Sunday, February 28, 2010

Laz Masters

Author: Jessica "Beaker" Wurzbacher
Location: Fortaleza, Brazil
After breakfast and an MTE class the crew dispersed. Some ashore to experience more of the culture of Brazil, others chose to stay back and work on Argo. The main task at hand was a full clean of the Lazerette after a hydraulic hose broke and exploded oil all over. After much sweating, contorting into small spaces, and lifting heavy things the laz was emptied, and fully cleaned. The laz was reloaded by the proud laz masters. The evening entertainment was 'Finding Nemo", to be watched scientifically for Marine Biology Class.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Docked in Fortaleza

Author: Annie Rae
Location: Fortaleza, Brazil
Anchorage here in Fortaleza has not come easy for Argo and her crew. Silt and swells caused our anchor to drag a few times last night, which gave anchor watch some exciting experience and kept them busy. Today, Captain Dan found Argo a place on Fortalezas commercial dock; and so with all hands on deck, we docked for the first time since leaving South Africa. After Marine Biology class, the crew had more free time ashore, and set out to explore more of the citys cultural and commercial attributes. Many students also took time to shop for the long anticipated chocolate bars, and found laundry mats and convenience stores. After dinner, the crew walked the boardwalk along the beach and took in Fortalezas night life. South Americas colorful and smiling people have been very welcoming towards our entire crew- we are all feeling very lucky to be able to visit this special city.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Finally Ashore!

Author: Marina Knapp
Location: Fortaleza, Brazil
Today we finally made it ashore around noon and began to explore Fortaleza. Upon reaching land, we realized it was our first time setting foot on a continent in over a month. We were greeted by the glorious pool at the Marina Park Hotel. Some people never made it past this point and spent the afternoon lounging in hammocks in the shade, floating in the pool, and catching up on emails while sipping refreshing cold sodas. The others that did venture past the hotel hailed taxis and went to Mercado Central, a huge four story indoor market. Here it was easy to get ones fill of ice cream, which was a top on almost everyones list of most desired foods. Once full, people began to explore the market and emerged with bags full of goods that ranged from the simple bracelet to a cute dress to an awesome hammock. Some people decided to eat lunch in a more exotic place and ended up at a very large buffet that served an endless supply of meats, cheeses, and cooked veggies. We all met up again at the Marina Park Hotel where many people took advantage of their first real freshwater showers since Cape Town. After dinner we had a Planet Earth movie on marine reptiles and birds. Now were beginning to roll into our anchor watches as the rest of the crew settles in to another night being rocked to sleep, ready to continue our explorations of Fortaleza tomorrow.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Fortaleza

Author: Elise Huebner
Location: Fortaleza, Brazil
Just before 4:00 AM our watch team began taking down the sails as we approached the city of Fortaleza. We could see the glow of the lights for hours before we came into view of this highly industrialized city a strange sight after spending the better part of a month surrounded by ocean. For me it was a bittersweet moment; realizing that our long passages and complete isolation on the Atlantic were behind us.
In the morning we awoke to a very different scene than all the points of light from the previous night hundreds of large sky scrapers, and long sandy beaches, a strange combination. We all worked until lunch doing boat appreciation flaking and covering the sails, and cleaning every inch of the decks and down below. The afternoon was spent on board, as we didnt have clearance to enter the city yet. Most people took the time to catch up on something we had all been missing a solid block of sleep. We are all excited to see what Fortaleza is like; it seems to have an extremely diverse culture, and is said to be the textile capitol of Brazil.
As eager as everyone is to go ashore, we are all a little sad that our journey across the Atlantic is over. No longer do we see our passages a way to get from point A to point B theyre indescribable, and although everywhere we stop is an amazing experience, nothing compares to our time at sea.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Another Continental Shelf

Author: Leah Shopneck
Location: Underway to Fortaleza, Brazil in the Atlantic Ocean
The time has come for the crew of Argo to say hello to a new continent. After 40 plus days we have finally arrived on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. Over 4000 miles from the V and A Waterfront, 2000 miles from St. Helena and 300 miles from Fernando de Noronha we are now quickly sailing towards the continental shelf off the Brazilian coast. For weeks our depth finder has been unable to fathom the depths below Argo's haul. Studying the charts prior to all of our mid-ocean swim calls, we realized that below us sat several miles of water. In just a few hours, though the gauge will make the jump from a few small dashes flashing across the screen to a number reading less than 100 feet. For a number of the crew this will be a milestone in our biographies. A time to learn to dive, a new country and continent, and of course what I'm most excited for, the endless opportunities to jump off the bowsprit into the cool water as we sit anchored in a tropical paradise.

