Saturday, February 28, 2009

Birthday and Skipper

Author: Hadley Meenan
Location: Underway
Today we celebrated my birthday on another beautiful day of passage. We had normal passage schedule with basic seamanship and oceanography classes in the afternoon. The wind picked up and we were able to turn off the motor and sail between 6-8 knots, we ate dinner under another beautiful sunset to finish off a great day on the water.

Feb 28 Argo Update

The Birthday Girl, Hadley calls in for the final February update.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Still on Passage

Author: Joey Moran
Location: Underway
We are well into the rhythm of passage now, and it has come to the point where days blend together and I can no longer remember when we left Male. Today was exciting for many reasons. We were able to shut off the motor and sail all day. While it was slow going, it was refreshing. Today also marks the point where we are furthest from land at approximately 600 nautical miles from any shore. After class and studying I played drawing games and then made everyone at the squeeze sing.

Feb 27 Argo Update

Joey posts the day 43 Argo update.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Equatorial Countercurrent

Author: Chris Uyeda
Location: Underway
As one of the two marine science educators aboard, and in the spirit of ocean education, I bring you a brief update from the science department.

Argo, currently travels eastward at 7 knots. For those regular followers of the podcasts, you'll note that this is a substantial increase from the past few days. But why? The answer has everything to do with something known as the equatorial countercurrent, a fascinating phenomenon that occurs in this unique part of the planet.

Throughout the world, just north and south of the equator, all currents flow from east to west. As a result, this creates a small bulge in the ocean, as water piles up near landmasses on the western edge. In our current case, that means that the water we sail on is not flat, but rather, slightly angled - with the high side near Africa and the low side near Indonesia. Couple this with the fact that on the equator there are essentially no winds - a phenomenon known as the doldrums - and the ocean is literally free to flow downhill as gravity pulls it towards Indonesia. And as we head towards Bali, we can't help but be along for the ride.

Feb 26 Argo Update

Chris calls in an entertaining and informative update.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Passage to Bali

Author: Matias Moreno-Bunge
Location: Underway
We had another day of low winds, so we spent most of it motor sailing. We were able to sail for an hour or two during an oil change in the Engine Room, which was a nice change of pace. The caprails on Argo were varnished this morning. All is well and the crew is doing well. It's been sunny all day with low cloud coverage.

Feb 25 Argo Update

The day 41 update comes from Matias.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

These Days are Truly Priceless

Author: Alessandro Pagliai
Location: Underway
Today began smoothly, after lunch we had an interesting discussion in SLD about certain qualities of a leader. We followed that hour with a quiz on boat sounds and then some nice story time by Captain Boomer. We then proceeded to take a free ocean swim, our second. It's wonderful that conditions have allowed this to happen. The rest of the day was steady sailing with a little help from our friend the engine. We followed that with dinner. We ate some wonderful Mexican cuisine, compliments of our second mate Kevin. Today was another beautiful day and a truly priceless one. This is my first time as skipper on passage, so I look forward to doing my podcast.

Feb 24 Argo Update

Argo continues east towards Indonesia. They have picked up the eastbound equatorial currents and are making good time.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Equator Crossing Ceremonies

Author: Jessica Peters
Location: Underway
Our day began at 3am when the "equator alarm" went off. We all scrambled up on deck in our swimwear ready for the equator crossing ceremony. Once on deck we were greeted by King Neptune (Boomer with a long beard and trident) and were told to crawl around the chart house which symbolized crossing the equator. While "crossing the equator" we were sprayed by the fire hose and sprinkled with flour, which was quite amusing. After we had to kiss King Neptune's ring and please the sea gods. Everyone on board is now officially a shellback. Later in the day the equator crossing ceremony continued with brave shipmates shaving their heads. Hopefully the strong sun at the equator won't result in a bunch of burnt scalps. When we were finished with classes we were able to heave-to and go swimming in the middle of the Indian Ocean with approximately 15,000 feet of water under us! Everyone is adjusting well to being back on the watch schedule and we are looking forward to more smooth sailing!

