Saturday, December 5, 2009

Final Endings

Author: Renee Stoehr
Location: Cape Town, South Africa
After arriving in Cape Town yesterday there are quite a few mixed emotions floating around. Many are excited to see there families, but everyone is very sad to leave. How do you say goodbye to those who have been involved in every aspect of each others lives for the last 90 days?
The day's events continued to remind us that we will soon be parting. We conducted our final Boat Appreciation (BA) and are leaving Argo cleaner than we found her. Even though we are all physically departing, I can say that none of us will ever be the same. We have all grown up, found ourselves with the help of each other and could never forget the memories we shared. Tomorrow will be a sad day, but we all know we are leaving better people from this experience and that is something that could never be taken away.

Friday, December 4, 2009

The End of the Journey

Author: Joe Torcivia
Location: Victoria and Albert Waterfront, Cape Town, South Africa
After an early morning rounding of the Cape of Good Hope, we dropped anchor outside the harbor and waited for the sun to rise. We made it. 7,184 miles and 88 days after leaving Singapore, we have finally reached our destination. All the students seem to have a new found confidence in their step. We sailed across an entire ocean. We visited places most only read about. We even rounded the southern most tip of Africa, a passage notorious for its difficulty. As Argo sits at the dock, there is also an air of sadness among the students as it finally sets in that our time aboard is coming to an end. I am happy to report that all the PSCT students have passed their exams, and a few will go on to complete their Master of Yachts 200 Ton exam in Durban. Today its time to pack up our things and return Argo to the pristine shape she was in, in Singapore. We look forward to finally getting home with plenty of stories and pictures to go around.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Last Full Day Underway...Making Way

Author: Luis Vecchio
Location: Underway To Cape Town, South of the Cape of Good Hope
Firstly Beaks would like me to say how excited I was to open the advent calendar today. We are within 80 nautical miles of Cape Town and 35 nautical miles south of the Cape of Good Hope. We had our last class ever today, which was our Marine Biology exam it was a sad moment because it was just another step closer to the end. Today was the last full day our crew would experience underway. It was all in all a good day. We sailed, we talked and we reminisced about the last three months. I find it amazing that in the last three months I have been to four sovereign countries and multiple territories, I have crossed an ocean, been to two continents and I set foot for the first time in my life on the continent of Africa. We have seen whales, sharks, rays, orangutans, elephants, rhinos, zebras, hippos and many more. We have seen gale force winds and been through what is widely considered as the most unpredictable waters in the world. But most of all we have had the time of our lives and made life long friends doing all of it.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

300 Miles To Go

Author: Leah Shopneck
Location: Rounding Cape Agulhas, the most southern point of Africa
Looking at our charts it almost appears as though Argo is at the end of the earth. The entire continent of Africa sits approximately seven miles north of us as we round Cape Agulhas, the most southern tip of Africa. This morning as we watched a cold front move east across the sky we hauled up our anchor for the last time this semester and began to make our way west. With only 300 miles to go until Cape Town, everyone was on deck to see our departure, enjoy a final on deck chilly but refreshing saltwater shower and to set sail. Engine off, we sailed a steady 6 knots throughout the day as the African coastline turned from sandy shores to rocky cliffs in the distance. When the crew was not on deck soaking up the rays of the sun, they were taking their Oceanography final exam or studying for the next day's Marine Biology final exam. With such a short distance ahead of us, everyone has smiles on their faces as Argo heels over and sways back and forth in the southern ocean one last time this year.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Whale Watching

Author: John Callahan
Location: Plettenbergbaai, South Africa
Today was actually a pretty eventful day. It started off like any other day under passage, working our way through night watch until it came to my watch team, group 3. It had been decided that we were to anchor in Cape Seal, due to the incoming inclement weather approaching. Right before our arrival, there was a spotting of a humpback whale and it's offspring, occasionally leaping out of the water and generally splashing around a bit. We rolled in at about eight, welcomed by seals hopping about through the water. As we arrived, my group did a little boat appreciating and then briefly passed out for a good while. I unfortunately had to finish my OCB research powerpoint. I stayed up, and the boat quickly became very quiet. Quietly working by myself, the boat slowly rolling around, I realize how much I've gotten used to from being on this trip. I would have never thought I would ever be constructing a powerpoint in a sailing yacht in Southern Africa waters. Anyways, we didn't get a chance to get ashore and check out the local scene, seeing as we were just anchoring for the night to avoid the low-pressure system chugging right towards us. The rest of the day was pretty normal, with lunch, class, dinner, and then anchor watches through the night.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Christmas Presents

Author: Kevin Johnsen
Location: Underway to Mossel Bay, South Africa
We are south of the continent of Africa rolling in the all too familiar Indian Ocean swell. It's a clear, brisk, day with the chill of winter in the wind, peculiar since it is late spring early summer in the southern hemisphere. I for one don't mind the chill at all because with Thanksgiving behind us and December right here it's time to start thinking Christmas and a chilly, clear sunny day is just like the holiday season back home in southern California for me. Others expect a little more snow for their Christmas to be complete but all agree the chill has us thinking in the holiday spirit. Argo's Christmas present to us all will be a safe passage across roughly a quarter of the globe, some 7,000 nm and enough fond memories to last a life time. We have seen more animal wildlife than any other trip with; orangutans, monkeys, dolphins, humpback whales, elephants, rhinos, buffalo, hippos, crocs, giraffes, zebras, and many more all up close and personal. As of a few hours ago on my watch we passed Argo's previous "most miles in a semester traveled" and are now currently at 6,935nm and still climbing. We've crossed an ocean, weathered rolly seas, extreme storms, and some of the most difficult waters known to sailors. And we still have a Cape to round! Yes, new friends, fond memories and a safe passage through the end is the best present for us all. Thank you Argo.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Four Legs