Feb 24 Argo Update

Argo nears S. America!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Back to Sea

Author: Cameron Burke
Location: Underway to Fortaleza, Brazil in the Atlantic Ocean
The crew of Argo awoke this morning to nothing but 360 degrees of ocean surrounding us. It feels great and completely normal to be back at sea and everyone is thankful because the winds have been treating us well thus far. We were spoiled today with lavish meals all thanks to Brian and Stephanie working away in the galley all day. Today we had MTE class and we were introduced to the art of navigation, we also had PSCT class where some of the class presented their awesome engineering projects. Other then classes and watch teams the rest of the day was spent doing homework, sleeping, watching dolphins off the bow, and trying to heal our sunburns. We are all excited to reach Fortaleza in two days, but half the fun is getting there, and everyone seems to be enjoying the journey so far.

Feb 23 Argo Update

Day 40 update for Argo

Monday, February 22, 2010

What did you do on YOUR birthday?

Author: Kevin Johnsen
Location: Underway to Fortaleza, Brazil in the Atlantic Ocean
What did you do on your birthday? When someone asked me this question before I would answer like most people, I celebrated with friends and family, did this or that. These last two years though I've been able to answer that question a little bit differently. Since working for Sea|mester I have been fortunate enough to spend my birthday in some of the most random and far off locations around the globe. Last year I was in the middle of the Indian Ocean two days out from the Maldives and this year was at the Archipelago de Fernando de Noronha in the Atlantic Ocean just off of Brazil. These two locations some 6400 nautical miles away from each other and a world apart culturally. Not that many people can say that on their birthday. Last year I shared my birthday with Jessica Peters and this year Annie Rae joined me in celebrated our mutual birthday in this far off exotic location. Best of all though I still get to share my birthday with plenty of friends. Each year I have some 20 or so new friends to share it with making each year a unique and memorable experience. Now as the sun fades below the horizon the sky turns from orange to pink I stop and think to myself, one more amazing, unique birthday for the memories.
*This entry includes photos from our last few days in Fernando de Noronha*

Feb 22 Argo Update

Argo back on passage!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Ariana Tobias - 2010-02-21

Author: Ariana Tobias
Location: Fernando de Noronha, Brazil
Today was a beach day for most of the Argonauts here on Fernando de Noronha, where we enjoyed the sun, sand, and surf. We had a bright and early wake up, cereal for breakfast, and got to the beach with plenty of time to spare before our surfing lesson. The group lesson (and for many of us, our first taste of surfing) began on land, with stretching exercises and practicing our moves on diagrams of surfboards drawn in the sand. The instructions were a bit of Portuguese, English, charades and Simon Says all rolled into one, although luckily one of the instructors brought his American fianc to help translate.
Before we knew it, we graduated to real boards and waves. Each wipeout was more impressive than the last as we fought to defy gravity and Poseidons wrath. I know youll enjoy the pictures we got some great action shots. Be sure to check out the facial expressions! Eventually, though, we got the hang of it (some more than others) and the surprised and triumphant looks on the new surfers faces were priceless as they balanced successfully on top of the waves. We worked up quite an appetite for our PB and J sandwiches, which we ate together before scattering to our last free afternoon on the island.
We came back to Argo for a delicious curry dinner and the final exam for our PADI Open Water scuba diving class. Exhausted physically, mentally and nursing various degrees of sunburn, we couldnt resist gathering around Seans computer in the salon to laugh out loud as we looked at the pictures from todays adventure. As I type this now at 22:00, most of the shipmates are sound asleep in their bunks, getting some much-needed shut-eye before tomorrows departure for Fortaleza and the second Marine Biology exam. And now, Im off to join their ranks.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Island Life

