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Location: Les Saintes, Guadeloupe

I was torn from my sleep at 12:50 this morning by an alarming sound: the anchor chain rattling down into the water. When we’re secured overnight by an anchor as opposed to moored at a dock, we take anchor watches, rotating 1-person hour-long shifts designed to keep an eye on the anchors and ensure we don’t drag and start drifting downwind between the hours of 9 pm and 6 am. I was terrified that this was the sound of the anchors coming loose, so I dashed up the companionway to the deck. Turns out, anchor watcher Sarah had seen our automated anchor alarm trip as Ocean Star dragged anchor in the above-average Les Saintes gusts. The rattling sound was the staff raising and re-deploying the anchors to get better purchases. Everyone slept safely for the remainder of the night, thanks to Sarah’s vigilance.

The days *expected* wake up came at 7:00 with a live performance of Vaughan Williams’ “The Roadside Fire.” This was followed by Ela’s galley team’s excellent chia seed pudding and our daily briefing on the day’s planned activities. Today, we split into two groups. The first group, led by Amanda, would set up SCUBA gear and tackle their first open water dive day, while the other half would watch a documentary on coral reef bleaching called “Chasing Coral.” Then we would swap, and Ash’s open water divers would go. I was in the second group along with the other pre-certified divers, and I was deeply struck by both the beauty of the coral in the documentary and the science behind them and the climate change-driven devastation that has been causing these irreplaceable creatures to die. On that cheery note, we had a lunch of mind-blowing falafel from the galley squad, a round of sea shanties in the dishie pit (dishwashing area), and then the groups swapped activities. Ash’s group rocked the open water dive while Mia and Sunny of the pre-certified students took their check-out dive. Some sunken treasure was recovered, including a handful of trash, two bowls, and a spoon! The latter two are welcome additions to our collection since our silverware inventory keeps mysteriously shrinking…possibly Virginia, the resident ship ghost?…
After a meal of dahl (sorry for losing the chilies, Ela), we had our nightly “Squeeze,” a group reflection and appreciation circle. A short class on scientific writing later, and another indescribable day on Ocean Star comes to an end. Our first essay of the voyage is due tonight for leadership class, a board game is currently in full swing in the salon (our communal below-deck area), and of course, there are anchor watches, so the bustle never stops, only winds down. A new day and a new adventure are just a few watch changes away, and I’m eager to see what tomorrow holds!

Photos:
1) Peach tea on a Les Saintes morning
2) Brett chilling on the martingale
3) The breakfast lineup
4) Sunny, Sierra, and shantymaster Hedrick set up the dishie pit while Brett demolishes an orange slice
5) The pit is in full swing! Rae, Brett, Fizz, Sunny, Sierra, Hedrick, Sarah
6) Amanda briefs dive group 1, Mackenzie, Kelly, Alex, Savannah
7) Watching “Chasing Coral.”
8) Rae and Sarah set up their dive kits
9) Sam leads check out dives with Sunny and Mia: regulator recovery
10) Ash’s dive group 2 practicing octo breathing
11) Dive group 2 at the surface
12) A triumphant dive group 2 posing with Exy, one of our two dinghies
13) Always time for a snack! I celebrate our underwater tableware find (Thanks for the picture, Sam!)
14) Evening lessons in the salon