Author: Jessica (Beaker) Fry
Location: East London, South Africa
After feasting last night we set off to explore some more of East London today. We went to the East London museum hoping to see the only remaining dodo egg. Unfortunately it seems to have gone missing, or so the curators of the museum say! The museum was interesting, a large part dedicated to the discovery of the coelacanth. A fish thought to have been extinct for 70 million years until one was discovered in 1938 in East London. It is an interesting fish, named 'Four legs' due to its resemblance to terrestrial tetrapods. A relevant stop, after mentioning this fish many times in our science class. The museum also had a cultural and maritime section upstairs, enlightening us more about the dangerous waters off South Africa and the customs of the local tribes. While waiting for our taxi we enjoyed some sunshine on the grass outside before a quick stop at the mall for wifi and to restock our provisions after the Thanksgiving feast! Back on board we had an OCE class and then prepared for our next passage south. After dinner we departed around 9pm after the southern winds died down. As we passed the breakwaters the seas were calm with a gently swell as we set off once more.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving in South Africa

Author: Kat Cape
Location: East London, South Africa
Although we are an ocean away from the States, Thanksgiving on Argo came and went with many of the traditions we know and love from home. Planning for this much anticipated event was in the works for quite some time before we even arrived in East London. Leah arranged for a turkey dinner to be prepared at the local yacht club, and also asked us to offer our recipes and our hands to prepare our favorite Thanksgiving dishes. The preparation on Argo began a night in advance and continued right up until the feast, as pies, cookies, soups and casseroles were made by a number of shipmates. At the yacht club, our host, Yvette, cooked her first turkeys ever, and while admittedly stressed out by the process, she served us a Thanksgiving dinner that we all agreed was as good as any we have had at home. While the food was great, it was not the lone bright spot in our day. As we near the end of our trip we have all realized that the time we have left together is limited, so Thanksgiving at the Buffalo River Yacht Club gave us an opportunity to put up our feet and celebrate with our surrogate family of the last 80 days. Thanksgiving in East London was a big success, and November 26 will likely be one of the more memorable days of our trip.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Exploring East London

Author: Nora DeKeyser
Location: East London, South Africa
Today was our first full day in East London. We started out with an OCB class directly after breakfast. We then got a lift into town by police officer who let us use their squad van to see what East London is about. We spent some time at a local mall where most people used the internet caf to contact friends and family back home. From there we went to a beautiful white sand beach. The sand was soon being used as a soccer and rugby field which was really fun. The beach also had several sand dunes which a group of us climbed up and jumped off. It was day full of fun under the warm African sun.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Where's My Boot

Author: Kris Stevenson
Location: East London, South Africa
We arrived in East London at around midday, with the cry of all hands on deck having been made a few hours prior to our pilotage into the harbour. East London, South Africa's only true river port, appears to be a lot smaller than the previous two large commercial ports of Richards Bay and Durban but we were met with an ebbing current flowing out of the river into the estuary. The proposed dock, however, was most definitely not the type Argo was accustomed too, with large rusty piers for support. A small crack team was tasked with engineering a few large scale fendering devices to accompany "Jerome" (our resident goliath fender) in order to prevent Argo from contracting tetanus!
Following a textbook docking, a full scale Boat Appreciation (BA) operation was put into action, restoring Argo back to her natural beauty and the envy of the marina. Showers followed dinner, which in turn was followed by another chapter in the Blue Planet series, entitled "Deep Oceans."

The End of a Candle

Author: Gaylin Didur
Location: Underway to East London
Midnight, we leave from Durban for one of our last passagse as our time together begins to flicker like the end of a candle, the passages are much enjoyed and appreciated by all of us. The sun today seemed to know what we were interested in, as it was fully risen by 0415 and many of us were up with it for the whole day. However, as our candle has not yet begun to flicker, the stalk is getting noticeably short and the emotions around the boat are growing thick. This close to the end I have found it difficult to stay fully aware and present, as it will be painful when we do part. This trip though has made me realize something that I have known for my whole life, that great sadness and great happiness not only go hand and hand, but if they do not coexist then you find yourself in a very drab, cold place where time and life begins to bleed together. This was my time before Sea|mester, but will not be my time ever again. Friends will be missed and tears may be shed, but time will not be forgotten

Monday, November 23, 2009

Nov 23 Argo Update

Argo departs Durban headed south.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

