Location: Roseau, Dominica
Day 10, our first full day in Dominica. After sailing in last night and watching the sunset over the ocean to our West, we jumped onboard Smoke, our former military dinghy and headed to shore. By the time we hopped into the taxis at 7:45, everyone was ready for the day of work that lay before us. Driving through Dominica was unique. It was the first time we had hopped into buses together, and as we drove, we passed through a country which was still recovering from Hurricane Erica, which hit the island last August. Towards the end of the ride, we began to ascend up over the bluff, allowing us to watch the ocean slowly appear in front of us. We ended up working on top of this bluff until early afternoon. The entire crew worked hard, shoveling gravel and sand, carrying buckets of water to the mixers, and completing any other task which the construction crew requested. By the end of the day, we had filled and emptied our water bottles many times. Each shirt was stuck to its owners’ back, and many hands which arrived soft left hard and calloused. For some strange reason, the color choice for shirts was white, meaning that upon leaving the construction site, the white shirts were now grey with dry concrete.
Although we accomplished a lot by 1 pm, we weren’t finished for the day. After a quick swim off of Argo followed by a snack of fresh watermelon, we readied the ship and took off for a new port where we will be staying for the remainder of our time in Dominica. We motored to Roseau due to a lack of wind and assembled our dive gear after dinner to get ready for a dive with Dive Dominica tomorrow morning. This section of the island is incredible. The forest is thick, lush, and absolutely filled with insects that are audible from the ship at night.
Being on Sea|Mester is the ultimate privilege, and even if we were to help communities every day for the rest of the trip, it would be impossible to repay the communities which allow us to explore their land and their oceans on Argo. Doing community service every day wouldn’t be possible, but simply appreciating the place we are in, the people we are with, and those who enabled us to go on this trip is a good start for understanding how truly lucky we are. Unfortunately, it won’t be long before we start taking these warm waters, gentle breezes, and elegant sunsets for granted, and this moment will be the first of many tests for the group. While living on a boat facilitates a sense of community within the crew so strong that it creates a Sea|Mester “bubble,” it is the responsibility of us on board to continue to expand that bubble and not simply get comfortable within the trip, losing that sense of wonder and gratitude we are working to cultivate.