Location: Barbuda

“SHENANIGANS!!” was one of the most used words today aboard Ocean Star. As rescue classes began in earnest, our three new candidates, Ryn, Ed and Matt, found themselves tossing life rings, towing tired divers and tackling panicked divers. But, as always, I’m getting ahead of myself. First of all a huge Happy Birthday to Ryn, 19 today! (Her best present was a peanut butter infused pancake- if you know Ryn, you’ll know how much she liked it!). This morning as the shipmates rose up through the companionway, wiping the sleep from their eyes, their faces turned to wonder at the sight that greeted them. After arriving in the dark last night, none of the students knew what our destination looked like. Paradise would pretty much sum it up. We are anchored off of a beautiful stretch of white sandy beach backed with shrubs for almost as far as the eye can see. The water is picture postcard turquoise and beyond the sand it the glimpse of a lagoon. With only two small buildings in sight and the beach totally empty of any tourists, this place is perfect. We began our scheduled day with a good dose of knowledge about ocean circulation in OCE class. That was followed by even more knowledge in a OCB review for the exam tonight. For good measure, even more knowledge was gained in briefings for our first dives of the day, finishing up boat and navigation dives (we now have four more advanced divers in our midst!) and a great session of search and rescue for the divemaster candidates. The very poor visibility conditions meant that all of these dives required expert skill to complete and all students excelled in every way. After a break for lunch and some rescue diver videos, the water based part of rescue class began. The students were briefed on the procedures for self rescue, tired diver and panicked divers, as well as how to evaluate situations and rescue people from a boat. To ensure that all of the commotion didn’t worry our other mariner neighbors (all of the other three boats that we can see from this paradise island), the word Shenanigans’ was used instead of Help’ to convey that there was a new victim to be rescued. Our divemaster candidates and student instructor volunteered as the fun job of being rescue dummies’. As you can imagine the screams of laughter drowned out any of the victims’ cries, and by the end of the afternoon all three candidates successfully rescued divers who unexpectedly required rescuing after the class. Well, we have just finished devouring possibly the best meal on program so far- Jakes Steaks cooked on the grill. With full bellies and hopefully fully minds the students are settling down for their marine bio quiz, we wish them luck!