Feb 23 Argo Update

The crew of Argo made their first of two crossings of the equator this semester. Jessica gives us the details on the events involved in the equatorial crossing.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Eagerly Awaiting the Equator

Author: Tom Rice
Location: Underway
Today during our morning meeting Boomer notified us about our distance from the equator which is about 39nm away, he told us that from here on out we are on official "equator watch" and when we hear the ships alarm we all have to report on deck with our bathing suits on and stand in a line on the windward side of the boat, I can only imagine what kind of shenanigans Boomer has up his sleeve. On a side note I had one of the best days of my life today, we had a dance par-tay in the salon due to the early symptoms of passage fever. I think we ate to much chocolate cake this evening due to the couple of birthdays on board. Other than that passage has been routine, my body has finally acclimated back to the watch schedule, where I feel 6 hours of sleep at a time is substantial enough for me to function. Also on this trip I have seen more sunrises than I have in my whole life. So much homework tonight, but can't wait for the equator.

Feb 22 Argo Update

Tom brings us the day 38 update from just north of the equator.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

ITCZ

Author: Olivia Chapman
Location: Underway
We are making our way south in the Indian Ocean and are experiencing all that the Intertropical Convergent Zone has to offer. The different weather patterns from the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, along with variable winds and the opposing current has made for a relatively difficult and slow 24 hours. We have made it through out first few squalls and are looking to more favorable condition ahead. Life on board has gone back to studying and getting some rest before our watches. The girls of the foc'sle have taken the lead in cabin inspection, a surprise to all. Tomorrow there are two birthdays, Jessica's and Kevin's, and I'm sure we are all looking forward to the cake that is often associated with birthdays.

Feb 21 Argo Update

Olivia brings up to speed on the first day of passage to Indonesia.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Passage Prep

Author: Nick Rogan
Location: Underway
Today we prepared to leave the Maldives. After breakfast we took down the tarps and sail covers, brought up the dinghies, ran the jack lines, and coiled the lines. We finished all of the preparations with enough time to go for a last swim and bath. Then we took off on our longest passage yet to Bali. We steered through boats and atolls until we made it out to open ocean. It'll be two to three weeks before we see land again, and we'll be sailing across the Indian Ocean "the wrong way," going against the wind and perhaps the current. We'll make one equator crossings during the passage. Those who have never crossed the equator are called pollywogs, but by the end of this trip we'll be shellbacks.

Feb 20 Argo Update

The day 36 update comes to us from Captain Boomer as the crew turns the bow back east to Indonesia.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

New Course

Author: Danny Simon
Location: Hulhumale, Maldives
Everyone woke up to the familiar sites of the Maldives for the last time. During breakfast the crew was informed that our original course had been changed. Although there was disappointment at first we soon realized the exciting new path that was set for us. This new course will be a very rewarding one because it will be the second longest passage Argo has under taken and we will also be crossing the equator twice. Today was also an exciting yet hectic day. Congratulations to the newly christened Advanced Open Water divers for reaching 100 feet and completing their final dive. Provisioning for the long passage was quite a feat between running around Male and cleaning out any market we set foot in. The night ended with dinghy runs to the ferry picking up the rest of the food and loading it in their respected places. Everyone enjoyed their day and will also cherish their last anchor watch for a long time.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

One More Day in the Maldives

Author: Megan Smith
Location: Hulhumale, Maldives
Today was another great day in the Maldives. We had a full day to explore Banana Reef, Male or catch up on class work. The crew members also decided to do an assortment of activities aboard Argo as well. Some people took to the water for rock running and snorkeling, others took out the wind surfing gear and practiced their skills. After a lovely day exploring the Maldives we had our first navigation class in Basic Seamanship, which everyone seemed to enjoy. Tomorrow we will head back to Bandos for one last day of diving and adventure in the Maldives, then it is off to our next location.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A Note from the Colonel

Author: Kevin Johnsen
Location: Hulhumale, Maldives
Hello friends and family back home! You do not know of me yet but I am the 29th crew member aboard Argo. I am the unofficial Supervisor of all activities aboard Argo, always overseeing and watching out for the crew. I've been aboard the entire time, always behind the scenes making sure everything runs smoothly. Now that this new crew has ship life dialed in, I'm taking a more proactive roll aboard, starting by taking over the Skipper duties today in the lovely Maldives. After breakfast the crew efficiently got Argo moving back to Hulhumale for more diving. Once the hook was set our Advanced Water divers were making a splash to do their navigation dive while another group set off to pick up laundry. Everything was running extremely smoothly, which I absolutely require of my crew. After lunch much of the crew had some free time in which some chose to go to shore while others went snorkeling among the many reefs surrounding our anchorage. For dinner we had a special treat. Captain Boomer got in the galley to whip up some mouthwatering, unbelievable, tuna! It was easily some of the best tuna I have ever had, not to mention I was happy to not be eating eggs or chicken. Anyway, that's been our day out here, as have been many of our days in the Maldives: breathtaking scuba diving and delicious fish. It's a rough life but someone has to live it. Take care, and know that all is well while I'm on watch.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Exploring the Atolls

