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Location: Atlantic Ocean

Today was beautiful. The setting sun was shining through the port-side chart house window as I wrote and reflected. The breeze has been fresh and in our favor despite technically sailing upwind (Freddy would say across the wind). Everyone seems to be in good spirits, albeit exhausted. Although we know that the bulk of our journey is fading further and further astern, there’s too much to look forward to to pay it much thought at the moment. Barbados is calling us, and we’re eager to accept the invitation. This next stop feels different to everyone for good reason: approximately two days separate us from the Caribbean Sea. These will be our last 48 hours of what they call 360 Ocean, an endless horizon with no light pollution apart from our own. Reaching the Caribbean Sea also marks the end of our journey through the Atlantic. This will mean no more 5-14 day passages, only single day crossings (or less) will be necessary to hop from island to island, Country to Country. We will be docked in Barbados, a luxury we haven’t seen since Cape Town 52 days ago. Visions of shore showers and the possibility of laundry machines and Wi-Fi give us comfort in moments of weakness.

The reason I’m going on and on about Barbados isn’t because of the amenities, but it does have to do with today. Drumroll, please… Scuba!!! Everybody started scuba classes today: open water for those who haven’t yet had the privilege of life beneath the waves, advanced open water for a few, and dive master for Christina. I haven’t started a scuba class yet, as I’ll be waiting for the new advanced divers to complete the course and begin searching and rescuing. Regardless, everyone will be diving in Barbados, and today, that reality has really started to set in. Although the already certified divers got to dive in Fernando, it only served as a reminder of what we’ve been missing. This is when it really begins, and diving will become the norm rather than the exception. Our days will be fuller and busier but rich with variety and sensory overload compared to the rhythmic lull of long passage life.

We had amazing Chicken Tikka Masala with naan for dinner, thanks to head chef Maddie and her sous, Kip and Freddie. For my squeeze question, I asked everyone to tell me something you shouldn’t do while diving. My answer was playing hide and seek, but answers ranged from holding your breath to locking your arms and legs around your buddy and peeing. We have our third species ID quiz tomorrow and our second leadership essay is due in a few days, the more curriculum we can burn through before the Caribbean the better, it won’t be too long before we’re preparing for finals. I’ll worry about that later, there’s adventure on the horizon.

Till next time, Skipper Cooley signing out.

PS for friends and family: I apologize for not being in touch, sending photos, or calling (talking to you, Phillip). My phone’s data hasn’t been working, and apparently, the Wi-Fi at all of our previous stops hasn’t been good enough for my phone. I got signed out of my Apple account, and WhatsApp needs an update that I can’t download because I can’t access the app store. I need to do more research when I get Wi-Fi, which I will have in Barbados! I miss you guys, I haven’t forgotten you, but making calls on other students international plans just doesn’t give me the time I need to call everyone. I love you guys and can’t wait to talk as soon as possible.