Location: St. John's, Antigua

Hello, friends and families practicing social distancing at home by remaining in your homes,

We are practicing self-quarantine on Ocean Star by enjoying each other’s company and sitting through lots of hours of class, all crammed together in the salon. It turns out a boat is a pretty great place to get away from the world if you want to. After a somewhat uncertain and tumultuous day yesterday, we made it to Antigua in the wee hours of the morning and dropped anchor in Falmouth Harbor. At our usual wakeup hour of 7 am, we arose to see lots of boats with yellow quarantine flags flying. Don’t worry, the yellow quarantine flag or Q flag is something that every boat has to put up to indicate they have not yet cleared in through customs and immigration, not that they have any sick folks onboard. After a quick breakfast of yogurt and homemade pumpkin bread, we were raising anchor once again to move around to St. John’s, the capital of Antigua, on the northern part of the island. All other customs offices on the island have been closed until further notice. While we were motoring around Antigua, we got started on our PADI rescue course! The first portion consisted of watching the Rescue video, which is a few decades old and features highlights like neon wetsuits, big hair, and a thrilling didgeridoo soundtrack. Despite the cheesiness of the video, we learned all about the different skills we are going to master in order to become rescue divers, including locating a missing diver, administering in-water rescue breaths, and exiting an unconscious diver. We had a hearty and nutritious lunch of veggie polenta bake. It was filled with lots of green vegetables to keep out immune systems and our spirits strong.

After lunch, it was time to dive into science classes for the afternoon. First, we had oceanography, where we heard Tye and Matthew’s M’s literature review presentations on hydrothermal vents and remote sensing, respectively. After they finished, we did a big review of the last few lectures in the physical oceanography unit, where we have been learning about earth’s prevailing winds, major currents, the Coriolis effect, and much more. Then we did our new lecture on waves. It is a topic we become very familiar with as a sailing vessel, and it’s one of my favorite lectures to teach. After oceanography and a short stretch break, we dove right into Marine Biology, where we learned about estuaries, and we prepared for our Fish ID quiz coming up tomorrow. A little before dinner, Steve finally returned to Ocean Star with the excellent news that he was able to successfully clear us into Antigua. After getting turned away in Les Saintes and in Guadeloupe yesterday, that was a great relief to us. We had a filling and tasty dinner; then, we went over our Rescue knowledge reviews. We know that the second half of our semester is going to look a bit different than we planned, but we are happy that we are here in the Caribbean where we can still enjoy the beautiful weather, the clear waters, and the company of our crew.

Sleep well and stay safe,
Amanda

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