As We Say Goodby to Durban

Author: Andy Dippel
Location: Durban, South Africa
Today is our last day in Durban, it has been an exciting stay from the shark dissection, action packed mall and wet and wild water park. Yet today was no different, we had a full day starting off with an Oceanography course quickly followed by Beaker demonstrating how she makes her trademark Beaker Bags. So now most of us have a Beaker Bag in progress and once finished can be used to stash our sweets like Dan, or use it as a stylish one of a kind hand bag. After the crash course we had an out door lab on the sand bar in the middle of Durban Harbor just feet form the shipping lanes where we spotted crabs maintaining there homes in the sand, and also some of them have made there way in to Luis' boots which then inspired a comical dance on the sand bar as he attempted to remove the invader from his boots. After which, we all collected back on Argo for a quick pasta salad lunch then promptly disembarked to the Maritime Museum that is located just near the yacht clubs here in the harbor. There we wandered around on board some old steam tugs learning the history of Durban Harbor and tugs that made this huge shipping hub possible. Now, back on board there is still not a dull moment as everyone is doing there jobs in preparation for our sail later this evening to East London as soon as our barometer reaches the magic number of 1020.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Hiking in South Africa

Author: Pat Smith
Location: Durban, South Africa
Today was a good day aboard Argo. We spent most of the day hiking in a park in South Africa, which was pretty cool because let's be honest here, how many of us are going to get the chance again? Some of the scenery was absolutely breathtaking. On the way home we stopped at a mini mall where there was a Super Spar and a Wimpy amongst other things. This provided us with the opportunity to stock up on some sweets and grab a burger before heading back to Argo. It's hard to believe today was Day 75. All of us shipmates are in agreement that this trip has flown by, while many of us do miss the comforts of home, we're all are going to be sad to leave because we are having a lot of fun and experiencing things that many people can only image doing.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Surfing the Waves at the Local

Author: Grace Huang
Location: Durban, South Africa
The crew woke up to weather that permitted us to eat breakfast on deck, the first time in quite awhile. This weather was perfect for the activity we had planned for the today, go to Ushaka Water. After a short cab ride we arrived at the water park, which also had another theme park attached. This one was more of a Sea World type park which turned out to have an aquarium, shows where animals performed, as well as many restaurants and shops. We were able to split up and enjoy the park at our own leisure in our groups. Some people started out going straight to the water park and going on all the rides, multiple times. At the aquarium, we were able to apply our OCB knowledge and ID many of the fish there. This turned out to be a helpful and fun little study session for the fish ID quiz we were going to have the next day. The aquarium also had scheduled times throughout the day they would feed the animals. We were able to see the manta rays getting fed, which was an amazing experience. I think many of us were jealous of the diver that was in the tank doing the actual feeding of the animals. During one of the dolphin shows, Luis was used as a participant from the audience, which he was ecstatic about. As the afternoon winded down we headed back to Argo, our floating home, to enjoy dinner, take our OCE quiz on physical oceanography, have an OCB class on the Open Ocean. We learned that there are fewer big animals in the open ocean due to fewer nutrients which is probably why we have had such few animal sightings until recently when we began sailing near the coast. After our daily scheduled activities were over we rolled into anchor watch.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Hammerhead Dissection

Author: Michael O'Keeffe
Location: Durban, South Africa
Today, as most days, began with a bit of an early start with a filling breakfast and a lightning fast cleanup that was dotted with the usual wise cracks of the early morning especially when there is a bit of rain. After breakfast we all pilled into a taxi which brought us to a shark information center, where we were taught all about the shark nets which blanket the beach region of South Africa. South Africa is known for its sharks so there is a very large effort to learn more about the sharks as well as protect the shoreline from their possible attacks. The most interesting part of the day was the chance to watch a large hammerhead shark being dissected. We got to see touch as well as smell the partially digested contents of the sharks stomach, the large sheet like intestines, as well as the very dense oily liver. After the very interesting shark dissection we went to the local mall which was very interesting to see the influence that American malls have on the rest of the world. All in all it was a great day filled with some of the usual as well as some interesting activities.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Moving South in the Weather Window

Author: Chris O'Reilly
Location: Durban, South Africa
All hands on deck came early this morning, 0500. We arrived at Durban this morning with the sun. After spending more time then we had planned in Richards Bay, we finally found a weather opening and sailed through the night to Durban, which wasn't a planned port, but we have to take the opportunity when the weather enables us to get another 85 miles under us. We spent the early morning cleaning our beautiful lady Argo, while the two local yacht clubs brought us gifts to see which one we would use. In the end we all got memberships to both of them, its nice to see the benefits of living on such a classy vessel at times. After the boat appreciation a few of us went to check out the yacht clubs, while others caught up on some sleep that was missed last night. It should be a nice few days in Durban while we wait for the next weather window. This will be my last log. See you guys soon, home in three weeks, it's hard to believe.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Whale Watching

Author: Samuel Paci
Location: Underway to Durban
Although Richards Bay and all our adventures with the rhinos and elephants on the safari were awesome, I think we were all ready to leave Richards. Even preparing the boat to sail was exciting. We are in the stage of the bay trip, where we all feel very at home on Argo and on the ocean and I think even to the unenthused sailor the preparations for an ocean passage stir up emotions of happiness. It felt great to start rolling and stumbling through the saloon. About three miles out of Richards Bay Harbor we were visited by some humpback whale: a momma and a baby. At first they were just surfacing to breathe but ten minutes later they returned to show off. The momma shot out of the water vertically extending her body at least 10 feet out of the water and then smacking her belly down upon the waves. The baby followed and shot out of the water 5 seconds later. What an incredible sight. An once in a lifetime encounter with some of the coolest travelers of the world.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Careful Eye

Author: Dan
Location: Richards Bay, South Africa
Today was another excellent day in Richard's Bay, students had a morning full of science with an Oceanography class, then enjoyed some free time ashore before returning to the boat. After dinner science students watched a Marine Biology movie before breaking into dock watches. We are keeping a careful weather eye and will probably depart for Durban tomorrow morning.