Author: Catherine Buckley
Location: Fernando de Noronha, Brazil
The crew of Argo awoke this morning to the roaring sounds of a fire drill; in record time all were found ready on deck, pfds in hand, prepared to tackle whatever task lay ahead. As it was just a drill we settled down to enjoy our reward for our swiftness and gorged ourselves on pancakes and eggs. Following a quick cleanup, we all dinghyed to the island for a free day. Some of us chose to snorkel the world renowned reefs with the turtles and sharks that reside in the crystal clear waters, while others of us headed off in search of a beach and possibly surf boards. While no surfboards were found, we had a joyous day splashing in the waves, building sand castles and playing volleyball embracing our inner child. In search of local cuisine for lunch, we wondered back into town and eventually settled into a pleasant caf in a local park, after which we all wandered off to explore the island for a bit longer. Before coming back to the boat for dinner, some of us stopped by another local beach for a refreshing dip. Once back on board we had shower time, which turned into a diving or belly flop contest. We have several talented floppers on board I am proud to say! Clean and happy we all nestled into the cockpit for the squeeze before our fish taco feast. Tonight the squeeze was a different from the usual question and was rather an expression through music in the form of a drum circle. Our rhythms collided into a beautiful cadence of thumps, dings, taps and claps that left everyone feeling a bit more connected to the each other on a different level. Now we are all giving Argo a bit more loving, with an after dinner scrub before heading out once more for our land-bound evening to experience the local nightlife. I would say it is another end to another day worth remembering here on Argo.
Skipper of the day, Cat, signing out.

Friday, February 19, 2010

First Day on the Other Side of the Atlantic Ocean

Author: Dwight Churchill
Location: Fernando de Noronhas, Brazil
Awake at 06:30 and smelling the ocean breeze with an unfamiliar sight off our bow, land. We had anchored last night however it was in the darkness and only could faintly make out what was apparently our newest destination. So we are here now sitting 250 miles off the coast of Brazil, in a remarkable dive destination surrounded by beautiful waters teeming with marine life. We awoke with Spinner dolphins just 50 yards away displaying their natural antics, showing off to each other and the near by spectators. Argo was cleared to go ashore just after lunch, so we ventured inland seeing what Fernando de Noronhas had to offer, whether it was a buggy buzzing by carrying people and surfboards or divers heading out to a nearby reef, this place is definitely on my top 10. All struggled speaking Portuguese, a few knew Spanish so I personally stuck by them but we all enjoyed our time on land. It really shows you how different life is at sea once you make landfall, its a whole different world in the ocean where nothing really matters except your vessel and the people aboard. Dont get me wrong, I missed ice and walking a distance further then 112 feet, but I really became accustomed to the long passage and enjoyed seeing nothing but the vast unexplored ocean. Once dinner was finished we were greeted by a few local fisherman who offered us a solid sized fish to cook for ourselves, they wanted nothing in return. We were humbled by the experience and Im now looking forward to fish tacos tomorrow. On another note, our thoughts go out to the Canadian school ship, Concordia, who sank yesterday off the coast of Brazil about 1000 miles from our current position. All passengers thankfully were safely rescued from their life rafts and are now headed towards mainland Brazil.

Feb 19 Argo Update

Safe and sound in Brazil

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Land Ho

Author: Jason Chodakowski
Location: Underway to Brazil in the Atlantic Ocean
'Land ho!" was the cry from our watch team up on deck. After twelve days underway we all waited with anticipation for the cry and when it came we raced up on deck to see the Archipelago de Fernando de Noronha stretched along the horizon, a faint dark-grey rugged shape almost alien after so many days with nothing in every direction. Although I cannot wait to step ashore and explore, I confess that the news of land ahead was a little sad. There is something pleasant to the unvarying routine of life at sea underway. You get used to the consistent cycling of watches, meals, classes, sunsets, and sunrises in that particular and familiar order. Seeing the rocky object break the perfect horizon brought a sudden disruption to it all. Life at sea and life on land, or even in sight of land, truly are two different worlds. Beset on all sides by emptiness is a strangely beautiful thing. I could have sailed in the hauntingly captivating emptiness for many weeks more.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Nearly There

