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Helming Ocean Star

Nov 10, 2013


Location: Les Saintes to Pigeon Island, Guadeloupe
Author: Ben
On this day, the tenth of November, and the year of 2013, we enjoyed a morning of navigation and French culture, an afternoon of sailing, and an evening of unnaturally windy conditions. The sweet smell of fresh French baguettes and pastries awoke my senses, ultimately waking me early as the skipper of the day. Lately, the music choices I wont say have been sub-par, but weve definitely been lacking in some areas, so a wake-up to some Kenny Chesney, Josh Gracin, and Rascal Flats it was. With the upbeat mood, the crew of Ocean Star pulled open their tightly shut eyelids, dragged their heavy legs to reach the salon floor and woke happily (yeah . . . right). Breakfast was a simple yogurt and granola one with an addition of freshly made banana bread from Jacob and Shayna. After a quick clean up, it was time to tackle some intense MTE navigation with Capt. Kris. The charts covered the salon floor, with a number of compasses and Portland plotters scattered about, and minds were jumbled as the combination of mathematics combined itself with longitude, latitude, bearings, variations, and more. But, soon after, our bags were packed with laptops, cell phones, and cameras to go enjoy a little shore time in Les Saintes. Personally, Les Saintes are my favorite islands we have been to yet and I was glad to be back. As I hopped ashore, lacing up my hiking shoes, off I went into the abnormally busy town (thanks to the beginning of the season), shop-hopping and enjoying myself some home cooked pastries and crepes along the way. The sun was warm on my back as I walked up the small hill into the square, and what a sight it was to see the vendors out and about enjoying the presence of visiting customers. If you’re one for good food, wonderfully nice people, and warm weather this is the place to be. Just be careful of those Americans (us) who may be stealing all the Wifi at the local internet cafes. Even though our time was short on the island, we all found our way back to Ocean Star, ready for our sail to Pigeon Island, Guadeloupe. Today was a little abnormal. As skipper, normally its a quick briefing on what were doing for the day and continuous picture taking, then a late night blog writing for all you to read. But today was much different. I (not Capt. Kris nor the staff) was able to assign people to raise the mainsail, foresail, jib, and anchor. I think today was probably the first day that we as students did the sailing without necessarily needing any full explanation of how to do a certain job, and heard commands coming from one of our own (myself). The sun stayed warm, and the wind stayed constant up until the last hour of the short sail to our destination, but that did not stop us from being prepared. As I helmed Ocean Star around a number of buoys and fishing traps, the anchor team was well prepared to release the port anchor, and our sail teams had so graciously lowered and flaked the sails in preparation. By far, helming (driving) Ocean Star is my favorite job to do. But as the night rolled in, shower time came in a hurry, and so we did exactly that. With an increased wind speed in the valley we anchored in, showering was abnormally cold, and I dont think that I have ever seen so many women shower in such a short amount of time in my entire life. And to finish the day with dinner, my squeeze question may have been a bit personal about everyone’s first kiss, but definitely fitting as to how close we have all become. As the trip winds down, what I think I am going to miss the most is waking up early knowing that no matter what we do in the day, its something interesting, fun, and enjoyable for all of us. Soon to come, blogs and stories of Antigua, so stay tuned, because even though we are 28 days from going home, we have a lifetime of experiencing left go.