Location: English Harbor, Antigua

7 AM came fast this morning, but everyone woke up and got ready for the day with smiles on their faces. We had a lovely breakfast of yogurt, granola, and fruit and then started our orientation. We became familiar with PFD’s, both models 1 and 5, and survival suits (also known as Gumby suits or Lobster suits. Look at the pictures below, and you’ll understand why:)). The model 5 PDF is what we will be wearing whenever we’re underway, so we learned how to clip ourselves onto the boat with them and what the protocol will be for when we start sailing. After that was a Gumby suit race where we had to get into the bulky, awkward, and INCREDIBLY hot suits as fast as possible. Once in the suits, we all looked hilarious, just red blobs scattered around the deck.

In our free time before lunch, a bunch of us tackled learning a card name that Niko loves and claimed is “easy to pick up if you just hang in there.” We all “hung in there” for about an hour, and let me tell you, it was most certainly NOT easy to pick up. Thankfully we have a whole 88 more days to master it, although we will likely need every second of those days in order to do so. This afternoon we were split into groups and rotated around the boat leaning about the galley and saloon areas, the chart house and engine room, a brief overview of the deck, and the in and outs of our cabins and the head. It was all very interesting, and it felt nice to start understanding and feeling more comfortable on the boat.

Before dinner, there was time to just hang out, and everyone got to know each other more, sharing stories about home, pets, families, friends, hobbies, worldviews, and just about anything else you could think of. I am truly blown away at how interesting, unique, and adventurous every person on this boat is. After chatting for a while, those who were on dinner duty began cooking and preparing for a dinner of chicken tacos. As we sat around the cockpit eating, many of the boats around us started blowing their horns and setting off flares, welcoming in a rowing boat that had just crossed the Atlantic Ocean from the Canary Islands, a very special moment to watch and a great way to end the day.

Photos 1 and 2: Gumby Suits!!
Photo 3: Learning about PFD’s and hanging out in the cockpit
Photo 4: Hanging out in the cockpit
Photos 5-9: Chores for the day