Location: Gustavia, St. Barthelemy

The surf was radical here on St. Barthelemy, and the students and I were anxious to head out into the breaking waves on our rented surfboards. We managed to get Ocean Star on the dock in Gustavia Harbor relatively early this morning, which left much of the afternoon for surfing. The beach was awash with a churning swell generated by a distant storm, and the waves were great for surfing. The first four students to arrive with the surfboards were so excited that they impatiently chided me for meticulously cleaning off the old wax and for putting a fresh layer down. It was fun to see so much excitement in the group. Everyone turned into small children with brand new toys as we paddle out into the waves. We quickly learned that catching waves is rather difficult and had to refocus and remember our oceanography lessons. Waves travel in an envelope and come in “sets. After a few small waves that are affected by destructive interference come ashore, a larger set of waves that have constructively interfered with one another will follow. These are the waves that are the most fun to catch! As more and more students tried their hand at riding into shore, they progressively learned and got better together, and most managed to get up and ride. By around 4 pm, everyone had been thoroughly tired out with the exception of the usual energizer bunnies who were now addicted to the surf, and as a group, we made our way back to the star. There we found a surf and turf meal being cooked up by Captain Smudge and Martine. Many students wandered off to grab some French snacks and ice cream to spoil their dinner, but the wafting smell of grilled steak and shrimp lured them all back. They now sit in the main salon under the instruction of Eric, who is teaching an MTE class on navigation and plotting. It will be an early night tonight, followed by a bunch of diving tomorrow on the reefs around St. Barths. Until next time!

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