Jan 25, 2011
After a long night of sailing, we anchored outside of Montserrat just in time for breakfast. Even though we have seen many islands so far, Montserrat is very unique-looking. The rocky cliffs display the island’s past, filled with cooled lava and years of stories we can only imagine. This is the Ocean Star’s first-ever stop at this island, so even the staff wasn’t sure what was in store for us today. After covering the sails and washing down the deck, most everyone went to shore to explore the island. A few stayed behind to relax after a nearly sleepless night and to catch up on some schoolwork- myself included. The day was breezy and relaxing, and I was glad to catch up on some laundry and reading, but I heard that I missed some amazing sights today. Everyone loaded into cabs and toured Montserrat’s winding roads. The drivers informed them of the recent volcanic eruption in February, which drove many of the locals out. The island is now home to only four or five thousand people. I also heard that the island was inhabited by Irish Catholics that were driven out of Nevis and Saint Kitts, so Montserrat practices many Irish traditions- including celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day as a national holiday. After grabbing some lunch, a few of my shipmates hit the public library for some cherished Wifi and to get some homework done. Now that we’re a couple weeks in, we’re getting more involved with the education aspect of the voyage. I think I speak for everyone when I say that we are learning so much, and what a way to learn. It is so much more inspiring to be immersed in your own educational experience than in a traditional classroom. We are living what we learn every day: from sailing miles across open ocean, to diving through the corals and identifying any creature we can, to taking charge and being leaders in our own groups of friends. When everyone returned to the Ocean Star in the afternoon, we all relaxed and got ready for dinner. We find value in moments of quiet and peace, because we know that the days ahead are going to be quite busy. Tomorrow we depart for Grenada, which is about a 40-hour trip, depending on the weather. Being on passage is like entering a different world. Time is almost surreal, and all our focus goes on the ship at all times. Once we get into the swing of being underway, it can be very exciting and is a very hands-on sailing experience. I used to be afraid of the open sea and the possibilities that come with it, but now I enjoy the challenge. All I can say is God Bless Dramamine!