Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Terraganu

Author: Jimmy Herbert
Location: Terraganu, Malaysia
Today we enjoyed motor sailing the last few miles of our trip to the marina. The skies were clear and in the morning it was relatively cool. As we neared our destination and people arose from their slumber the projects necessary to arrive began. We dropped and flaked the sails, set up fenders and began cleaning the deck. We arrived at the marina just before lunch. It is beautiful and spacious and best of all nearly deserted. After lunch we gave Argo a full appreciation, polishing, scrubbing and disinfecting. Most of the group is eagerly looking forward to their ColReg exam tonight as they have been studying for days. Also, many of us are putting the finishing touches on our OCE projects. Tomorrow will be spent enjoying the marina and exploring town.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Passage

Author: Danielle McCulloch
Location: Underway
Today started with cinnamon rolls prepared by our awesome chefs and Margot. The day was rather ordinary. Watch Team 2 was rained on per usual. We had class, OCE had a quiz and OCB watched a movie. During OCE Captain Boomer fixed the other hatch in the fo'c'sle so we no longer sweat up there. Throughout the day we navigated through several areas filled with fish traps, taking care to avoid them. Dinner was awesome, we had burritos with Sandro's special refried beans (he spent two days making them). During dinner cleanup Hillary and I were on bow watch when we spotted land. So to make Casey proud we pointed it out and yelled "Land Ho!" at the top of our lungs. But sadly only Boomer heard.

Mar 30 Argo Update

A group update from the crew of Argo.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Departing Singapore

Author: Judy Bradshaw
Location: Underway
After a couple of weeks of seeing only each other, some orangutans and a village or two, Singapore and the Straits left a strong impression on us. But once the lines were cast off from the dock early this morning the focus was all Argo. As we approach our 6000 mile mark the shipmates are getting better and better at everything they do. There is a growing effort to not merely do our jobs, but to bring things to the next level. Meals are getting better, deck work is more thorough, final projects are being completed, and on-deck study sessions for exams are in full swing. Today as we departed from Singapore, the crew worked together prepping the boat for passage and completed the pre-passage checklist in record time. The sails went up under the leadership of the shipmates in record time as well. This passage will be a short one, which is nice as there is a bit of excitement to see our next destination of Terraganu.

Mar 29 Argo Update

First Mate Judy calls in the day's update as the crew departs Singapore.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Last Day in Singapore

Author: Rory McFadden
Location: Singapore
Today was our last day to explore Singapore before heading off to Terraganu. Everyone seemed to find a lot of really cool things whether it was huge rhinos and tigers at the zoo or searching through Chinatown looking for traditional Chinese remedies and shark fins as part of an OCB lab, we didn't buy any fins though. Leah also took a team to go provisioning for the last few supplies. All we now need to do is fill up Argo's fuel tanks and then we'll be ready to go tomorrow morning.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Singapore

Author: Hadley Meenan
Location: Singapore
Today we had an OCE class in the morning where we heard a presentation about Casey's research in the polar seas to tie in with the class discussions. After class we had free time until right before dinner. Most people went into Singapore and explored the city. After regrouping for a squeeze we headed back into town for a dinner and night out. Everyone had a lot of fun on this shore day.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

We Made It

Author: Joey Moran
Location: Singapore
Dear Skipper's Log,
Last night we entered the Singapore Straits and it was beautiful and exciting. It is the busiest shipping lane in the world and there were huge boats all over. We anchored in the quarantine zone and were cleared by customs. In the morning we motored to the marina and it is too nice. We worked extra hard cleaning the boat and then went to explore Singapore. What a big, strange city. It looks like the future. We had a nice dinner and I asked everyone to draw pictures with their minds.

