Location: Oranjestad, Statia

Between yesterdays student-led passage and the sounds of an all-night Caribbean party bombarding us from the shore, making early wake-ups this morning was a struggle, to say the least. Finally, after at least 10 minutes of deep house music blaring from the stereo, I managed to get everyone out of bed. After a few cups of instant coffee and a short brief of todays plan, we split into two groups that would go on alternate dive times in the morning and afternoon. On the ocean floor, we swam amongst glowing Pedersons cleaning shrimp, giant rays, and a huge anchor that nestled in the sandy bottom, a remnant of a trading vessel sunken hundreds of years ago. While one group enjoyed all of the marine life Statias reefs and wrecks had to offer, the others caught up on some much-needed sleep, studying, and preparation for upcoming group research presentations. After everyone finished both diving and making the best of free time, we gathered in the salon for our final oceanography lecture of the trip to learn more about the state of our earth and oceans. I think that out of all the things we have learned during this course, whether it be the ocean currents that spread warmth and nutrients across the globe or the unique and intricate systems that exist under the seemingly simple crashing waves, the idea that has stuck with many of us the most is the importance of protecting the delicate environment that weve enjoyed while living aboard Ocean Star. Many of the presentations weve done ourselves have reflected this idea, one that I hope we continue to value as we head back to our lives onshore. After class, one by one, we came upon deck and took our oral exam from first mate Cooper. Our questions included how to facilitate sail raises, anchor drops, and different sailing maneuvers. Luckily, these are scenarios we live and perform on a daily basis. It is now about 10 pm: some of us are studying, others watching movies, Harper is deep in a computer game, and Im putting the finishing touches on this blog, so I can finally get some sleep. This trip has been more than I ever expected, and Im really not ready to leave just yet. Luckily, we have one more week. More to come. Thanks for keeping up with our journey out here. You guys rock.