Location: Pain de Sucre, Les Saintes

Today started watching the sunrise off the gorgeous islands of Les Saintes and ended with diving in the darkness with strange critters, such as octopi, sea cucumbers, and corallimorphs!

Following a breakfast of yogurt and fresh fruit, we began our OCB class on marine mammals by watching a video of a sperm whale dissection. Learning the anatomy of these creatures is a great way to understand their unique behavior. After class, the shipmates took their EFR (Emergency First Responder) exam, while I went in town to provision some last food items (there were no eggs on the entire island this morning!). I came back to the boat to find that everyone had passed their exams with flying colors. Now the shipmates are ready to begin their PADI Rescue Diver course.

In the afternoon, the shipmates undertook their first shipmate-led anchoring mission, without help from the staff. Even though we only re-anchored the boat about half a mile from its previous point, we all learned a lot about what strategies were successful and which ones were not. I can say with certainty that the lessons from today will pay off on the future passages and anchoring maneuvers that are yet to come.

After a dinner of chicken stir fry, we set off to do our first night-dive, and we were not disappointed. We were able to see parrotfish resting in their mucus sleeping bags, an octopus (or two!) foraging over the reef, and small teardrop crabs clinging to sponges. We were even treated to the rare Caribbean sight of a Nassau Grouper. At the end of the dive, we gathered in a circle and shut off our dive lights and waved our hands through the brilliant bioluminescence. Everyone immensely enjoyed their time on and under the water, today, and I’m sure will gratefully retire to their bunks tonight.