*This entry includes photos from our safari*

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Skeleton Crew

Author: Chancey Smith
Location: Richards Bay, South Africa
While half the crew went back to the bush for their safari, half stayed with Argo to watch her for the night. We all had some well needed free time to go shopping for some warm clothes, watch movies and treat ourselves to lunch on land. It was very nice to have some down time but even better when the rest of the crew came back with their safari stories. Absence does make the heart grow fonder.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Touring with Stefan

Author: Francis Smith
Location: Richards Bay, South Africa
Today, we awoke early to have a quick breakfast before leaving for group 2's safari. At 7:30 Stefan, our rustic South African safari guide, was here to pick us up and we boarded the van, saying goodbye to the shipmates we would be leaving behind. The drive to the safari was interesting and we got to see some of the culture of the Zulu people, with all of their small houses and simple ways of life. Then we reached the game park and started our safari. We saw many animals including elephants, giraffes, zebras and many others. There were rumors that a leopard was in the area so we searched for it but had no luck in finding it or any of the other cat species, leopards, lions or cheetahs. Although, disappointed about not seeing any predators, we still all headed to the Bed and Breakfast a happy group, to have seen the animals we did and have spent a crammed but entertaining day in the van. Back at the Bed and Breakfast we were treated to a feast of steak, lamb and sides, followed by deserts. We all felt like we were treated like royalty and enjoyed a nice night sleep in comfy beds.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Real African Experience

Author: Renee Stoehr
Location: Richards Bay, South Africa
And so it just keeps getting better and better. Today group 1 got back from an insane safari trip, so much happened. We all woke up in real beds this morning at 0430 to head off into the game park at 0500. After seeing more awesome animals like we did yesterday, it was back to the BandB for a wonderful breakfast. After a brief nap we headed up the river to watch the hippos and crocodiles in their natural habitat that happens to run right alongside the town of St. Lucia. Walking around the craft market and getting a brief snack was followed by my favorite part of the day, and here is whyToday I was wrapped up by a huge 2 meter snake and then held a (baby) crocodile. Despite being a long day we all were so excited when we got back to Argo. This was the first time we were separated over night from part of the crew. It just stuns me over and over how close we have all become so far to miss each other after being gone one night, oh and the fact we were on a safari in Africa.couldn't be a better trip.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Safari Time

Author: Joe Torcivia
Location: Richards Bay, South Africa
After waking up bright and early on our 4th day in South Africa, 11 of us disembarked on a safari with our guide Samora from Land Lover Safari Tours. We piled into a little van and made our way over to the Umfolozi Game Reserve. As we drove along the path through the 375 mi2 park, animals that we had only previously seen in zoos became visible through the windows of the van. Giraffes peered down at us while snacking on tree branches more than two stories up and we watched as their long, purple tongues grabbed at the leaves. Herds of zebras trotted down the middle of the road and Rhinos and Elephants eyed us suspiciously from their mudholes while catching a break from the heat of the midday sun. We spent our first night ashore in a little bed and breakfast in St. Lucia, and feel asleep hoping to see some of the more elusive animals like lions and leopards the next day. Hopefully the next group has as much fun as we did and were looking forward to hearing their stories and seeing their pictures when they get back.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Dude! We are in South Africa

Author: Luis Vecchio
Location: Richards Bay, South Africa
It is our third day in Richard's Bay, South Africa. We had a class this morning in OCB on continental shelves. After class we were allowed to go to shore for some time. Many students went to the mall to buy food and warm clothing. Before dinner we had a lecture from Stephen, the man running the Safari we are going on tomorrow, on animal behavior. This is Luis saying hello to my family back home; Tite, Gretchen, Grandma, Grandpa, Mom, Dad, Teo, and Bife.

Esta la trecera dia en Richard's Bay, Sur de Africa. Tuvemos una clase de OCB este manana. Despues nosotros pudiemos ire a la tierra para un poco tiempo y tambien muchas person fueron a la mercado para comprar cosas como ropa y comida. Antes de cena un hombre, que se llama Stephen, hablo de la safari que nosotros vamos a haver manana. Soy Luis y estoy deciendo hola a mi familia ; Tite, Gretchen, Abuelo, Abuela, Mama, Papa, Teo y Bife.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

We Could be Anywhere in the World

Author: Leah Shopneck
Location: Richards Bay, South Africa
After almost a month at sea, the crew of Argo approached land with mixed feelings. The comforts of land made people eye shore with desire, but deep within themselves they knew they would miss the sea. As our second day on the dock and our first day to explore solid ground, the crew oddly enough spent their free time preparing for their next stint on the ocean. Buying more warm clothes was the common theme of the day. Some went to the local mall that could easily be located in St. Louis, Missouri while others shopped at the marina stores. By the end of the day the crew was decked out in gloves, hats and scarves, and now looked like walking fleece advertisements. When they were not shuffling through the racks of cold weather gear, some enjoyed a few moments of gigabites and contacted home with endless numbers of passage stories. Although we have enjoyed our first days in Richards Bay, most of us look forward to what lies beyond the city limits, as in just a few day's time we will be exploring a South African game park. The safari will provide us with a first hand account of the Big Five: giraffes, hippos, lions, rhinos and elephants. An experience I'm sure we will cherish for a lifetime.

