Location: Gustavia, St. Barth's
My watch team and I began the day at a rather unusual hour once again this morning. Just before 3 am we groggily donned our life jackets, chugged a bit of water, and wandered out on deck to take over the ship. We were on our way to St. Barth’s. The night was beautiful, one of the best we’ve had. The sky was clear, and an almost full moon lit our way as a gentle following breeze pushed us along over the ocean swell. Due to the precarious wind angle, we had to zig-zag our way through the night, meaning we didn’t arrive at our destination until around lunchtime, a full six hours after our watch team was relieved (Yay, sleep!). We pulled up to the dock just behind a sleek new motor yacht, but of course, motor yachts are a dime a dozen here in the Caribbean. All eyes were on Ocean Star, with her myriad of lines running up the masts and her gaggle of students running around the deck coiling lines, inflating fenders, and covering sails like a bunch of real sailors. We’re almost a month into the trip now, and our students don’t really seem like students anymore. They know the boat, know the sails, and they need less and less guidance every day to get us going where we need to go. They’re shaping up to be a real crew of scallywags! Once secure to the dock, we went about cleaning and sorting, as we do after every passage, showing Ocean Star some love for safely delivering across the sea. After a quick break for lunch, we let loose, off the boat to try the local crepes and ice cream, explore a shell-filled beach or watch planes land on St. Barth’s famously tiny runway (with a mountain at one end and the ocean at the other). Admittedly though, some of the crew, myself included, took this time to catch up on sleep after the rocky night passage. Then it was back to the boat for some of the best Sloppy Joe’s I think I have ever tasted, a thought-provoking squeeze question, and then, of course, more cleaning. Tonight it’ll be busy as usual, with some students heading off to study phosphorescent coral on a local reef while the rest stay behind to practice their chart work and study for their oceanography test tomorrow.