Author: Sean Blaise
Location: Underway to Brazil in the Atlantic Ocean
Our Atlantic crossing is almost over. While we sit our watches we always look forward to new adventures in far away places. But I think its important to look behind every now and then, to awe at the endless wake Argo and the Argonauts have left in our path. We have many thousands of miles left to go, but we have already come so very far, as crew, as a group, and as a little slice of humanity. In physical terms, we have nearly crossed the entire Southern Atlantic Ocean, not an insignificant feat, but in mental terms, weve gone much farther than that. I can nearly smell the beaches of Brazil now on the sea breeze, and I relish the idea of yet a new place, culture and experience and I know I am not alone in that sentiment. Here we come Brazil!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Clearing the Palate

Author: Chris Uyeda
Location: Underway to Brazil in the Atlantic Ocean
Although Ive never been to a wine tasting event, I hear the standard is to drink water in between samples. As I understand it, the purpose of the water is to prevent the flavor of one wine from compromising another. For the wine taster, water separates two very different experiences, and helps them fully appreciate and explore the unique qualities of each. Its not that different for sailors. Sailing, in addition to being an end in itself, is a means by which to separate and enrich our travels on shore. Take, for example, our current passage. In a couple of days were going to arrive at Fernando de Noronha, a series of tropical vacation islands off the coast of equatorial Brazil. The islands are a UNESCO World Heritage site. Theyre known for having some of the best beaches and diving in the country and officials need to restrict the numbers of visitors allowed to protect its beauty. By contrast, 10 days ago we left St. Helena, an isolated British territory that barely gets 1,000 visitors a year. Its a beautiful but improbable place. Temperate, rugged, and located smack dab in the middle of the southern Atlantic, St. Helena was only inhabited because of its strategic value during a bygone era of maritime trade. Now had we immediately taken a three hour flight between these two places, it would be like mixing two glasses of wine together and saying bottoms up. The memory of one would distract from the experience of another. But weve just spent 10 days at sea, where the unifying theme has been an absence of distractions. The passage has given us time to clear our traveling palates, so to speak, and made us all the more receptive to our upcoming landfall. By the time we arrive in a couple of days our radar will be on. The passage will have heightened our sense of excitement, appreciation, and attentiveness and as a result the experience on shore will be all the richer. Which is why I like sailing so much it is not simply a way to get from point A to point B, it is a process that enhances our journey in ways that conventional travel misses. So the next time you go wine tasting just take a moment to realize that its the water, just as much as the wine, which makes the experience.

Feb 16 Argo Update

Great update from Chris

Monday, February 15, 2010

Wind At Last

Author: Ned King
Location: Underway to Brazil in the Atlantic Ocean
The day started out just as most days have during this passage across the Atlantic, however it brought an element of the ocean which we were glad to see finally arrive. The absence of hull vibration from our 400 horsepower 'D-Sail" and the increased fluid rolling of the ship told me before I got on deck that we were surely sailing. The long awaited wind brought cooling relief as it swept away the heat from the sweltering sun as it beat down on the deck. It was nice to finally spread out in the cockpit, rather than huddle down in the sparse shade that we had. Though there have been a few episodes of wind through this past week, today is the first full day of propulsion by the SE Trade Winds, and were making significant way. Were currently doing about 5 knots and weve only been getting faster. With any luck, well hopefully be able to sail the rest of our course to the islands of Fernando de Noronha.
As we escape the suns relentless heat and escape to the air conditioned salon and cabins, weve had plenty to keep us busy in the academic realm of our voyage. From marine biology papers to studying for a seamanship exam to preparing engineering presentations, shipmates have had enough on their plate to keep the salon tables littered with books and binders. Though I doubt anyone is feeling the classic college "crunch, its simply a reality of class on-board. With our ETA being only 4 days away, I know some people, including myself, are itching to explore a new place on land again. As gorgeous as the oceans night sky and sunset may be, Im personally excited to start port-hopping along the coast of South America. Especially after another long passage, Im greatly looking forward to that phone call home to check in with family and a belated happy valentine to my girlfriend. I cant wait to for the voyages upcoming adventure and with any luck a good amount of breeze!