Monday, November 9, 2009

This is Africa

Author: Louise Bailey
Location: Richards Bay, South Africa
We got sight of land at around 2 in the morning but had to wait for the sun to come up before docking. It was all hands at five thirty and shipmates were awoken hearing what has become the trip's theme song - Africa. It had been a longer passage than anticipated and we were all excited to finally reach our destination. There were many preconceived ideas on what the African coastline would look like and most of us recognized the trees from our childhood favorite "The Lion King," whose songs have also been heard echoing throughout the boat. As usual, we were quite a show for all the locals in Richards Bay. During our BA we were visited by many locals who checked out Argo while we cleansed her of all the accumulated salt grime from such a long passage. After the cleaning was done, we went out to dinner where there were steaks, pizzas, and ice cream galore. It was a satisfying end to a day that many see as the beginning of the end of our time on Argo. We have made it across the ocean!

*This entry includes additional photos from our passage to Richards Bay, South Africa.*

Argo Arrives Africa

The Fall Sea|mester 2009 crew of Argo has completed their crossing of the Indian Ocean and is along side the customs/immigration dock in Richards Bay, South Africa. Stay tuned for the posting of their written blogs which will be posted as soon as they can clear into South Africa and find some consistent internet.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Almost There

Author: Sam Butler-Hogg
Location: Underway to South Africa in the Indian Ocean
A day to go, we have been in a slow patch and had the engine going for a while but now the wind has picked up to get us to Richards Bay ahead of the oncoming south westerlies. Watches continue with the last of the snacks making a welcome appearance on deck. Marine Biology Exam was today so studying until the early hours was the theme of the night, for those of us not taking it the sun decided to shine and gave us a nice afternoon. We put the clocks back two hours after lunch to get ready for landfall so we had a nice early sunset. We will arrive at the entrance to Richards Bay tomorrow morning at around 3 am so rolling waves will make it another interesting night of sleep.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Another Day at Sea

Author: John Callahan
Location: Underway to South Africa in the Indian Ocean
Not much new today, just cruising along the last bits of our passage. We had class on deck for OCE we talked about the aquarium trade and its effects on the fish population. Class on deck was a nice change of pace, and the weather was bright and sunny. There's a big feeling of anticipation on the boat because of our soon arrival to mainland Africa. Admittedly the majority of this anticipation was from yours truly, but that's beside the point. The similarities between this 12 day passage and the previous 13 day passage are striking, however this recent passage just feltquicker. It's probably due to everyone's experience with traveling such great distances. Anyways, it's nice to be getting closer and closer to land. We'll see you in Richard's Bay.

Nov 7 Argo Update

Argo nears South Africa!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Two/Thirds

Author: Kevin Johnsen
Location: Underway to South Africa in the Indian Ocean
We have been crossing the Indian Ocean since the end of September, a little over a month now. It is day 60 of program and we are two thirds the way through our voyage this fall with a few days left before landfall in Africa! Two thirds is a big mile stone for us here aboard Argo. Time has a way of sneaking up on you. Each student came here with their own ambitions, particular goals, and reasons for joining the crew. I challenged them to have a bit of reflection today. Have you found what you're looking for? Have you meet your own personal goals? What have you learned aboard, which you will take back home with you? What back home do you now want to change in your life? I offer this momentary pause to reflect now because we are not done yet. With the Indian almost behind us we still have thirty days to explore Africa and round the Cape of Good Hope, no small feet. Use the time wisely and soak in every moment, every sensation. If you do, you will find what you're looking for.

Nov 6 Argo Update

Kevin calls in from Argo as she nears the home stretch in her passage across the Indian Ocean.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

One Week In

Author: Kat Cape
Location: Underway to South Africa in the Indian Ocean
We are one week into our passage and things are beginning to speed up on the Indian Ocean. Early in the passage we were frustrated by a lack of wind, but since we sailed through a wild storm a couple of days ago, we have enjoyed some steady winds that have kept our sails full and brought us steadily closer to Africa. In the classroom, things are beginning to pick up as well. Over the next ten days we have a number of tests and assignment deadlines, so we have begun to devote more and more of our free time to studying and writing papers. This trend was very evident below deck today. After a marine biology class and an episode of Blue Planet, the saloon remained full of shipmates hoping to get their work done before making landfall in a few days. It is always nicer to get work done on passage rather than on shore, because once we reach a new place we want to explore it rather than do homework. With just a few days left on this passage, we're all hoping to finish our work and keep our schedules open for our time in Richard's Bay.