Our Narrative

Author: Chris Uyeda
Location: Underway
One of the simple pleasures aboard Argo is the ability to 'pleasure read'. Take a random view of our crew underway and you're bound to see at least on person reading solely for the joy of reading. I recently took stock of my latest books: (1) "The Secret Life of Lobsters: How fishermen and scientists are unraveling the mysteries of our favorite crustacean" by Trevor Corson, (2) "Complications: A surgeon's notes on an imperfect science" by Atul Gawande and (3) "The Cosmic Serpent: DNA and the origins of knowledge" by Jeremy Narby. In reviewing the list I noticed they all belong to a genre known as narrative non-fiction. Although I just recently learned this term it is one of my favorite styles. Why? Because it is entertaining, educational, gauged for a general audience, and grounded in the happenings of the real world. Which is precisely the narrative of our lives here on Argo. Our world is entertaining. Not only in the obvious sense that we travel from exotic locale to exotic locale, but in simple matters as well. For example, watch the clean up crew in the galley after a meal and it looks more like a dance party than a job of tedium. Life is educational. We take classes everyday (Casey one of our marine educators just gave an awesome lecture on his work in Antarctica), we take advantage of the knowledge of each other (John Dillon just gave me a 2 hour photography 101 seminar), and we learn from ourselves (everyday our actions teach us about accountability, personal responsibility, respect and patience). We are a general audience. No person is here for the same reason. We come motivated by difference factors, inspired by different messages, armed with different expertise, and blessed with various privileges. And finally, our lives are grounded in the world. We learn religion by walking through Buddhist and Muslim cultures; we are awed by the nature when we swim with mantas; we witness the realities of production when we walk through Borneo's deforestation; and we see kindness in the Balinese strangers that give us directions; and we know the value of hard work when we accomplish the monumental task of keeping this boat clean. This is our narrative non-fiction. And it is one that I am deeply grateful I am able to live, rather than read.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Mar 25 Argo Update

Chris calls in with an entertaining podcast as Argo draws near to Singapore.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

South China Sea

Author: Matias Moreno-Bunge
Location: Underway
There were heavy winds in the morning up to 38 knots. Sailed for most of the early day with all sails but the fisherman up. Lots of boat traffic here but all smooth so far. We crossed the equator into the Northern Hemisphere in the evening and sacrificed chocolate cake with peanut butter as frosting.

Mar 24 Argo Update

Argo crosses the Equator again! The crew is about a day out of Singapore and has done some sailing in the past 24 hours.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Another Day

Author: Sandro Pagliai
Location: Underway
Today was a partly cloudy day. The sea was glassier than normal. The reflection of the light on the water was quite pleasing. My watch team saw three sea snakes this morning. There was boat traffic, but nothing that posed much of a problem. For me, it was just another day of passage. A day we could relax and sink into the simplicity of life. We were able to swim in the particularly glassy sea. For me, the day was accompanied by laughs and other forms of positive energy, much like every day. But there was just something about this day. Hakuna Matata.

Mar 23 Argo Update

Argo continues north to Singapore. The weather improves and as Argo makes her way and nears here second equator crossing this voyage.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Passage to Singapore

Author: Jessica Peters
Location: Underway
We departed Borneo last night after dinner. The crew of Argo is excited to be back on passage. We have been motoring in and out of storms today and had a brief period of restricted visibility, which cleared quickly. I can't believe it's Day 66 already, it feels like yesterday when we were just getting to know our fellow crew members and now we are a team of friends with many memories and experiences that we have shared and will never forget.

Mar 22 Argo Update

Argo and crew check in from the Java Sea while en route to Singapore.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

An Epic Departure

Author: Tom Rice
Location: Underway
I started out this morning by being woken up by the sound of the rain and the crisp cool air. I crawled out of my mosquito net poured myself a cup of tea and went for a stroll down the narrow boardwalk into the dense rainforest environment. After I got back and found that our wonderful Indonesian chefs had prepared a delicious breakfast of French toast and banana crepes. Following breakfast we got led by our guides deep into the rainforest where we found a wooded platform with bananas and milk laid out and with a Tarzan-like yell from our park ranger. Orangutans started to appear out of the jungle, it was an incredible sight to see. After our little excursion we headed up river to visit a river village. It is safe to say the Argo crew bought out a whole shop of coconut cookies. The ride back to Argo was bittersweet as the sun set, leaving the rain forest behind and another stop gone by in this great adventure.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Orangutan Reserve

