Water quiz. I'm looking forward to tomorrow!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Anne - 2008-06-08

Author: Anne
Location: Cooks Bay, Moorea
We woke up to a hot oatmeal breakfast in Cooks Bay, Moorea. There was a lot of diving today both in the morning and afternoon. The people getting their Open Water certification did their last confined water dives and their first open water dive! Kiernan and Oliver started their Rescue Diver training, while Dane and I got to go on our first dive without an instructor, so we were forced to navigate underwater, while managing our time and air with no assistance. After lunch, we all went diving again, but we also hanked the flying jib and jib on, but we flanked them and secured them down, because we were not sailing today. We had a tasty shepherds pie, prepared by our chefs, Travis and Tyler. To end the night we had a Marine Biology class and the people getting their Open Water certification took quizzes 1,2, and 3. They will be certified divers soon!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

First Dives

Author: Kiernan
Location: Cooks Bay, Moorea
The morning dawned beautifully over the reefs as the crew of Argo began its 3rd day. The shipmates are adapting rapidly to life on board and routine is starting to form. After a breakfast of pancakes, the seven people taking Open Water class learned how to set up their dive gear for the first time. They then got to go for their first confined water dives. All the students performed all the skills perfectly and even got to see some of the amazing local wildlife. While the new divers were practicing their skills the four certified divers went on a check out dive with Chris, then got to explore along the crest of a local reef. Following diving and lunch all the students went to shore to explore for a few hours while some of the staff fought equipment issues while trying to wind surf. When everyone was back on board Argo we moved her further into the bay into a more protected location because the winds had picked up substantially throughout the day. The evening ended with a great dinner of chicken parmesan prepared by Oliver and Graham, then we had a Marine Biology class and the new dive students learned about dive tables. Tomorrow is going to be a day full of diving and will surely lead to great new stories.

Friday, June 6, 2008

2nd Day

Author: Jesse
Location: Cooks Bay, Moorea
Today we finally got Argo out of the marina. To get used to the boat in passage we motored about 2 hours to Moorea. We had our first Marine Bio class and started our species log books. We snorkeled in Cook's Bay and saw a huge variety of tropical Pacific Marine life. To refuel after our long, strenuous day in the tropics we feasted on some delicious homemade lasagna and garlic bread. After dinner we had some time before our guest speaker Shane (a Marine Bio major from New Zealand researching in Moorea) boarded and gave us a presentation on his work regarding competition between two species of fish on the reef. Afterwards we went over the first few chapters in our Open Water Dive books and were immediately in bed sleeping.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

1st day

Author: Boomer
Location: Maeva Beach, Tahiti
Today was the first day of the program. We woke up to a 0730 breakfast of French Toast while awaiting our 2 remaining arrivals. Once everyone was here we met in the salon to discuss policies and get everyone registered for classes. After lunch a local surf camp picked everyone up and brought them to the beach for surfing lessons. WHile most were surfing a few of us moved Argo off the dock to the tight anchorage of Maira Beach. We had dinner while the sun set over Moorea. Good day.