Nov 5 Argo Update

Day 59 update from Argo is called in after a relatively calm day.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

270 Degrees True

Author: Jessica (Beaker) Fry
Location: Underway to South Africa in the Indian Ocean
After some strong winds and rain last night the skies cleared to reveal a beautiful full moon and a scattering of stars. We sailed along making good speed with just the forward staysail up for most of the night. Once the sun rose this morning and the winds subsided some more, we set the main staysail. We sailed like this for the rest of the day making 6-7 kts towards our waypoint close to Richards Bay, South Africa. The PSCT students had their first real exam for their Yachtmaster certification today and watches continued as usual. After an initially dark sky as the sun set, the moon rose magnificently and again we enjoyed the bright light of a nearly full moon as we continued westwards.

Nov 4 Argo Update

Jess calls in with the Argo Update for November 4th.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Indian Ocean Squall

Author: Nora DeKeyser
Location: Underway to South Africa in the Indian Ocean
Today started out like any other normal day on passage. We spent most of our time with our watch teams and the rest of the day in Marine Biology class and celebrating Gaylin's birthday. About an hour before dinner rain started coming down extremely hard. The wind soon picked up as well. Next came the lightning, thunder and waves. We suddenly found ourselves in an intense squall with 60 knot winds. I have never seen anything like it! I was scared at first by the immense wind speeds, but soon learned that squalls can be very exciting if you are careful. We had to take down all of the sails except for the forward staysail because the wind was so strong. The night was full of rolling waves, endless rain and extreme excitement. The good news is that we all stayed fairly dry on watch and by morning the storm had passed. It was really one of my favorite days of this trip.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Cake or Death?

Author: Kris Stevenson
Location: Underway to South Africa in the Indian Ocean
The constant flow of people traffic moving up the companionway to the transom, scrambling for their tethers with a panic strewn look upon faces confirms that the motion of the ocean has taken a firm hold on some crew member's stomachs. Even so spirits remain high as Argo remains on course to reach the East coast of Africa in a week's time, concluding the last of the major ocean passages this Fall and with it the sense of a huge achievement amongst crew. Officer of the watch (team 2) Grace Huang, celebrates turning the 21 this evening and has vowed to mark the occasion in style..English tea and cookies midships at midnight, all welcome!

Nov 2 Argo Update

Kris calls in the update from Argo as she clears Madagascar headed for South Africa.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Take Me Home Tonight

Author: Gaylin Didur
Location: Underway to South Africa in the Indian Ocean
As with most days, this one began in the early morning. There was the watch rotation, one group of bleary eyed comrades replacing an equal but opposite group, ripe with festivities, humor and rampart with laughter. None less to say, what happens on watch stays on watch, but by the time our three hour stint was complete, we were the laughing comrades being replaced by the bleary eyed replacements. Then sleep, glorious, rolly, bouncy, noisy sleep. Maybe up to five hours at a time if you're luckyamong other factors. Then the communal time from 12:00 to 15:00 due to class, this is followed by (weather permitting) shower time. Without a doubt the most adventure per day we get is the shower. A torrent of sea temperature saltwater gets dumped on many freezing crew and staff members couples with the various soap and foam products, make for many humorous moments. This is followed by chilling or sleeping or study time until we have dinner, a squeeze and a clean up.

Nov 1 Argo Update

Argos carries on west as the breeze and seas build a bit and the miles pass under the keel.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Trick-or-Treat

Author: Andy Dippel
Location: Underway to South Africa in the Indian Ocean
Dawn broke with the warm sun at our backs and the wind and seas were the calmest we have seen since leaving Mauritius. Spirits were up and everyone was preparing for the day of excitement ahead and the common phrase of "speed and course" was changed to "trick-or-treat" and every child's favorite holiday reached the decks of Argo. Motoring about 175 miles off the east coast of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean everyone on board started to get into their roles and costumes and gathered in the cockpit for lunch, joining us for lunch we had a wide assortment of guests ranging from the elusive Pirate to the Village People. The festive crew began to make their sandwiches then all of a sudden there was a banging and scratching coming from below decks, the brave lil iPod opened the laz and a Thai stow away shot out from the murky bilge water muttering, "Please Please, don't hurt Don't throw off Want massage? Bread?"
After lunch, the costume contest began where each one of us strutted our way down deck with appropriate catwalk music being played in the background. In the end Kevin stole the show with his original stowaway costume and Chancy and Joe won the group prize for dressing up as each other.
After the festivities were finished, and the whole crew hopped up on candy and rejuvenated after the holiday fun, another day ended on Argo with the warm sun at the horizon and all of us looking forward to what tomorrow has in store while making our way across the Indian.

Oct 31 Argo Update

Andy calls in the Halloween update from Argo. Lots of merriment and fun aboard as a great passage continues.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Passage

Author: Pat English
Location: Underway to South Africa in the Indian Ocean
Today was our first full day passage since leaving Mauritius. While all of us enjoyed land the past few days, it is nice to get out on the ocean and start sailing again. I think it has to do with the fact that we know there are going to be challenges ahead and we feel we're ready to take them on. Last night after dinner, Dan and the rest of the staff issued the students the challenge of raising all the sails without any staff direction whatsoever. If they had issued this challenge back in the beginning of the trip it would have been an absolute disaster, but now we performed that challenge admirably. It's nice being able to perform tasks asked of you without trouble. Everyone is starting to break out their snacks bought on shore for their new watch teams so things should get interesting as we compare and trade. The new watch teams are working out great and everyone is excited to be working with new people closer than before.