Author: Oliva Chapman
Location: Kumai River, Borneo, Indonesia
Breakfast was served at 6:30 this morning so we could be picked up by four river boats to start our voyage to the orangutan reserve. At 8 o'clock sharp we departed and started our 4/4.5 hour ride down the river. Our boat ride provided tea and biscuits before lunch as we began winding through the river, looking for crocodiles, monkeys and of course orangutans. The water changed from a murky brown to clear dark brown. The cloudy, murky water was unsettled water from the coal mining, but as we turned off the main river the color became clear. By lunch time we made it to our first stop. We had an amazing lunch and ventured to the orangutan feeding station. On our way, we came across the old king of the jungle. He recently lost the fight to his son. He suffers from gashes on his forehead and we were told he had a broken leg. The feeding station was filled with extremely friendly orangutans who often took our water bottles to drink themselves. After watching them eat bananas, drink milk and swing from tree to tree effortlessly we made our way down the river to our sleeping spot. We all rafted and had dinner on the same boat as the rain started. We slept on mattresses in our mosquito nets and fell asleep to the sounds of the local rainforest (the second most biodiverse place in the world next to the Amazon). An unforgettable way to spend our day in Borneo.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Up a Creek

Author: Nick Rogan
Location: Kumai River, Borneo, Indonesia
We arrived in Borneo this morning. When I woke up we were motoring up a river in the middle of a tropical forest. We anchored near Kumai, a town, and got to work cleaning the boat. It's much hotter inland, and it's also quite rainy here. Our work was interrupted by showers. The rain continued on and off, and we were even forced to have our first meal below. We all crowded into the salon to feast on enchiladas while it rained outside. It is night time now and we're packing to visit the orangutans. James B., Tom and Margot are whipping up a batch of lemon poppyseed muffins to eat in the morning before we leave.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Heading North in the Java Sea

Author: Danny Simon
Location: Underway
Today was a normal day of passage starting with cereal for breakfast for whoever was awake. Watch teams continued to polish spreaders and they look great. Wonderful meals were cooked by Hal, Jimmy and Nick. Classes today were OCE which was attended by the PSCT students to learn about Meteorology. We watched Blue Planet about the deep sea in OCB which was awesome. Everyone is excited for our voyage in the jungles of Borneo to see orangutans.

Mar 18 Argo Update

Danny provides the update from the chart house of Argo as she continues to Borneo.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

5000 Miles

Author: Megan Smith
Location: Underway
Today was a great full day of passage, this afternoon we hit the 5000 mile mark. Something all of us have been looking forward to. Not only did we have the 5000 mile mark to celebrate it was also St. Patrick's Day and Judy's birthday aboard Argo. The weather was very nice, we haven't been sailing, but the sun has been out. All of us shipmates are much tanner than when we started this adventure 61 days ago. We are all looking forward to our trip to the Orangutan Reserve so hopefully it will be as cool as we are expecting.

Mar 17 Argo Update

Megan calls in with an update on day 61 aboard Argo.

Monday, March 16, 2009

60 Days In and Full Speed Ahead!

Author: Kevin Johnsen
Location: Underway
Day sixty and only one month left. Kind of crazy to think about, from experience I know these last 30 days will go by so fast. And then you will find yourselves on a plane looking back, thinking, "wow, what a great experience." How much have you seen in the past 3 months? What have you learned about yourself? What cultural experience completely blew your mind away? This is what you will think back on.
I have started to see this realization on a few of the faces aboard. It's almost a sad note aboard, cause no one wants the ride to end. But this can be good. It reminds us to not take any day for granted. Cherish every night watch, every sail raise, every laugh shared together. These can be and will be some of the best 30 days of our lives. There is still a lot for us to see and this ride is just picking up speed.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A Day in Trewangan

