In the Fall of 2016, I was lucky enough to travel on a sailing program called Seamester. This was a journey which began in Nice, France and ended in the Caribbean. For three months, I was a crew member on a 112 foot schooner called “Argo”. Most of the crew (like me) were also engaged in college coursework along the way. It was an inspiring trip and prompted me to start this blog. What follows are three posts that record my experiences, and were derived from emails I sent to family and friends during the trip.
December 12, 2016
This will be my final update of the trip. I fly out of Antigua tomorrow afternoon. I cannot believe this trip is nearly over, and it was a lot harder than I expected. Nevertheless, there were plenty of amazing memories that I will treasure forever. I am really grateful I was able to do Seamester, I think it has been such a great life experience. We sailed 5510 nautical miles!
It is almost 11 A.M. here and I am sitting in a cafe in English Harbor, Antigua. I finished packing around two hours ago. We have to finish cleaning the boat after lunch but that is the last task for the crew to do. We did half of the cleaning yesterday, the messy work.
Sailing across the Atlantic went great for the most part. It was a little rocky under sail the first few days but then it smoothed out and we motored for several days without wind. And then suddenly, on our final night of the crossing, we hit a squall which was not fun. A squall is an episode of extreme wind that causes loads of water to crash onto the boat and can be very dangerous, but the crew was ready and we made it through the storm well. Looking back, it was exciting and a great way to end the crossing, although it was very frightening at the time.
The Caribbean is spectacular! I love it here, and Antigua was my favorite island because of the relaxing atmosphere, scenic views, and quiet beaches. We finished our crossing in Dominica and spent several days there hiking, visiting a school, and taking an island tour. We also went to Les Saintes and it was breathtaking.
It is surreal that I will be back home in San Diego tomorrow night after three months aboard Argo. On a side note, finding out that I got into the University of Denver, my dream school, was a special way to end the trip for me!
Atlantic crossing ~ One of my journal entries:
Today was absolutely gorgeous. We are about 1/3 of the way across the Atlantic. Not much going on this morning, just watch teams and lunch at noon. Our clocks were set back an hour, so we essentially get an extra hour of sleep tonight! After lunch, we had Leadership followed by Oceanography including presentations from Madi, Lars and Hana. We then proceeded to have a man overboard drill, and since the boat was stopped for the drill, we had the delightful surprise of jump-in showers, which we have not done since Motril. It was so awesome, everyone was jumping off the bow and we stayed in the water for a long period of time. The water was warm and probably the best it has ever felt on this trip, and it was so blue. Everyone was so happy and we were all at an unusual state of peace. I think this pause was what we needed going further into our crossing, since we have been confined to the boat for a week, and we have about two more weeks to go. It was great to be able to stretch out the legs a bit more. I for one had an excellent time and it put me in a great mood. Such a great thing to be able to do!
The crossing has been great so far. The first couple of days were rocky and some people were seasick, but it has smoothed out a lot more since then. The water has been gorgeous, very blue and sometimes glassy, and some excellent sunrises and sunsets reflected on the water. We have seen a lot of marine life such as dolphins and flying fish, and we caught a Mahi-Mahi yesterday. I look forward for what is to come for the remainder of the crossing and also the Caribbean. Can’t believe there is only a little more than three weeks left.
Dominica: Remote town, incomparable waterfalls, interesting and pleasurable hikes, great island tours offered
Basse-Terre, Guadeloupe (Les Saintes): Remote town, not too many tourists, great cafes, good place to escape
Antigua: Resort type of place, parts of it are very quiet (such as English Harbor), good nightlife, another favorite of mine