Location: West End, British Virgin Islands

Never in my life have twenty days moved as quickly as those that just passed. Our students came together faster than a zipper on a set of foulies in a squall. It made for some really fun times and some really deep bonds during the trip, and it left me sad and happy today as we said our goodbyes. Watching the open water students turn from landlubbers to human fish during their PADI course was exciting for all of us instructors. I swear Gigi has secretly done this whole SCUBA thing before because she is a natural in the water and looks so comfortable as she effortlessly glides around coral reefs. Watching Leah conquers her fears and leap into the sea was inspiring, and she too became quite the diver. Ally and Lina might as well have gotten their underwater photography specialty, opened an underwater modeling studio, and claimed the Guinness world record for “most underwater selfies in a 20 day period” with the number of shots that made it onto this computer. They always had a grin from ear to ear in every photo, so they must have been having a great time on all of those dives. Gus and Sam were the surfers of the boat and brought a great vibe and attitude to the family that must have come from all those mellow days trying to catch waves out in California. It was a fun day in St. Barth’s when everyone from novice to expert had a hand at surfing off the beach. Having a day where roles were reversed, and the instructors became the surfing students was really cool to see. JP, my fellow Massachusettsian, was a great dive leader during our trip and is the Tom Brady of divers. While we only had Matt and Alexis for a short time, they were never forgotten, and we remembered the great times we shared together every time we did our count off. We elected to keep our original numbers despite the order, and we kept a photo hanging in the salon to remember them by. Eva was a unifying force that had come from AQ and understood how to bring a crew together from her past experiences as a shipmate. She came through with some great squeeze questions early in the trip that helped us all come together.

Kat and Alex came a long way from their homes across the pond and brought with them some great banter and many fresh perspectives. Bryn was always gung ho to jump in and lend a hand around the deck almost as much as Will was eager to take the helm. It was great seeing those two, and all of our students command the vessel on watches and really make Ocean Star their home. Ocean Star loved having these students stowed safely in her hold as they gave her all the careful attention she deserved. For all of that love, she shepherded us across the waters of the Caribbean and sailed deep into all our hearts. Stars truly did align on this trip, and hopefully, they will do so again sometime in the near future. Good luck and fair winds, guys. We miss you already!