Author: Jamie Spencer
Location: Trewangan, Indonesia
Today was our first full day in Trewangan and also our last. I only wish we could stay longer. Our fist activity of the day was diving. We hadn't dived in about a month, so we were excited to get under the water. We went out with a company called "Dream Divers." They brought us about 15 minutes off shore and we got in. The dive was awesome. We saw a few turtles and a shark. It could have been considered one of the best dives of the trip. The rest of the day was spent ashore. Everybody did there thing: ate lunch, hiked, whatever. I rented a bike and pedaled the streets of Trewangan. I ran into a dude who taught me to play the didgeridoo, and I was able to get out to some of the more remote parts of the island, and see a new and truer side of Trewangan. At the end of the day we came across a ring where people had shields and staffs, while spectators gather around and cheer on the fighters. It was awesome. A few of the shipmates stepped in the ring and battled it out. Trewangan is a beautiful place, and we all had a lot of fun. Tomorrow we head onward to Borneo.

Crossing the Wallace Line

Author: Hillary Strasser
Location: Trewangan, Indonesia
Immediately following breakfast we motored off of the Benoa dock to begin our 50 nm motor to the island of Trewangan. It felt good to be on the water again after our days ashore - but our trip went incredibly fast as we were carried straight to Gili (Northwest of Bali) by a current. As we motored through the Lombok Straights we crossed the Wallace Line. In Marine Biology class today we discussed the beginning of the theory of evolution and how this exact location played a monumental role. We anchored off the shore of Trewangan before dinner and watched a beautiful sunset. Tomorrow we will go scuba diving and explore shore.

Mar 15 Argo Update

Mate Kevin calls in an update from on passage north from Gili.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Mar 14 Argo Update

Hilary updates us on the update from Gili, Indonesia.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Bye, Bye Bali

Author: James Bowman
Location: Bali, Indonesia
We can hear her singing. The sea which we have grown to love respect and cherish is calling our name once again, and we long to answer. Between a PSCT class, soaking up the last of Bali, a huge provisioning quest, dinner prep and long last taking down the tarps and sail covers our hearts and minds filled with excitement as our thoughts turned to our sails once again being filled with wind.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Fire Dance

Author: Casey Debenham
Location: Bali, Indonesia
It's hard to believe that over 4000 nm, throughout 56 days can bring you to such an amazing place as Bali, Indonesia. Today was another wonderful day for the crew of Argo. The majority of the crew spent their day exploring the island by taxi or enjoying a continuation of yesterday's surfing lessons. The evening though, brought a new cultural experience to all of our eyes. At 1700 we were picked up by three taxis and shuttled to a local temple. After the sashes and sarongs were handed out, we began our trek past the watchful monkeys to a temple that sits on top of a hill. As the sunset into the ocean view, locals provided us with a traditional fire dance ceremony. The dance and chanting men recited an ancient Hindu story. Following the stunning cultural experience, the crew headed to a local restaurant to enjoy a candlelight dinner on the beach as the tide began to roll in under the table.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Endless Summer

Author: Hal Cosec
Location: Bali, Indonesia
We were blessed with another wonderful day. The crew gathered at Kuta Beach to surf beautiful glassy lines. The beach is covered with surf boards to rent and the beginner surfers got a lesson while the more advanced surfers went on their own. It was an amazing site to see the beginners take to surfing like ducklings in water. The reaction on their faces as they caught their first wave made a Hallmark card look like an I.O.U. It was an honor to share the water together as we rode the wrinkles of Neptune's face which once again made us an inseparable crew.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