Feb 15 Argo Update

Ned calls in the update

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day Fun

Author: Brian Snouffer
Location: Underway to Brazil in the Atlantic Ocean
Today provided a break from a regular passage day. Some shipmates decided yesterday to run a secret Valentines Day game on board. Everyone drew names and had to give a Valentine gift to whoever they drew. This morning a number of the crew, myself included, was up still working, or just starting their gifts. Needless to say, there isnt any place where one can go and purchase a gift, so everyone had to get creative. And in that respect no one disappointed. There were gifts ranging from the practical, a global power converter, to sweets, peoples much treasured supply of chocolate. Joe was sent on a half hour long scavenger hunt that resulted in a treasure of candies, Captain Dan received a hand stitched chili pepper that is now hanging in his bunk and the crew even got introduced to The Colonel who you may start to see posing in future photos. To top off the festivities and finish off dinner, Cat, Steph and Annie labored over a scrumptious cake with homemade coconut frosting for everyone to enjoy.
Besides the holiday, an unusual event broke up the 'day to day grind," its not really a grind I love every minute out here. A group of tuna was jumping out of the water trying to catch the flying fish who were in turn trying their hardest not to be caught. It made for a great show and made our fisherman upset that they couldnt get one of the tuna to bite.

Feb 14 Argo Update

Valentines update from Brian

Saturday, February 13, 2010

A Float on the Atlantic

Author: Joe Spanier
Location: Underway to Brazil in the Atlantic Ocean
Today started out as an usual day aboard a schooner off the tropics of Brazil. The weather was clear which always helps our watch teams keep a careful eye for any possible dangers. After lunch the students who didnt have an up to date cpr/first aid certification got a refresher course while the remaining students kept a watch on deck. The sun defiantly decided to crank it up a couple degrees today which made it a little rough for the afternoon watches but we fought back at shower time when Captain Dan put Argo hove to and we were able to jump off her gorgeous cap rails and bowsprit. The swimming was pretty unique today due to some of the larger swells in the ocean because it was able to shoot the bow high up into the air in a rocking motion, so that the students could get some extreme hang time by jumping off her bowsprit. After showers the rest of the day went through its normal routine with dinner and more studying/free time if you werent on watch, as well as another epic sunset.

Feb 13 Argo Update

Argo continues west!

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Ocean In-Between Reality

Author: Gabriel Cohen
Location: Underway to Brazil in the Atlantic Ocean
Today began as every other day at sea has. The sun emerged from behind the world and began to climb. It climbed up through the sky, and as it ascended it spread its fire across our enormous little universe. Merciless, indifferent heat danced inexorably over a clear blue desert where life is but a curious novelty. People stood their watches and took their naps. A ship was sighted in the late morning, but soon disappeared across the horizon into someone elses reality. The rhythm of passage is now our default setting, and Im starting to forget how life on land made any sense. Today we had our Basic Seamanship midterm, which not only counts on our grades, but determines whether or not we receive an International Crew Certification. There was air of stress and anxiety leading up to the test, as shipmates tried to funnel the last drops of information into their suffocating brains before it all poured out again. Lunch was pasta salad and dinner was curry. The sun has become bored with tormenting us for today, and is now returning to the place it goes beyond the sea and on the other side of the sky. Some say that the ocean will make one feel small and insignificant. I beg to differ. In the briny emptiness than spans our view, we are always at the very center. This world is ours, and anyone that dares to enter it is our inherent subordinate. We continue our voyage from one island that no one knew much about to another that none of us have heard of, and we are bringing our personal universe along. Message ends.

Feb 12 Argo Update

Gabe calls in on day 29

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Full Metal Hull

Author: Super Secret Skipper Spike Stone
Location: Underway to Brazil in the Atlantic Ocean
The sweltering heat of the lower latitudes was momentarily mitigated this morning by welcomed cloud cover. By noon, however, the deck was again scorching as we formed a long lunch line. Days have given way to watch shifts as we bob across the ocean. This series of shifts was marked by students scrambling to finish telltale articles by tomorrow's strict deadline. OCB and PADI classes were held in the air conditioned salon between the hours of 1 and 3. On deck showers promptly followed as ripe smelling shipmates lined up to be blasted with sea water. The MTE midterm looms ahead in the near future of tomorrow. Students will undoubtedly soon be driven to delirious states of feverish study. The sun is quickly melting into the horizon and so must I melt into my bed to catch a few minutes of sleep before watch.

