Location: Falmouth Harbour, Antigua

“Calum…Calum…the propane has run out…” At 0600 this is the whisper that carries through to my dreams. “Not a problem, Isabel,” I reply as I swing out of my bunk. I know that Mike and his fellow chefs have pancake souffl on the go for brekkie, and that alone is reason enough to get up early. On deck in the Ocean Star cockpit, several shipmates are clustered with their notes and computers, diligently making final preparations for the coming Marine Bio exam with Steve today. It’s a grey morning and they all wonder how they will fair, but still a busy day of deep diving awaits.

Lunch has just gone down, a well rounded chicken and bacon wrap meal, but the breeze has freshened and heavy clouds loom to windward. Clean up continues with a new urgent excitement as the meteorological tension rises and a cold rain threatens. Seamanship class has been put on the back burner for now to get the last dive of the day in while conditions allow. Sitting in the cockpit, the deck is awash with fluttering movement and colour this morning’s free time was utilised to freshen up the garb, and the lifelines bear the decorative results.

Ben is still marveling at the enormous lobster he spotted on his Advanced Open Water Fish ID Dive, with antennae spanning over a metre across! But the little critters we’ve seen today peaked the interests of most others. Ash spotted and showed us a small green moray eel, and later a slightly larger spotted moray, both boldly braving the outsides of their holes to keep a close watch watch on us. We emerged on the surface to find Adelaide patiently waiting in the dinghy, keeping a watchful eye on the progress of our bubbles. Huge appreciation to her and Ash for sitting out in the harsher Caribbean elements today to allow the rest of us to enjoy the wondrous underwater world. It should also be mentioned that Steve spends a sizeable portion of his time filling dive tanks, so that we can all breath underwater. Snorkelling has also been enjoyed today with intriguing first-time encounters with the relatively harmless moon jellyfish.

After a good few days in the swell that rolls around into Falmouth Harbour, one could argue that sea-legs have been found by most already. This bodes well for our upcoming trip from Antigua to Grenada, a three-day sail southwards, where many of us will be getting our first salty taste of life before the mast. During dinner preparation, a groovy song by Maggie Rogers came on over the speakers. Naturally, a spontaneous dance party erupted in the cramped galley with a good show put on by Mike, Isabel and Sofie, and roaring applause by Luke, Jodie and Kiara showed grand approval. Sofie had also just succeeded in landing her first backflip! “Face your fears at least once a day…” So, in spite of the otherwise gloomy weather, energy still runs high on the sail yacht Ocean Star, no doubt due to the mix of good company and appreciation for the adventure…

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