Location: Montserrat

One of my most favorite things about the life we live onboard is arriving in the dark of night to a new country only to awake the next morning to see what reality is ours. This morning we did just that as we clambered up the companionway to find ourselves on anchor at the foot of the breathtaking cliffs of Montserrat. The lush green hillsides leading up to the volcanic peaks towering over us were truly inspiring. To start off the morning, Capt. Diamond and I went ashore to clear us into customs and to sort out an island tour excursion up to the observatory and the exclusion zone. The zone is affected most by the recently active volcano. After the shipmates finished their Marine Biology class this morning, we dinghied ashore and jumped in the van owned by our tour guide and “unofficial” mayor of Montserrat, Mr. Daly. He drove everyone up to first the old sugar mill to stop and grab some freshly hand-picked “Sea Grapes” from the trees standing there and to admire their view of Montserrat’s leeward coast. Then we were on to the volcano observatory, the part of the islands that had to be evacuated due to the eruption in 1997. It was as if the rocks, ashes, and mud all caused time to freeze and transformed the area into a spooky, although fascinating, ghost town, partially buried in the sediment. Maybe every now and then, we need a little reminder of how powerful mother nature can be. As we made our way down the volcanic peaks, we convinced our taxi driver to stop at the local market so we could grab some ice cream and satisfy the cravings we had been having late at night onboard during our watches on passage. Once back home on Oceanstar, we had a bit of free time to relax, swim, and get sorted for tomorrow as we leave beautiful Montserrat for another new country, Grenada! It will be our longest passage to date! But first, a little Basic Seamanship class for the crew tonight with Ben and myself. Goodnight, folks, until next time.