Author: Jamie Spencer
Location: Bandos, Maldives
Oatmeal started our day. We then motored over to Rainbow Reef for some scuba exploration. The first group went out just before lunch. After lunch we motored around to Barracuda Giri, where the second group was able to get a good dive in. I heard people saw some huge eels and other cool marine life. After the second dive we motored back to Bandos. We are awaiting dinner as of right now, and we look forward to a movie in class tonight. That would conclude another day aboard Argo.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Argonia

Author: Hillary Strasser
Location: Bandos, Maldives
We left Bandos at 0630 to motor 10 miles to the island of Rasfari. After dropping anchor we immediately piled into the dinghy to snorkel at the manta ray cleaning station. A certain section of the atolls around Rasfari are incredibly shallow and we were all dropped off to explore. This time of year manta rays come to this area and are cleaned by hundreds of tiny fish. The entire morning was spent swimming around as the giant creatures glided by. Evidently the mantas we saw were not full grown adults and most of them were an impressive 8-15 feet. After awhile, we all became braver and few of us dove down and glided alongside the mantas as they slid through the water. We reluctantly climbed out of the water and ate lunch on our motor back to Bandos. Halfway there Boomer spotted a deserted island peaking up out of the water. We dropped anchor yet again so that we could swim to this idyllic sandbar. Pretending that this island was our own, we named it Argonia. After an hour, we (unfortunately) swam away from Argonia, back on board Argo to finish our motor to Bandos. We dropped anchor exactly where we had been that morning and set about preparing for the night diver after dinner. This was the most unreal but stimulating day so far - we all have a newfound appreciation for mantas and truly admire the inexplicable beauty of the Maldivian atolls.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Argo Adventures in Love in the Male Atolls

Author: James Bowman
Location: Bandos, Maldives
Today, was a day unlike any other. The fact that our first full rotation of the job wheel landed on Valentine's Day was no accident. The Gods or the cosmos, or whatever causes bioluminescence all conspired to make sure that this momentous occasion was marked by the one day a year, set aside to celebrate love. Love. We have learned to love Argo as our home, transport, dance partner and as the incredibly sexy lady that she is. We have rinsed, chamoised, rust busted, trimmed, reefed, , scrubbed, and caressed her and she has broken her back to allow us to cross oceans and see incredible sights. We all look forward to continuing the love affair in the months and miles to come. As for what we did today, we explored the island of Bandos, its amazing coral reef wall encircling it and indulged in the various resort amenities that have become all to foreign to us. It was a relaxing day caped by an enjoyable night ashore. Skipper Bowman wishing you a good one.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Super Skipper

Author: Casey Jones
Location: Bandos, Maldives
Today was a great day. We awoke to beautiful morning. The Chefs were flipping pancakes; the sun was shinning bright on the water, who could ask for anything better. Soon after breakfast and morning clean up, we hoisted up the anchor and moved over to the small island of Bandos, located in the middle of the North Male Atoll. After lunch most people enjoyed a peaceful dive along the drop off of a nearby reef. The water was crystal clear and reef fish swarmed in schools above our heads. It was a very nice dive. The activity for the evening was a night snorkel. This went over well. There were lots of animals to be seen, including things such as a sleeping sea turtle, octopus, a small shark, moray eels, and even a sleeping parrot fish wrapped up in its cocoon. The bioluminescence was crazy. When you turned off your flash light it was as if you were surround by thousands of little twinkling stars. As the night dies down I'm exited about the rest of our adventures to come in this wonderful atoll.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Culture Shock

