Location: The Atlantic Ocean
Each day of freezing saltwater showers so far has been announced with a declaration of “it builds character” and a follow-up reference to Calvin and Hobbes. The deck has been slowly swarmed by reluctant students, each carrying his or her towel and a painfully obvious expression of dread, each knowing full well how cold it will soon become. Those ten minutes have scared us all for weeks. Today, though, with the wind blowing as fast as ever, and Argo as far north as ever, we all appeared remarkably calm. Unusually so. Had the character-building finally worked? Were we truly sailors now, ready to face any situation in front of us? (that is, assuming nothing on the high seas could be more terrifying than cleanliness). It certainly seemed a possibility. Our recent film experience, chronicling around-the-world sailing race, presents another option: a “third solution,” one quite different from increasingly warm water or increasingly courageous students. We might have gone crazy. Just as Donald Crowhurst attempted to fake his circumnavigating the world in his ’60s race, presenting false coordinates until he eventually came to the conclusion that he had ascended to become a “second-level cosmic being,” we might, too, have gone a bit bonkers over the course of our journey. Dinner today featured students hosting an entire conversation over fake telephone, and a deep-rooted fear of a “snack thief” (almost definitely a series of snack-related confusions rather than a minor crime with forethought) has forced numerous crew members into storing their snacks inside of their shirts or beneath their pillows. I spent a full twenty minutes trying to figure out how to work a television that we’ve all been using for the entire trip. We purchased enough coffee for each person to have over five cups a day despite knowing full well that we wouldn’t need it. Worst of all, today we decided that English food is not only acceptable but actually quite delicious. So yeah, we’re long gone. It’s possible all true sailors are crazy, and none of us are quite sure, but the fact that we are now having fun while dousing ourselves in the coldest water around, or coordinating our pumping of the heads (bathrooms) to pop songs, or no longer questioning why we use a Mercator projection for our charts suggests that we’ve truly found a home here, and you’d best prepare yourselves for when we get back, hose in tow, cosmic being level two achieved.