Caribbean To Tahiti – Sea/mester Spring 2019

Drake is sailing with Sea/mester in the spring of 2019 and his voyage began in mid-January.  If you’d like to keep up with him, you can find regularly updated trip logs on the Sea/mester website.  Caribbean to Tahiti – Spring 2019.

Update 1/27/19: Drake is either extremely camera shy, or the other crewmembers on board the Argo don’t think he’s photogenic…you won’t see many pictures of him in the trip logs.  Regardless, he’s having the time of his life.  In less than two weeks on board the Argo Drake has earned his PADI open water cert and nearly completed his Advanced Open Water cert.  A few more skill dives – night diving tonight – and he’ll have that cert and move on to Rescue Diver.  While earning certs underwater, he’s also earning them topside, as he works on a Yacht Crew cert through IYT.  He may also have the chance to work on yachting communication and navigation certs.  All these certs are ‘secondary’ to formal college classes including Oceanography and Marine Biology.

Drake is having so much fun with Sea/mester that he changed his college plans for the Spring of 2020, canceling a planned expedition to Patagonia in order to sign up for the maiden voyage of S/M’s new yacht, Vela.

More soon…Drake has authored one of the trip logs and I’ll post a copy here as soon as S/M uploads the edited version to their website. …..  And here it is:

Location: Terre de Haut, Iles des Saintes

We awoke this fine morning to the smell of salt air and a hopeful optimism for the day to come. After spending a few nights facing rough currents and salty sprays, we were all more than ready to spend some time on land. The crew scarfed down a few dozen chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast and proceeded to make our way to land. Dinghy ride after dinghy ride, we arrived in the town of Bourg des Saintes on the island of Terre de Haut. Bourg des Saintes is the only real town in any of the islands of Les Saintes. Each quaint little building in the town has slightly stained off-white walls and a red, sun bleached roof. Every structure flows seamlessly into the next, creating the most picturesque island town imaginable. Couple that with the smell of fresh baked baguettes, smooth cappuccinos, and delectable handmade gelato…you’ve got yourself a great place to spend the morning.

The Argonauts spent a few hours wandering around Bourg des Saintes, in and out of French cafes, bakeries, and grocery stores (we like food). The narrow streets were filled with mopeds, tiny cars, and all kinds of people bustling about. Hours passed by as we sipped coffee, called our loved ones, chewed on baguettes, ate gelato, and…well, what more is there to do in a little French town like this? After a lovely morning on the town we all headed back to home base, S/Y Argo, for a nice lunch on the water. Following lunch, a group of us working towards our Advanced Open Water diver certification (myself included) headed out for an underwater navigation training dive in the waters of the Pain de Sucre anchorage. We saw more beautiful fish than you can possibly imagine, ranging from the adorable juvenile Smooth Trunkfish to the creepy Yellowline Arrow Crab. After a 40-ish minute dive we packed up our gear and settled down for the afternoon. The students had a few minutes to relax, study, play games, etc. before heading into a yummy mac n’ cheese dinner and an evening of free time for some and night diving for others.

I believe I speak for everyone when I say it was a fantasmagorical (not to be confused with “phantasmagoric”) way to spend our day. I won’t bother trying to define that word, fantasmagorical, if you were here with us you’d understand. Sometimes you aren’t able to describe a certain feeling or experience with a real word – it’s just that extraordi…no no…fantasmagorical. I’m beginning to believe that this entire journey will be one of those experiences.

Pictured left to right: The beautiful view of Bourg des Saintes from the Argo; The narrow streets of Bourg des Saintes; A group of us students enjoying a wonderful French cafe; A yummy cappuccino!  (Pictures mentioned are available if you follow the link to the Sea/mester Trip Log for this entry.)


—  THE END (of Drake’s first trip log entry) —

On 2/17/19 the grandparents in South Carolina discovered a picture Drake had posted to one of his Instagram accounts.  Looks like he’s rockin’ the between-island life:

GW Blog Drake Guitar - Crop

GW Blog Argo Docked 2-17-19 - Crop

Location: Colon, Panama

Our second day in Colon brought us a whole new world of cleaning joy. Shortly after a humble oatmeal breakfast we split into cleanup teams to tackle all of the remaining boat appreciation tasks, of which there were many. Some of us went down below deck to inventory the many stashes of food we have hiding all around the saloon. Some of us crawled deep into the damp underbelly of Argo, the bilges, to continue yesterday’s deep clean. Those of us who stayed up on deck were given a variety of laborious tasks, from cleaning the anchor locker and organizing tools to spending hours wire-brushing the rust off of some highly corroded bolts (shoutout to Bianca for cleaning many stubborn bolts with me this morning). I cannot attest to how most of the tasks on board went; however, let me assure you we all did our fair share of work to bring our lovely sailboat to a new and previously undiscovered level of cleanliness.

After a solid 3-4 hours of very hard work the crew settled down for an expertly cooked lunch courtesy of Amy & the chef team. Split pea soup with homemade rosemary bread rolls, a meal that will not be forgotten. Following lunch cleanup we gathered in the saloon for a fascinating Oceanography lecture on oceanic chemistry and things of that nature. The students had an afternoon of free time ashore to meander around the Marina and/or hangout on the boat and work on various essays and school projects. At 18:00 we gathered in the cockpit for yet another wonderful meal and a memorable squeeze in which we discussed our passions.

Many students cited travel as one of their passions, fitting for our current situation. No matter what our individual passions may be, on this boat each and every one of us is passionate about the boat, each other, and the world around us. It is this true passion that allows for days like this, filled mostly with challenging cleanup tasks, to be quite fun! Some would even say a day like today was…fantasmagorical, despite it’s lack of apparent adventure and excitement. On Argo we’ve all found a way to make even the most menial of tasks adventurous and exciting.

(Authored by Drake Gooding)



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