Location: Portsmouth, Dominica

Would you jump off a cliff just because all your friends did? Mom’s all around the world have been asking this question for ages, and in the case of the Ocean Star crew, the answer is yes. It all started when we got in the van this morning. Half the crew was already in the van because they were out getting Covid tests right before, but the rest of us piled in the two vans and headed up a tall mountain with a narrow road. The road was actually riddled with potholes, and the van struggled its way up. Well, at a certain point, the white van stopped because it knew its limits, but the black van had no limits… or so we thought. The black van was actually very limited and could not make it up the hill with all of us inside; well, actually, it couldn’t even make it up the hill with all of us out of it either. We, at that point, had to push the van up the hill, and it was like the ending of The Little Engine that Could. The engine was chugging, and Brahm was too. Once above the hill, we were driven to the middle of the trail; seeming to already be far ahead of the white van group, we decided to take this time to look at some crabs. Our tour guide caught the crab for us, and the crab pinched onto Johnny’s shoe and would not let go. We let the crab take the shoe, and he dragged it for a while, but then his arm fell off. Maybe it was a defense mechanism, we are unsure… but by the time we were done playing with our amputee crab, the white van group had already caught up. Meg and I think that they had to have been running the whole time because we were way ahead of them, but I guess we will never know. By the time Katie and I made our way to the waterfall, Grady was already doing backflips and dives and everything else you can do off a cliff. Watching Grady is fun because he is extremely graceful, and every time he stepped off the cliff, we were all in for a show. Maybe he should become a diver. The rest of the crew was quick to follow, leaping one after another from 30 feet in the air. This lasted for a long time, longer than I thought it would, which was unfortunate for Addisen because her lunch was in my backpack, which was back in the van. Oops. Guess no lunch for either of us, at least until we get back to the van. After that, we were off to what we thought was going to be a chocolate factory, but we did another surprise hike instead. When I asked one of our tour guides, Shane, where we were going, he simply told me that we were going to the place where his brother took his wedding pictures. Not exactly the answer we were looking for, but when we got there, it did not disappoint. It was like Mars if Mars were on the ocean and also not 6 degrees Celsius (Steve is very sure that Mars is 6 and also did not add a unit of measuring temperature, so we are taking a guess). After that, we headed off to the chocolate factory. It seems that this was not a tour, and Alan, the owner of the chocolate factory, was looking for someone to run the factory for him because he was getting too old. On the way inside of the factory, Max tried to sip from the chocolate river and ended up falling in. Alan then led us to his inventing room, where he showed us new special pieces of ginger candy, but the only one who would try it was Celia. She took one bite and then blew up into a piece of ginger. The rest of the crew trekked on, but they needed a rest, so they took a minute outside of Alan’s room where he processes nuts… Addisen saw squirrels inside the room and went inside, forgetting that she had a deathly nut allergy and died. Grady and Henry saw the magic soda that Alan told them was forbidden, but as Alan led the rest of the group on, Henry and Grady drank the soda and floated up. They quickly approached the fan at the top of the room, so they had to burp to lower themselves down. They tried to re-join the tour, but Alan sent them to probation instead. Alan then led everyone to the TV room, where Johnny accidentally shrunk himself to the size of a chocolate bar. There were only a few crew members left, so Alan gave out chocolate bars, one with a golden ticket inside. Everyone excitedly ripped into their bars when Julian let out a shriek. “I got the golden ticket,” he exclaimed. Julian would spend the rest of his walking days running a chocolate factory in Dominica, selling bars of chocolate to tourists for $6 USD. This is not the life he thought he would lead, but he loves it nonetheless. He never made it to NYU or even back to Massachusetts; he has important business to attend to right at his very own chocolate factory.

Today is my last day as skipper, so this is where I leave my words with the Ocean Star for the last time. It’s been a good run, and I’ve loved every minute of it. To everyone back home, I’m excited to see you, and to everyone on this ship, thank you for everything, signing off.
Love, Keaton

Picture 1: Bram and Katie, maybe a big brother relationship?
Picture 2: Views
Picture 3: The van rescue team hard at work… who needs AAA
Picture 4: Flower tats. We know they’re hard
Picture 5: Liam and Tophs for Liam’s grandma
Picture 6: Purple flower, (Mom isn’t this so pretty!)
Picture 7: the hike down
Picture 8: Johnny, Julian, and me
Picture 9: Topher has started wearing flowers in his hair, and Grady has stopped wearing pants
Picture 10 and 11: views
Picture 12: carving our names into the clay
Picture 13: Julian and Alan
Picture 14: Pick your poison
Picture 15: Alan handing the keys to the chocolate factory over to Julian; they are in the bag
Picture 16: baby deer learning to walk
Picture 17: The falls
Picture 18: Me and Meg aww
Picture 19: Julian wants candids… ask, and you shall receive
Picture 20: Crab with its arm!!
Picture 21: Crab detached its arm 🙁