October 30 Argo Update

Pat calls in the update from Argo' second day on passage to South Africa.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Setting Sails Sans Staff

Author: Grace Huang
Location: Underway to South Africa in the Indian Ocean
We had our last day in Mauritius, which we spent aboard Argo helping her get ready for her next and last long passage for this semester. While preparing the boat, a large Japanese research boat docked on our stern and it had a submarine on board! It was really cool to see up close and it resembled a spaceship. We also took off and stowed the flying jib. After lunch we had pilot vessel guide us out of the channel, then passed through immigration rather quickly. When we were out a ways, but still in sight of Mauritius' beautiful and scenic landscape, we did a massive deck clean to get all the soot from land off and make Argo beautiful and clean again. Afterwards we finished the second half of our Oceanography research paper presentations. During the presentations, Leah came down below and told us there were whales off our port side. Naturally we all went on deck to take a look. We saw a few sperm whale blowholes spout water but they were rather shy and disappeared shortly. After a delicious dinner, the crew was issued a task from Dan: set all the sails sans help from the staff. The staff has been assisting us up until this point in raising sails. We split into our watch new teams and successfully set the sails! This turned out to be a great way to be about to work with our new watch teams before watches formally began for this passage. We're now settling back into life at sea with our new watch teams. All sails are set and we're heading into our 10-12 day passage to Richard's Bay, passing south of Madagascar. The weather looks to be fair for the next few days and everybody is well rested and ready for our last long passage and to arrive in South Africa!

Oct 29 Argo Update

Argo gets underway on the passage from Mauritius to Richards bay, South Africa.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Last Shore Time Before Passage

Author: Micael O'Keeffe
Location: Port Louis, Mauritius
Today was the last day where all the shipmates and crew had time available to explore the shores of Mauritius. Many got provisions and snacks, and maybe some chocolates intertwined. Although the weather has not been as amazing as it has been in the past, the rain is sometimes a nice refreshing break from the scorching sun. While many of us including me have been delighted to be on shore I am even more excited to be heading to sea for another passage which will be a bit shorter than the previous, but will prove not to be short on adventure.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Diving in Mauritius

Author: Chris O'Reilly
Location: Port Louis, Mauritius
We started off the day with an early breakfast at 6am so we could have a full day of diving. We woke up to a surprise on the deck: it was completely covered with soot from the tanker we are docked next to, so we got to clean it up after breakfast. While one group headed out at 7:30am for the first dive session, my group stayed back and got to enjoy a movie down below and relax. It was much needed. We got picked up around 11am and headed to the dive site where some of us experienced our first ever wreck dive where a Japanese fishing vessel sank in the 80's. There were two great dives, and we saw a moray eel that must have been the size of my leg. Most of us are exhausted from the dives and staying up late to finish our lit review papers, so tonight should be an early night on Argo for most of the crew. Good night for now. Mike will update you all tomorrow.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Free Day

Author: Samuel Paci
Location: Port Louis, Mauritius
Today we had one large free day. The group split up after two morning classes, so I am unsure at other people's day and what they did so I'll talk a little about my own. After class I helped out with a few things on board, fixing some leaks and what not. Around 12:00, three other shipmates and I ventured off the boat to a hotel that we booked for the day. It was quite the change of pace, having people serve us food and other luxuries that we don't have on Argo. It was a weird feeling. However, it was a great day consisting of hot water showers, sailing, windsurfing, swimming in a pool, free internet, laughs, steak, and most importantly chocolate milkshakes. When the day was over, we all felt extremely relaxed and ready to had back home to Argo.
*The pictures included in this entry are from the previous day's tour of the island of Mauritius*

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Mauritius Tour Day

Author: Dan
Location: Port Louis, Mauritius
Today began early as we piled into two vans to see the sights of the island nation of Mauritius. For hours on end, our local guides fascinated us with amazing sights and experiences unique to Mauritius. There were many waterfalls, tea plantations, huge tortoises, sugar cane, a model boat factory, and even seven colored dirt! The day was broken by lunch at a local restaurant before proceeding to several scenic view points to finish the afternoon. Everyone ended the day tired and excited by the prospect of more exploration in coming days.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Dry Land is Not a Myth

Author: Chancey Smith
Location: Port Louis, Mauritius
Spirits were high this morning. Rain showers were off and on but land was in the distance. After 13 days in the open ocean, we all marveled at the sight of the volcanic island and the dolphins which escorted us to the harbor. We have all enjoyed our passage, but are excited about the prospect of civilization. Mauritius customs boarded while we were underway to the island, and we were tied to the dock about lunchtime. For the fist time in over a week I was able to put my cup of coffee in the galley and count on it still being there when I returned to it. We have all developed an appreciation for level living spaces. After a thorough boat appreciation Argo is spotless. We have all put on our cleanest clothes (clean has become a relative term) and we are all eager for some shore time tonight.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Almost There

Author: Francis Smith
Location: Underway to Mauritius in the Indian Oceaan
Today was a good day. The sun was shining once again. We started out with a Marine Biology test, followed by a MTE class where we learned about estimating our position and using dead reckoning. Then we went up onto deck and were allowed to swim in our pool, the ocean, for showers. The water was clear and swimming was quite fun. We then had dinner. Tonight will be our last night on longest passage during this trip. I think some of us are excited about getting to shore but others are used to this simple relaxing life of sailing.