All Epic Passages Must Come to an End

Author: Margot Denman
Location: Bali, Indonesia
This morning after 17 epic days at sea we pulled into Bali Harbor, thus marking the end of our Indian Ocean crossing and Argo's second longest passage. When we received word that our route had changed, we didn't know what was in store for us. So we turned the boat around and bravely sailed 2600 nm the "wrong way" to Bali, a distance comparable to crossing the United States.
The weather was uncertain: monsoon season was at our bow and we were sailing into a strange countercurrent, but the gods were favorable (many heads were shaved in sacrifice, including mine) and we were soon whisked away towards Indonesia by the elusive equatorial current.
The morning started early with docking in the Bali Marina, clearing Argo and its crew, and a lengthy Boat Appreciation ensued. The rest of the day we were free to explore Bali before returning at 5 pm for a crew dinner and night out at the marina restaurant on the water.
Spirits were high, smiles were ubiquitous and today there was a general feeling of accomplishment among all the Argonauts.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Land Ho

Author: Boomer
Location: Underway
Today we saw land for the 1st time in over 2 weeks. The coastline of Jawa, Indonesia showed her rugged peaks and let us know we were almost to Bali. The crew did a massive cleaning of the Gypsy Forrest ( the area that they keep their wet weather gear ) and now the fwd section of Argo offers sweet scents of bleach and pine sol. PSCT took their tides and currents exam today and upon 1st look it seems the class is progressing along well. After dinner we caught a small dorado which we released to let him grow to an adult! Another good day of passage,!

From Argo with Love

Author: John Dillon
Location: Underway
Today was our last full fun day at sea. Late tonight or early tomorrow we will be sailing into Bali, completing Argo's second longest ocean crossing. Our sails are full of excitement. The crew already gave Argo a premature cleanup and tomorrow we will do a full day of boat appreciation. Everyone seems to be in high spirits especially with our fantastic dinner by Chef Judy. As happy as wee all are to successfully complete this passage, we all know this is not the end. We still have another 2000 nm to go.

Mar 9 Argo Update

Argo nears Bali, less than 24hrs before the crew wraps up the passage from the Maldives.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

It's a Wonderful Life

Author: Chris Ergen
Location: Underway
Today we enjoyed yet another beautiful day out on passage. As we cruise along the southern coast of Jawa, I can't help but reminisce about the days when I would come up on deck and look at a 360 degree undisturbed horizon line. What a feeling it has been to know that we were the only people for hundreds of miles, alone yet together in our quest to cross the Indian Ocean. We are now only a couple hundred miles from completing this long and arduous passage, yet a part of me is already getting excited to resume the watch team schedule when we head out to Borneo. Today was calm and pleasant, with light rain in the morning to keep us cool and a nice sunny afternoon to give us a beautiful sunset as we sat down to squeeze. As people were sharing their proudest moments, a pod of dolphins began surfacing off the stern. A young dolphin, only two feet in length, kept jumping out of the water and spinning rapidly before plunging back into the sea. It seemed as though he was learning how to play, and it was a great way to end one of our last days of passage.

Mar 8 Agro Update

Sunday Argo Update

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Mar 7 Argo Update

Argo continues east about 25 south of Java, after 16 days at sea today offered a brief glimpse of land as the mountains appeared briefly on the horizon.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Sometimes Two is the Perfect Number

Author: Leah Shopneck
Location: Underway
Argo and her Spring 2009 crew have sailed many a miles, but Day 50 was a day for the books. The previous night came to a close with very little wind, the hum of the engine and the striking of the main sail, leaving the main staysail and forward staysail as our only set sails. As the clocks struck 0300 the wind and the rain began to make quite a show. The watch team on deck looked like a walking foul weather gear ad, as the wind blew the rain horizontally across the stern. By 0600 the wind continued to fill the two staysails but the rain was now just a gentle shower. As the engine was throttled back the new on deck watch team longed for Argo's biggest sail, but the darkness of the early morning hours, made it virtually impossible to set. Yet by some magical power the two staysails enabled Argo to sail at 8 knots, under wind power alone. As the sun rose behind the dark storm clouds, she surfed the 8 foot swells enjoying the downwind sailing.
Soon after sunrise and another watch team change, the reefed main was readied and set. Now with three sails, Argo took full advantage of the wind as she sailed the "wrong way" across the Indian Ocean. For hours her crew carefully walked on the windward of the boat, made sure the lunch of pancakes and scrambled eggs remained on the stove, attended SLD and OCE class, and continued to track her course on the charts.
Just before dinner, the wind began to fade and the reef in the main was shook in order to optimize speed. But the excitement did not end there; another Mahi Mahi was expertly caught and filleted for the next day's meal. And as the evening skies parted and the swells calmed, Argo continued to sail east as her crew enjoyed a delicious dinner amidst the glow of the setting sun.

