Location: Prickly Bay, Grenada

It was an early start for my watch, and I at 4 am as Mark took charge as we slowly began to give each student more and more responsibility as they became increasingly competent with life aboard. Two nights and days underway have seen hourly boat checks become routine, sail and line handling become part of the ‘daily grind,’ and taking turns to helm an 88ft steel schooner become a honed skill. As a staff, we have to sometimes remind ourselves that we mustn’t expect too much, but this crew of just 18 days feels like they have been aboard for months, showing off all they have learned by how accountable they can hold themselves to certain tasks that they have not just become competent in but also confident.
Speaking of day 18, it is also 18 years that the wonderful Mattile has been gracing the world. If there is one person who has begun smiling more, showing off what she has learned, and being confident in quite literally knowing the ropes, then it would be my fellow Smith namesake, Smudge Jr, as I have now affectionately nicknamed her. The ‘surprise’ cake of banana nut muffin mix and chocolate chip cookie dough molded together better than I thought in the two-tiered chocolate-covered birthday cake I baked. Separate servings of our gluten and nut-free version of the birthday cake also went down with great pleasure.
Roger has been informing us of some of the details of the island we have found ourselves at with his destination presentation of the “Spice Island” that is Grenada, while others explored the island a little first hand at they assisted with finding some fresh food stocks. In the meantime, the crew has set to work in giving back to Ocean Star, the vessel, ship, sailing schooner, and home that has gallantly brought us to the southernmost part of our trip. For the day after tomorrow, we turn back north, this time taking our time as we explore each unique island along the way. Scrubbing both the decks and cabin floors, flaking de-salted sail, and remaking beds with fresh sheets were all chores accomplished today like old hands and proficient yachtsmen and women.
I asked at tonight’s dinner ‘squeeze’ what everyone’s deepest fear is. You may have heard the book quote or the more famous movie version. Of course, spiders, snakes, and some more obscure ones were shared, but what was most prominent was the fear of disappointing others or not fulfilling peers’ expectations. As a parent, friend, or relative reading this, I can tell you on behalf of your child, friend, or sibling that they are not disappointing you. They are shining beacons of every interaction you have had with them and are only growing brighter the more they discover and learn on their own.