Feb 11 Argo Update

Day 28 update

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Remembering the Romance

Author: Stefano Pagliai
Location: Underway to Brazil in the Atlantic Ocean
Argo or as I like to call her 'la otra muejer" has gracefully carried us on to Day 27 and is still more powerful and beautiful than ever.
We continue to learn much from her, living in close quarters makes everyone a little edgier at times. But to say the least when the sun starts going down emotions calm down and our crew becomes reunited once again. We currently switched our watch times to 4 hours on and 8 hours off, instead of 3 on, 6 off. Everyone is just starting to get their clocks back on schedule. Our watch began this morning around the hour of 8 am as we woke up to a beautiful morning and were blessed with some light showers from above. As the day rolled by we were lucky to have Chris and Elise cook amazing lasagna for dinner, it was delicious I must say. During clean up the conversation that went on during dish team was more like a good stand up comedy act. The sun has gone down and this is the skipper signing out.

Feb 10 Argo Update

Making some miles!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A Puff of Breeze to Help Our Speed

Author: Dan
Location: Underway to Brazil in the Atlantic Ocean
Our third day underway now from St. Helena to Brazil and all is well. The crew has slipped easily back into the routine of life in watch teams and the lack of wind has allowed some interesting hobbies to evolve; some have taken to puzzles while others play monopoly, tie knots, work out, fish, or make sea salt. Today mid-morning we had the first puff of breeze since we departed St. Helena and so weve taken the opportunity to sail for a few hours, albeit at 3.5 knots. Classes and dive theory training continue as students ingest the knowledge around them, both in classes and in the hands on aspect of becoming a small part of the vast living breathing Atlantic Ocean as we all now are. The food continues to be amazing, with fresh baked bread almost every day and every variety of concoctions created by our student chefs. In short life is good out here and our needs simple, the fellowship and camaraderie of sailing this beautiful boat across a tropical ocean will always be treasured by those aboard.

Monday, February 8, 2010

2nd Lef of the Atlantic Crossing

Author: Averill Morash
Location: Underway to Brazil in the Atlantic Ocean
Today watch team two saw a most beautiful sunrise greeting Argo before handing over the deck to watch team three. We had delicious sandwiches for lunch followed by a riveting OCE class. Just ask any OCE student about global or local wind patterns and they'll be able to tell you so much more than they could have yesterday. Thank you Chris. After that the open water students went over knowledge review 4 and watched the 5th and final PADI video. Shaking ourselves awake following the lovely PADI movie, we stopped motoring long enough to go for a swim in the middle of the Atlantic ocean. It was such a nice day out that many people chose to spend the afternoon on deck working on their tans, studying, reading or working out while those down below enjoyed Argo's nice AC units and maybe a nap. For dinner our chefs prepared a delectable chili and cornbread meal and now we are rolling into night watches, that much closer to our destination. It will become easy to take all of this for granted with many more days like this one.

Feb 8 Argp Update

2000nm so far this voyage.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Stars, Sunsets and Water in Every Direction!

