Location: Slipway, Antigua
Well – after 60-odd days of island hopping, we’ve returned to Nelson’s Dockyard, where we just finished our penultimate squeeze. Because Steve wanted us docked early today, we left Falmouth Harbor at the sprightly hour of 6:30, and with everyone up on deck and our bow pointing towards the golden sunrise, it was truly a glorious return to our familiar haven. After a relatively smooth docking, Mike (Steve’s sous chef) took great joy in passing up the cereal for breakfast, and everyone else took great joy in eating it. With our bowls emptied, it was time for half of us to begin our final (and most arduous) boat appreciation of the trip, while the other half got ready to go dinghy sailing! As our special corespondent, Ben Garretson, put it, “The dinghy sailing was so fun. Such a good workout, too. Aghh!” And indeed it was. Calum, Ben, and I hopped into lasers, while Sophie, Isabel, Pearse, and Lenox paired off into zests, and together, we all zipped around the friendly waters of Falmouth Harbor. As novice dinghy sailors, everyone got the hang of it rather quickly, and before we knew it, we were having impromptu races and Ben had already capsized twice! Meanwhile, back on ‘Ocean Star,’ the other group discovered mold on the ceiling of the laz (a large storage room below deck in the stern of the boat), which kept them busy for a good part of the morning, and at noon, we bade goodbye to Jodie, who unfortunately had to leave a couple days early due to travel complications.
In the afternoon, it was time to switch roles, and moldy air turned into a fresh salty breeze for the group now sailing at sea. This dinghy session came with its own share of excitement, with Riley hopping from boat to boat, Julia and Izzy undergoing a slow-motion capsize, and Calum accidentally ramming into Mike’s boat during a race (it ended up being okay after Calum gifted Mike a butt cushion in apology). On ‘Ocean Star,’ the second group took to the salon, and after hours of organizing, cleaning, and accounting, even the bilges are looking pretty spick and span.
After a long day of work and play, some of us took our first freshwater showers in a long time (and in newly-renovated bathrooms!), and we all gathered together for a delicious dinner of chicken tikka masala cooked by Steve. Following squeeze and cleanup, everyone gathered in the salon for a final Leadership meeting with Ash, and now, people are either writing cards or grabbing a bite of dessert at the brasserie nearby. And so, with thoughts of sentimentality, ice cream, and the surprise celebration that we have in store for our new divemasters tonight, I wish you all a wonderful night and hope you’re excited to see your children in the next couple of days!
1. Sophie the Skipper
2. Luke and Calum raising the anchor at sunrise
3. Pillars of Hercules
4. Morning motor to Nelson’s Dockyard
5. Calum (almost) capsizes!
6. Ben and Calum hiking out at Falmouth
7. Pearse and Lenox enjoy a relaxing sail
8, 9: Isabel, Sophie, and Calum cruise around Falmouth
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