Oct 23 Argo Update

Argo nears Mauritius after a great passage over the majority of the Indian Ocean. 100nm to go!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Halfway There

Author: Renee Stoehr
Location: Underway to Mauritius in the Indian Ocean
When you wake up each morning to a shining sun, full sails and a 360 degree view of the Indian Ocean it seems irrelevant that we're approaching our twelfth day being underway. Even more shocking is the fact that today is Day 45 of our trip. We have all discovered so much about ourselves and accomplished what we wanted to at the beginning of the trip, and it is amazing to think we still get 45 more days of this. We got a nice break as round two of exams rolled around with a presentation of a movie, Captain Ron, after lunch today. Some crew members are antsy to get back to land and reading ahead it seems that Mauritius holds much exploring and adventures. Landfall within a couple days would be nice but so far so good out here on Argo, to say the least.

Oct 22 Argo Update

Argo speeds up a bit and the wind comes back, will be in Mauritius soon.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Nearing Mauritius

Author: Joe Torcivia
Location: Underway to Mauritius in the Indian Ocean
The sun has finally come out and the rain has taken a break. Although the wind has calmed, life aboard Argo keeps moving in full force. We had Oceanography class with Kris today and a PSCT pop quiz for those preparing to take their Yachtmaster exam. Everyone seems to be situated in life on passage in the Indian Ocean. However, with personal supplies of snacks and candy running low, most are excited to finally make it to Mauritius and re-supply. We are all looking forward to diving when we finally arrive, and some students who completed their Open Water Dive Certification will have a chance to become Advanced Open Water Divers in the next few days. Looking on the bright side, now that we have slowed down slightly, we may be able to catch some fish before we arrive. With the weather getting a little cooler, several students are planning to pick up some warmer gear in Mauritius. After dinner, clean up ended with a small dance party in the Galley with Luis showing off his moves. Tomorrow looks like another beautiful day, and hopefully the stars come out tonight for the watch teams.

Oct 21 Argo Update

Joe calls in the update from day 44, Argo's speed drops a bit as the wind settles a bit. Argo is only a few days out of Mauritius.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I am an Otter

Author: Luis Vecchio
Location: Underway to Mauritius in the Indian Ocean
Today we saw the sun for the first time in approximately 8 days. It was exciting. We had OCB and SLD class today, which were both interesting. In OCB Beaks taught us about bony fish and in SLD we discovered what type of leaders we are. I am proud to report that my leadership traits resemble that of an otter. Also today I presented my rock climbing speech in SLD class. And we can see Mauritius on the Nobeltec.

Oct 20 Argo Update

Louis calls in the day 43 update from Argo.

Oct 19 Argo Update

Leah calls in from Argo with the update from the Indian Ocean.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Happy Days

Author: Leah Shopneck
Location: Underway to Mauritius in the Indian Ocean
Life at sea is the definition of peaceful. The Southern Ocean provides a constant swell, making your bunk an ever swinging hammock. The cool trade wind breeze enables us to dress in our cozy fleece and foul weather gear as we watch the starry night pass over our heads. The cleanliness of a mid-passage boat appreciation makes everyone smile. And the smell of fresh baked French bread reminds us that there is no place like Argo.
It is now day eight of our 2400 nautical mile passage across the Indian Ocean and the crew is enjoying every minute of it. The rhythm of sea life has grown on those that once thought themselves land lovers. Who needs a dining room table to enjoy a meal with 21 of your closest friends when there is a cockpit that fits us perfectly? As the majority of the day is spent in watch teams, meal time always turns into a social affair. The gophers bring up the prepared meals and set them in the cockpit, where many hands carefully hold the mixed sandwich meat or still warm chili in place against the swell. Chefs then carefully begin making a plate: one scoop of rice, a few spoonfuls of meat, 2 tortilla shells, a handful of sauted onions and peppers, and maybe a little salsa and cheese to finish off the ideal taco. Laughter quickly fills the cockpit as stomachs fill and the peacefulness of a mid ocean sunset adorns the sky. Who wouldn't ask for a better way to spend your days?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Rainy Day

Author: Louise Bailey
Location: Underway to Mauritius in the Indian Ocean
Today we had more rain - the kind where it's just a steady stream flowing out of a gray sky. Although the waves weren't the biggest we've seen, the rain made it more interesting to move about the deck. After being out in the rain for a few hours, a bit cold and wet, it provided a nice laugh and relief. What was even better though was discovering we got to have some delicious and nutritious Pad Thai in the comfort of the saloon. There was no food flying off our plates as we sat around the tables even though we found it kind of a strange feeling to be eating at actual tables. No worries though, all our good upbringings kicked in and we ate like civilized people. And, for the icing on the proverbial cake - we made a 205 mile day! Mauritius is maybe only five days away if the winds keep up. Either way, we're having a good time and life is sweet.