Author: Kira Benson
Location: Underway to Brazil in the Atlantic Oean
Ive always loved star gazing, but nothing has, and I doubt ever will, compare to a night sky aboard Argo in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. But before we get to stare at stars for all hours in the middle of the night, we are graced with the sunset, and let me tell you, tonight is one for the records. Out the small window to my left there is a horizon painted with pinks, oranges, yellows, purples, reds, and every color in between. And no matter what time of day it is we are surrounded by 360 degrees of clear blue waters filled with more treasures than we could ever fathom.
Last night after voting to change our watch team schedules from 3 hours on/6 hours off, to 4 hours on/8 hours off and were assigned our new watch teams, we readied Argo and sailed off into the sunset with St. Helena at our backs and Brazil about 1800nm away. So far our new schedule has gone over well, with everyone loving the long missed full nights sleep! Although St. Helena is one of the most amazing places many of us have ever been to, everyone was excited to get back into the routine of passage life and to head towards our next destination.
We started off the day as a crew with lunch, where we enjoyed egg salad sandwiches (cooked by Kevin and Joe) on homemade bread (baked by Stefano), followed by Marine Biology and PSCT class. We had to stop to let the engine cool and do an oil change around mid-afternoon, which meant that we could shower in the ocean, instead of on deck with a hose, which always makes for an excited crew. After nap/homework/down time we were treated with a Mexican fiesta, which is always a big hit. Now as the sun leaves us for the day and one by one the stars come out, Argo and her crew enter the comfortable routine of slumber and night watch.
A quick message from a few crew members: If any of you at home receive packages from St. Helena we ask that you please do not throw away the stamps as they are valuable! The Saints (as St. Helenians call themselves) actually sell all of their used stamps on Ebay as a fundraiser and have raised over 250,000 pounds (about $400,000!) So dont toss them!
*The pictures included in this blog entry are from our time spent in St. Helena*

Feb 7 Argo Update

Argo sailing west again.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Last Day Ashore

Author: Cayley Mackay
Location: St. Helena, UK, Atlantic Ocean
And so began our last day containing solid ground for the next two weeks! An early breakfast and we were off to start the day by piling twenty-two people into a local taxi van. None of us could have predicted the roadways here as they are some of the most narrow I have ever seen. We drove up and over one of the mountains, which held breathtaking views of the island, in order to get to the other side. The roads on the way down were particularly tremulous, filled with sharp turns and the smell of brakes; we were constantly expecting something to happen. Our taxi led us, with surprising safety, across the island to the trailhead for Lot's Wife's Ponds. It was a spectacular hike, although admittedly extremely hot, through St. Helenas rocky coastline with an end point at a large area along the edge of the ocean that contained numerous tidal pools. Chris and Beaks were eager to share their knowledge and, after a refreshing swim, most of us were soon holding sea urchins and inspecting crab exoskeletons. The hike back was just as difficult and, as a result, most of us were passed out for the half hour taxi ride back. We were given half an hour for any last minute things we needed to do ashore and we are currently readying Argo for the next part of our journey. We plan to leave just after dinner tonight and, timing permitting, we will be sailing into the sunset. Another wonderful day filled with amazing friends and the hot hot heat of the tropics. I cant wait to see what tomorrow brings!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Exploring St. Helena with Harry

Author: Stephanie Petter
Location: St. Helena, UK, Atlantic Ocean
We started off the day with a variety of muffins made by chefs Catherine and Spike and embarked on a full day of seeing what St. Helena had to offer us. Some of us took time to check in with family and friends back home and do some much needed laundry. A group went to check out Napolean's grave and house that he was exiled to or see the world's oldest tortoise.
A few of us Argonauts attempted to play a round of golf at one of the world's most isolated courses but when we got there we discovered that it was closed unless you made an appointment. We made a change of plans and hiked to the top of a peak that our taxi driver, Harry, suggested. We stopped at a gas station, got food to make sandwiches and hiked through cow pastures and wind turbines to find ourselves on top of a beautiful cliff over looking spectacular views. All of us had an eventful day on St. Helena and ended it with a bar-b-que in town of lamb chops, chicken wings and other delectables before a sign out night to wind down before we head to Brazil tomorrow.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

"God Save Our Gracious Queen"

Author: Jessica (Beaker) Wurzbacher
Location: St. Helena, UK, Atlantic Ocean
During the last few days of our passage to St Helena I taught watch team two the English National Anthem in preparation of our arrival to this small British island in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean. Our performance was at breakfast this morning as we tunefully greeted the crew with 'God Save Our Gracious Queen". Following breakfast we completed some of our BA tasks that could not be completed in the dark last night waxing and polishing on deck and the hull. Around lunch time we were cleared through customs and immigration and ready to go ashore. The quaint town of Jamestown is nestled in a deep volcanic valley on the northern side of the island. The town is full of history and had similar feelings to a small English town perhaps 30 years ago, complete without any mobile phones! The crew was free to check out many of the sights, which for some included a trip up the 699 steps (600ft) to the top of Jacobs Ladder built in 1829 for hauling manure up and goods down. Other highlights included the Castle Gardens, the old Post Office, the Consulate Hotel, the Market and various churches in the town. Once back on board we all enjoyed a dip in the amazingly clear and crisp Atlantic Ocean, all a little wary after seeing some large fish swimming by earlier today and also a manta ray sighting off the bow. We are just clearing up from dinner and about to have a Chemical Oceanography quiz and watch 'Breakfast Club" for Student Leadership Development class. Im excited for tomorrow as the Queens Baton for the Commonwealth Games arrives on the RMS St. Helena.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Land Ho!

