Location: Sandy Island, Carriacou, the Grenadines

Since joining the company in 2015, I’ve done a fair share of wake-ups and experimented with various methods. Generally, I find music is the most effective way to rouse deeply slumbering students. Today I discovered a method that tops them all. I began with playing Everything Little Thing She Does is Magic by The Police and greeting each student by name. Moderate success. I got acknowledgment but not a lot of movement. That is until I woke up Matt G. He somehow went from comatose to high-fiving everyone in arms reach in a matter of seconds. I barely had time to jump out of his way before he bolted out of bed and up the companionway, belting out a “GOOOODDD MORNING EVERYONE LET’S MAKE IT A GREAT DAY!!” as he rushed forward to the fo’c’sle to greet its occupants in a similar way. That’s it, my morning job as skipper was done.

We had a lovely breakfast underway as we motored around the point to Hillsborough Bay and the treasured Sandy Island. As breakfast clean-up came to a close, the students jumped off Ocean Star and swam to the Island for a morning of exploration. Sandy Island, with its white beach, coconut trees, low salt brush, and lagoon, is uninhabited and embodies everyone’s dream of a deserted tropical island. As Jon described it at dinner, “I had a bit of a proud dad moment when I realized how well you would all do in a castaway situation. You were only on there 10 minutes, and forts were already being built, and you’d fashioned tools for spearfishing.” (From what I hear, the improvised shelters were more successful than the actual spearing of any of the bait-sized fish.) Brit, Josh, and Joseph climbed trees and picked coconuts to eat. Jill and Jade snorkeled around in search of cool fish. It was with reluctance that the students swam back to the boat for lunch and then class.

Our first-class today was Seamanship. With all the moving parts and specialized roles during sail raises, I realized during our last sail that the students still couldn’t quite visualize the big picture of what needed to happen and how to get all our sails up. So, with the help of a few pencils, a handkerchief, some paperclips, and many small strings, I made a miniature sail complete with all of its rigging. Kennedy and Brit aided in my demonstration, sweating and easing the miniature halyards, downhauls, and sheets to demonstrate how the various lines (ropes) worked together to raise the sail. We definitely ended with a new level of understanding and excitement to give the real thing a more understanding go tomorrow on our way to Union Island. After I finished torturing them by throwing the name of every last thing on deck at them, the students escaped to Oceanography for a class on marine sediments that involved a lab activity with bowls full of “sediment samples,” aka different types of candy.

Refreshing jump-in showers are a nice way to end any hot Caribbean day, but today the somewhat late schedule, clouds, and sun treated us to an even more spectacular sunset ocean shower. The sky and water glowed gold, pink, and purple as everyone jumped in to rinse the shampoo from their hair. After a jovial dinner of chicken parm, we answered the squeeze question of who is someone who has had a big impact on your life but that you’ve never gotten the chance or known how to thank properly. We heard about uncles, teachers, siblings, coaches, and grandparents. We heard about their patience, their pushing and encouragement, their attitudes towards life, and the memories they gave us.

As I sat writing this blog, several students came rushing into the chart house with a minuscule crab they found on deck. It must be time for marine biology.

Well, that’s all the news from Ocean Star.
Until next time,