Location: Portsmouth, Dominica

Erin and I have been really into boundary-setting today, and nothing makes us laugh harder than saying, “No, heart.” It’s a great way to tell someone you have no intention of doing something, and at the same time give them a little positive affirmation. For example, last night, Brahm asked if we wanted to practice charting for the NavMaster exam, and our only response was a resounding “No, heart.” Anyway, now onto our last full day in Dominica.

Last night I had watch from 3-4, and Liam once again woke me up with a firm elbow tap that shot me right out of bed. I always try to engage Liam in conversation when he wakes me up, but usually, he does not share the same enthusiasm for talking on deck in the middle of the night. Johnny, on the other hand, does talk to me but also has a bad habit of not waking up. This night was no different, and it took many trips down into the foc’s’l for him to get out of his bunk. By that point, I was not wanting to talk at all and only wanting to sleep, but I heard that he did see some cool fish jumping out of the water. Johnny is very fascinated by fish, especially needlefish.

Today was the third day of the infamous Dominica COVID test, and that meant an early wake-up for some of the Ocean Star crew. So far, the van rides to the testing site have been pretty eventful, mine being a 25-minute rendition of Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds” and the other group careening down the mountain highway in blue velvet seats with no seat belts. This third trip seemed to be a little tamer, which is great from a safety standpoint, but I have to admit I was looking forward to a more eventful story. Those of us left on the boat enjoyed an “English-ish” breakfast by Ash, which basically is a fancy way of telling us we’ll be having baked beans. But I actually like baked beans, so this was no skin off my teeth, and I think everyone was a big fan of getting extra sausages due to some of the crew being gone. Well, this is somewhat of a side note, but at this very moment, Noah is grabbing all of the bags of raisins we have onboard for a snack. I have never met someone who actually enjoys eating raisins by the pound, but in the words of Julien, “if you don’t like raisins at this point, you are just childish.” Julian is very opinionated about food, if you haven’t picked up on it by now.

After breakfast, we had some free time (again, thank you, Covid test), and while some people decided to get ahead on NavMaster, Johnny and I watched Castaway. It is a great movie except for that part where he pulls his tooth out with an ice skate, and I conveniently went on deck when that came on to swim and read. Tophs and Johnny are always down for a morning swim, but we are all embarrassingly suffering from the problem of getting water up to our noses. Lots of water. This has never happened to me before, but now I’ve turned into that person who holds their nose when they jump in. It’s terrible, but at least the water felt really good. Ash pulled out all the stops today for meals, so our burgers were accompanied by sweet potato fries and a lot of them. Sam and I have decided not to be ashamed of putting mayonnaise on our fries, so we had a great meal, and so did everyone else with their ketchup. To update you all, Noah has found the raisins and has already broken into the first bag. I will take his word for it that they are “nature’s best snack.”

I guess we had to have a little bit of class today, and Julian did a great job informing us about the effects of climate change in his presentation. He has a very commanding speaking voice. Sam gave us some hope with a bunch of alternatives to our normal carbon-emitting habits. Now Steve is showing me a grainy video of zombies walking and comparing it to how he feels at work. If you haven’t picked up on it by now, writing these blogs in the chart house is comparable to sitting on an airplane with someone who decides they want to talk to you the whole time. It’s difficult, to say the least.

Although many of us are in denial about passage back to Antigua tomorrow, Brahm is fully aware and had us do a little bit of passage prep. Grady calls this boat “laundry boat” based on all the clothes hanging off it, but maybe we’ll get it figured out by tomorrow and come into port looking snazzy. Here’s to hoping. Sam has logged me out of the computer and is being super secretive about the password. But now I am logged back in, and Steve is back to showing memes about how American’s measure social distancing by the wingspan of a bald eagle. I am so sorry about the trajectory of this blog but hang in there. We are getting to the end.

You always know it’s about 4 in the afternoon when Keaton starts harassing Katie about wanting to take a shower. You can almost set your watch to it. Keaton needs company to do many things, and Katie is very obliging. Katie really is the glue that holds this ship together. Henry took the afternoon to work on a coconut ring, and this happens to be the third coconut ring he’s made. The first one was great, the second one is getting there, and the verdict is still out on the third. Unfortunately, Tophs stomped on the “perfect coconut,” so Henry is having to work with some B-listers, but he is making a pretty big name for himself in the craft. I am in the process of reading the most mangled copy of Jurassic Park you ever did see, but I got to the 200’s today, so hopefully, it holds up in the home stretch. Others made bracelets downstairs, worked on oceanography, slept, and probably some other things.

Ash’s homemade garlic bread with spreadable garlic cloves was a huge hit at dinner, although Steve would like to make it clear that he did not eat one thing of garlic. I, on the other hand, had 3 pieces. Katie and Grady do spend a lot of time in the kitchen as sous chefs, but it pays off, and we are all very thankful. My squeeze question was this: what kind of car would the person to your right be if they were in the movie Cars? Some people complained that this was a weird question or a hard question, but we got some pretty good answers. My favorite is that Ash would be that hippie car that makes all the other cars try all-natural gasoline. So now we have officially arrived at the end of the blog, and for those that are still with me, I want to thank you for hanging in there. I’ve loved my job as skipper but will now be retiring to small white brush on the deckie team. For now, goodbye readers, and goodbye Dominica!

<3 Meg

1) The 4-year-old Pringles can that just keeps reappearing
2) Keaton and Liam in the early stages of the salty pit. And of the morning.
3) Johnny winking, I think?
4) Recruited to the varsity deckie team, but the staff remain unimpressed
5) Ash and Steve in deep conversation
6) Keaton with a piece of paper on a bench
7) At this point, Tophs and I are living off of passion fruits
8) They call him the coconut king
9) Katie!! And one Liam in the background
10) A very symmetric lunch line
11) More pulling on the handy billy
12) More pics of the pit
13) Covid rejects
14) Sous chefs and a view
15) I don’t really know how to caption this, but Tophs and Julian posing for something
16) A cute huddle on top of the chart house