March 6 Argo Update

An animated group update from Argo as she nears Bali!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Mar 5 Argo Update

Travis updates us on the day's activities aboard Argo.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Passage Extraordinaire

Author: Jimmy Herbert
Location: Underway
Today was another extraordinary day of passage. The weather was inconsistent, at times heavy winds at other times there was no wind so we had to motor. There were periods of heavy rain and precious hours of beautiful equatorial sun. We clocked 156 nm over the last 24 hours. We have about 800nm left in our voyage. The crew grows more eager by the day to experience our next destination. We are however thoroughly enjoying passage and continue to learn at a fast pace.

Mar 4 Argo Update

The day 48 update comes to us from Jimmy. The crew has about 800 miles to go!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

What a Day

Author: Danielle McCulloch
Location: Underway
What started out as another typical day on passage quickly became anything but. After lunch we had our 2nd OCB exam. That was soon followed by a squall, which gave some of us a chance to break out our foulies, and enjoy the rain. The excitement was short though, for as soon as the weather died Boomer herded us all below for MTE, in which we watched another video about Irving Johnson (we watched the last one the last time I was skipper, coincidence?). There was a nice lull for a couple of hours after MTE. Then right as we were all lining up for dinner Boomer had us drop the fisherman sail, which is a blur in my mind. I was part of the team pulling the sail down to deck, all I can clearly recall is the first few moments, I remember seeing Lizzy and Sandro pulling with all their might on the downhaul and Hillary crouching low to the deck to avoid the jib sheets. Next I remember reaching up to grab that first bit of sail, then pulling it down and holding it with our bodies so the wind wouldn't blow it away. Then as soon as it started it was over. All the energy and commotion that comes with dropping a sail was gone. We went and ate dinner like nothing had happened. So as you can see it was definitely an action packed day.

Mar 3 Argo Update

Daniel brings us up to speed on Argo's passage between the Maldives and Bali.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Passage Life

Author: Judy Bradshaw
Location: Underway
Argo is beyond the mid-passage point. Shipmates are beginning see what it is like to let go of their former views of time, land, communication, etc. They're beginning to know what to expect from the stars at three am verses nine pm. They're staying up an hour after watch for a good moonrise. They're joining in on midday workouts. After the numerous days of heat and motoring at the beginning of the passage, the on and off sailing in this second half of the passage has really helped shipmates to watch the weather with a closer eye. They're beginning to look for possible wind changes around sunrise or sunset. They're beginning to notice when the wind picks up, when the sails luff. We've definitely settled into the offshore way of life and passing of time, as 'days' are replaced by 'watches' and entertainment can be found in a bird or a strange light. We sit for hours on end looking at the sky or the water. We pass the watch off saying "Same Same" not much happening, then everything happens at once, a fish on the line, a squall, dishes flying across the deck, sails in, sails out, meal time, clean up, class and finally sleep.

Mar 2 Argo Update

First Mate Judy calls in with the March 2nd update as Argo and crew pick up the pace and average over seven knots with all sail set.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Halfway There

Author: Rory McFadden
Location: Underway
Today was Day 45 and we are now halfway through the program. Today being the ninth full day of passage we are also about half of the way to Bali. Other than that we had a fairly normal day on passage with a little excitement in the form of another Mahi Mahi which means some delicious fresh fish for dinner tomorrow.

Mar 1 Argo Update

Rory posts an update on the mid cruise day for the 2009 spring Sea|mester.