Author: Hal Cosec
Location: Hulhumale, Maldives
Day 28 has approached and the crew continues their break from the long wrestle against Poseidon with another day on the shore of Male. The people there are kind but they hold stares of judgment. Walking down the streets I stumble upon the revelation that I am now the minority. This strange feeling of surrealism is much like an episode of twilight zone. As I lower our flag for the evening I can't help but to thing about how many cultural lessons we have learned on this voyage and what awaits us at the end of our next passage. This is skipper Hank signing out.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Day in the Tropics

Author: Margot Denman
Location: Hulhumale, Maldives
This morning we awoke to clear skies, pleasantly warm weather and oatmeal sprinkled with cinnamon for breakfast. Dinghy runs began at 8:00 to start our day on shore off nice and early, and people spent most of the day wandering through the streets of Male and exploring the various fish and produce markets that litter the small atoll (less than one mile long). The narrow streets are crowded with tall buildings painted wild colors and are choked with all kinds of traffic. At 15:00 when everyone was suppose to be on the last Hulhule ferry, we realized there was a mistake and the ferry to Hulhumale was actually the correct one. Only five of us made it back on the right ferry while the others had a long trek back, but finally made it back to Argo and enjoyed a long awaited swim. We had chili for dinner and the squeeze question was "what is something you'd like to work on within yourself," which we answered going around in a circle as the setting sun hung like a molted ball in the sky and slowly disappeared behind the palm trees in the distance.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Land Ho!

Author: John Dillon
Location: Male, Maldives
We sailed into Male around 7 am and waited for a pilot boat to escort us through Male Bay port to our current anchorage. Today we thanked Argo for our safe passage by giving her a solid cleaning. We did not make it ashore today, but we will have all day tomorrow to relax and enjoy the islands. We spent most of the day cleaning, re-stocking food and looking our the portholes waiting for tomorrow.

Monday, February 9, 2009

LDP- Last Day of Passage

Author: Chris Ergen
Location: Underway
Today we started the final day of our first passage. The morning started with some ripping winds and a great sail. The wind stayed strong all day and after MTE and PSCT, we enjoyed pizza for dinner. Tomorrow morning we will arrive at the capital city of the Maldives, Male. Although passage has been amazing, we are all excited to explore a new culture.

Feb 9 Argo Update

Chris calls in the update as Argo prepares for arrival in the Maldives!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Almost There

Author: Lizzy Freund
Location: Underway
This morning started off with dolphins swimming alongside the bow as our watch team lowered the flying jib (which I later got to lead the raising of in the afternoon). Being skipper on passage is all about making sure things run on time and helping out however necessary. Sometimes that means helping the gophers bring up food or other times helping the deckies give Argo her nightly wash down, complete with a chamois dry off. We all work very hard to keep Argo looking good as much fun as we have it's not always easy, especially on passage. The waves out here on the Indian Ocean love to get Argo on her keel which means a lot of added saltwater on deck as we scurry to keep our balance while washing her down. The staff and a few of the students walk across Argo as if they were walking on a smooth hard road whereas others like myself seem to go flying in whatever direction Argo turns as the waves crash against her hull. It's honestly a lot of fun though, like some kind of amusement park ride. Unlike some ride that only lasts three minutes this one goes on for 90 days and I honestly cannot thank my parents enough for giving me this amazing opportunity.

Feb 8 Argo Update

Lizzy briefs us on Argo's progress west on day 24 of the program.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Living the Life at Sea

Author: Leah Shopneck
Location: Underway
The sails remain full as Argo enjoys another day of passage. Those of us on board have lost track of the number of days we have not seen land nor another boat. The only contact with the outside world has been with the pods of dolphins that play under our bow at all hours of the day and night.
Life on passage is simple, with one's only duties including a watch schedule of three hours on, six hours off, two one-hour long classes a day and a job determined by your place on the job wheel. During the day the crew can be found scattered throughout the boat: working on upcoming assignments in the salon, preparing the next meal, reading a book in the shade of the sails, or conversing in the cockpit with the current on duty watch team. Passage is a way of life for those on Argo, which is often times missed once shore is again in sight.

Feb 7 Argo Update

The crew makes good time as they pass south of Sri Lanka.

