After a 6:30 am wake-up time, we did our morning routine of breakfast and cleaned up, and then we were starting dinghy shuttles to the shore at 7:30 am. We went on Sea Cat tours of the island. Sea Cat and his friend Gordon were our local guides. We drove all through the rainforest with frequent stops to cut down and sample all the local fruits. Our first big stop was at a Cassava bakery. This is where they took the Cassava root and beat it down into flour, and then added either ginger or coconut to flavor it up and baked it. It seems very simple, but I assure you this is a long and hard process with a delicious product.
After that stop, we moved on to a local family that gave us fire-roasted chicken with breadfruit served on a banana leaf. For dessert, they gave us chocolate that was just pure cocoa beans ground up. Some in our group liked it, but most found it too bitter. After that, they added milk and sugar to the cocoa beans, and people were fighting over who got to lick the bowl. That was a great experience, with more delicious food and awesome people. From there, we moved on to a beautiful black sand beach, where we ate lunch. We ate the local bread and fruits, which included: pineapple, star fruit, mango, apricot, cherries, Carib apples, passion fruit, coconut, and canips. At the beach, some of our brave group members tried to climb a coconut tree and gather some coconuts for the group. Several tried, and two succeeded. They came down with lots of yummy coconuts and scraped hands and feet to show off their success. After lunch, we headed to a local market area where several people were selling handmade crafts and jewelry. All of the things there were made with local resources from the island and were very cool.
After this, we headed off to a waterfall. This included us hiking down into the rainforest and then quite literally jumping into the pool of a gorgeous waterfall. The area was very lush and looked like a scene from a movie (Pirates of the Caribbean 2 was filmed here). This moment was an absolute highlight of the trip for most, as the waterfall in the rain forest like that looked like something straight out of a movie. Plus, all of us salty sailors were more than excited to have a freshwater swim. After one waterfall, what’s better than another one? Before hiking down to the next waterfall, we took turns swinging out on a vine and playing Tarzan. This was a ton of fun! We spent the last part of the afternoon hiking down and climbing over really big slippery rocks to get to another waterfall. This one was much larger and came down with a lot more force, but the surrounding area had a lot of little coves and caves to explore. We ended the afternoon by dipping into some hot water springs in the rocks. These truly felt like sitting in a hot tub, and we all thoroughly enjoyed our natural made bath time. After driving back down through the rain forest and into the city capitol again, we met up on the dock and took shuttle runs in the dinghy back to Ocean Star. Burrito night was awaiting our return, and as soon as clean-up was complete, we were going to finish the night off with a seamanship class. Today was an absolutely amazing day and is something we all realize is a privilege only a select few have the opportunity to indulge in. Everyone is going to sleep hard tonight!