Author: Annie Rae
Location: St. Helena, UK, Atlantic Ocean
Land Ho! These words were yelled across Argos deck this morning. It had been 11 days since we had last seen land and everyone was anxious and excited to better glimpse one of the most remote islands on our planet. For the first time since leaving Cape Town, we took down and flaked all the sails and learned how to drop anchor. St. Helena is certainly the most unique island most of the crew has ever seen less than ten miles long this volcanic landscape is home to roughly 5000 people. After dinner the crew and students completed our first 'boat appreciated" during which we scrubbed Argos deck, and down below until she shone. Tonight will be our first night of anchor watches and tomorrow we will head ashore to explore St. Helena and all the island has to offer.

Feb 3 Argo Update

Argo in St. Helena

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Sunshine and Sailing

Author: Marina Knapp
Location: Underway to St. Helena in the Atlantic Ocean
Today was another great day aboard Argo. Watch team 3 woke to a little rain in the morning, but by 10 the blue skies were back and stayed with us all day long. We had OCE class where we learned about how light and sound waves travel through water. In MTE class, we learned about man overboard drills and how to anchor. The afternoon was spent either studying for our first OCB test or working on PSCT flash cards. Although it was a perfect day out and we had our sails up, we continued to motor towards St. Helena in order to arrive before dark tomorrow night. Everyone is excited at the prospect of being able to go to shore and restock on the essential supplies (chocolate, coffee, and tea) as well as exploring the secluded island. Even though we are all looking forward to St. Helena, we've all grown fond of life at sea. I know we will all enjoy the chance to get out and stretch our legs, but at the same time it is nice knowing that in a couple days we will be back in the open ocean. Today came to a perfect end with a delicious sheppard's pie made by Sean and Averill followed by an amazing sunset. Hope everyone is doing great back home!
P.S. Gina, here's your shout out!

Feb 2 Argo Update

Marina calls in on day 19!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Welcome to the Tropics!

Author: Elise Huebner
Location: Underway to St. Helena in the Atlantic Ocean
Over the past few days, and after crossing the Prime Meridian, we have all been introduced to the tropics, and their unpredictable weather. When being woken up for watch, and enquiring groggily about what to wear its almost impossible to get a straight answer. We got a few short bouts of rain early this morning, and more are likely tonight, which just make things more exciting. This morning around 11:00 the wind picked up, pushing Argo along at 9 knots. With the sails fully up, all hands were called on deck to reef the main sail, and sheet out the forward staysail and the main staysail, which was an exciting kick off of our first daily meeting for lunch (which included freshly baked bread, and was delicious, in case you were wondering).
This morning also included the biggest school of flying fish weve seen yet, probably about 50 of them coasting along the top of the water. We should be seeing some real birds soon, as we are fast approaching St. Helena, and are only about 300 miles away.
This afternoon the Marine Biology students learned about different aquatic plants, and bacteria, followed by a PADI scuba class for those of us doing open water diving. At 15:00 we had our deck showers, and the complaints diminish daily as the water gets warmer and warmer. Plenty of loud music and studying went on in the salon until dinner time. Compliments to the chefs were plenty tonight, and there were no leftovers from the delicious Louisiana style gumbo Chris and Cayley whipped up. The sun is setting soon, and were all on the look out for the green flash less than 80 days left to catch it!
A quick hello to all my friends and family back home miss and love you guys! And a very happy early birthday to my twin, Ill be thinking of you!

Feb 1 Argo Update

About 300nm out of St. Helena