Friday, February 6, 2009

200 Mile Day

Author: Travis Grange
Location: Underway
Another day of sailing with all six sails up and no motor. At 0900 this morning we clocked our first 200 nautical mile day averaging 8-10.5 knots over the previous 24 hours. The wind has been tricky today, but in general we have kept at about 7-8 knots. Today we had our last Marine Biology class before the first exam on board Argo. We learned about sound signals, lights, right-a-way, and buoys in our Basic Seamanship class. The best thing on board is sailing silently in the middle of the night.

Feb 6 Argo Update

Travis calls in from the chart house of Argo as she continues west to the Maldives.

Feb 5 Argo Update

Jimmy updates us from on passage in the Indian Ocean.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Seven Hour of Sewing

Author: Travis Grange
Location: Underway
Today began with the sewing of the sails at midnight. The sewing began and we continued throughout the night until 7 am when the sails finally went back up. Argo was at full sail again. Today our foul weather gear got another workout with squalls throughout the day. Today was also amazing because of head chef Chris U. He cooked up some amazing bread which was a nice surprise for the crew. Today did have its challenges with sewing, squalls and with 13 days of no clean laundry. But passage is starting to become life here. I'm not sure I will be able to get a full night's sleep or wake up without Danny's wake up calls once we reach Bali. Everything is great out here and once again, hi mom and dad.

Another Day in Paradise

Author: Jimmy Herbert
Location: Underway
We continue to sail with all the sails up at a steady pace of eight to ten knots. People seem to be pretty well in the groove of life on passage, although there are still a few kinks to work out. It's been beautiful weather all day, clear skies and blue water as we reached our first thousand mile mark on the trip log. The overall confidence of the crew seems to improve with each new success. The academic end of things is the next hurdle, as few of us have ever balanced papers and tests with three hour sailing shifts, three times a day. We will do just fine, however. This is the experience of a lifetime.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Sailing into the Indian Ocean

Author: Danielle McCulloch
Location: Underway
Argo has been sailing will all six sails up and no motor running all day, which has been exciting for those of us new to the sailing world. Today in MTE class we watched footage of Irving Johnson's 1929 trip around Cape Horn in the cargo ship, Peking. I believe that after watching that video everyone gained a new respect for those that came before us. Everyone is finally settling into the watch routine. Each watch brings us closer together and as we bond we become increasingly proud of our teams. We've even gone so far as to start a friendly competition. Those of us on Watch Team 1 have challenged teams 2 and 3 to an air band competition, which will be epic.

Feb 4 Argo Update

update from passage

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Fish On

Author: Judy Bradshaw
Location: Underway
Today was an exciting day on Argo. Our trip log at 10:30 am was 617 nm from our departure point in Phuket, Thailand on Day 1. We are passing north of Sumatera heading out of the Andaman Sea. We have spent the majority of passage so far motor sailing in hopes that the wind would pick up. Early this morning we raised the fisherman and flying jib. We are currently sailing engines off, under full sail, on a broad reach. Shipmates are beginning to get the first taste of the seas, steering under sail, and the heel of the ship. Also today we caught our first fish. The fish was a wahoo big enough to feed us all with a delectable Cajun dinner.

Feb 3 Argo Update

update on passage

Monday, February 2, 2009

Bioluminescent Dance Party

Author: Rory McFadden
Location: Underway
Today was our first full day of passage on our way from Langkawi to the Maldives. In general the day was fairly uneventful, the wind refused to co-operate and has remained calm throughout the day. Early this morning, just after midnight, we were treated to an amazing light show, with bioluminescent light strobes that filled the ocean around the boat. Later on, after eating dinner we were all excited to see a pod of dolphins swimming with the boat off the bow. And so we ended today with many miles left between us and the Maldives and no land in sight.

Feb 2 Argo Update

Update on passage

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The First Big Passage Begins

Author: Hadley Meenan
Location: Underway
Today we woke up to our last day in Malaysia. After we ate breakfast we had Oceanography and then prepared the boat for our upcoming passage. There was a lot to get done but we all worked together and finished in time for lunch. After lunch we went to a nearby cove for a marine science lab. We were in the water getting hands on learning counting the different creatures we found on and around the rocks. We also had time to explore the many caves that went back deep into the cliffs. We retuned to the boat and after we made sure everything was ready we raised anchor and headed out to sea. We are all very excited about our first long passage and the adventures to come as we sail to the Maldives.

Feb 1 Argo Update

Update from passage