Location: Les Saintes, Guadeloupe

Today started with a quick breakfast to give us the maximum time to sail, no matter what the wind speed, to Les Saintes. Though I had been the one to wake them only 20 minutes prior, as we sat eating our bowls of cereal, the shipmates claimed they could not tell who the skipper was. Unbeknownst to me, they had received a necklace of colorful coconut shell slivers as a gift from a market vendor in Dominica. This necklace has become the skipper’s necklace, to be worn all day by the holder of that duty.

Post breakfast clean up melded into passage preparations. Gabe and his deckies brought the dingies back on deck. After pleading with Ian each time we set sail, Jack was finally able to drag the jib AND flying jib out of the laz and up to the bow. Jack, Ryan, and Max then battled to hank (attach with closing hooks) the two sails onto their stays (cables that run from the deck up to the mast) and flake (fold) the two sails onto the bowsprit. Next came the puzzle of attaching all the various lines necessary to hoist and trim each of the headsails. As the bowsprit boys took care of the halyards, tack pennants, and downhauls, Lito ran the sheets.

Raising anchor has become increasingly efficient, and as those who know to teach those who are less familiar, I’ve been able to step back more and more. The same is true of hoisting and lowering the staysail, foresail, and mainsail. Some constantly try a new role, while others, like Bobbie guiding down the gaff or Mahlon tailing the staysail, have clearly developed favorites.

As Dominica shrank in the distance, staff and students alike enjoyed the silence as we cruised along with only the power of our five sails. Chelsea, Eddie, and Emma were down into the galley preparing lunch while others sprawled out around the deck to complete knowledge reviews. Many, however, stayed around the cockpit. Amy and Steph answered questions about the intricacies of being a dive professional. Jon talked about wanting to open a dive shop in Utah. Izy and Margaret participated in the usual banter. Sophie shared cookies. Strayer enjoyed his victory over seasickness. No sail is complete without history storytime with Ian, and today he recounted for us how the US Navy got its motto.

Lunch and arriving in Les Saintes passed quickly, as everyone worked swiftly to tidy the deck and prepare for an afternoon of diving. Pausing only for a re-energizing dinner of eggs, sausage, baked beans, and biscuits, the students carried straight on into preparing for their long-anticipated night dive. With a large pot of hot chocolate warming on the stove, I await the excited chatter of their return.

Till next time,

P.S. Joyeuse anniversaire ma maman cherie!! J’espere que tu passe une merveilleuse journee et que cette annee soit encore mieux que les precedentes. Grosses bises, ton Calou