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Sailing the High Seas

Jul 14, 2011


Location: Underway to Nevis
Author: Serena Hackerott
This morning everyone was abruptly awoken by a strange voice yelling something about a “bilge.” As we all stumbled up on deck, still confused and half-asleep, we learned that Kevin had surprised us with a bilge alarm drill. This drill served as a lesson to us that we must always be ready to jump up from whatever we are doing, including sleeping, to respond to an emergency situation or even just to help sail through a sudden storm. After the drill it was time for breakfast and “conveniently,” we were already awake. Any attitudes from our slightly rude awakening quickly dissipated as we sat together and talked over a delicious breakfast of bagels, eggs, and yogurt. After breakfast was finished and everything was thoroughly cleaned, it was time to prepare for the morning’s dives. The open water students were ready to complete their Open Water Dive 4 and the certified divers were just excited for another awesome dive. The open water students went first, trying out their “giant stride” entries for the first time off the starboard side of Ocean Star. The rolling waves and height of the rail made some nervous, but everyone made it into the water safely and with great form. The certified divers set up their gear while waiting, and were in the water as soon as the other group surfaced. The dive site was an airplane wreck with a beautiful artificial reef growing around it. As a certified diver, I was very excited to swim through the wreck. It was a very strange feeling, thought, to swim from the clear Caribbean waters into a darker, enclosed space where everyone’s bubbles were dancing on the ceiling and moving the old panels. As we exited the plane we saw the exterior was covered with beautiful purple sponges and other brightly colored coral. Exploring the reef, we saw so many fish that it looked like we were swimming through an aquarium. A few fish I identified were parrot fish, damselfish, and my favorite, fairy basslets. Once all the divers were out of the water and gear was stored, we headed to Spanish Town. Everyone enjoyed the shore time by indulging in much-missed foods such as pizza or ice-cream, shopping in the few stores, or checking in with home on the free wifi. We couldn’t stay on shore for long, however, because we had plenty to do back on Ocean Star to prepare for passage. Some of these things included removing sail covers, lashing down loose items, and inspecting the rigging. With Ocean Star ready for passage, we left Spanish Town and began to raise sails. We are currently underway to Nevis, both excited and nervous for our first overnight passage. Kevin prepared us for the hardships we might face, but encouraged us that they will make us stronger sailors. We have all eagerly accepted the challenge!