Location: Roseau, Dominica

Today we got to wake up to the smell of chocolate chip pancakes, courtesy of Captain Ian and Max. Knowing we had an exciting day ahead, we got up, some more eager than others, as is the usual routine. After having cleaned up the damage breakfast had left to the deck and galley, we made sure we were ready for our morning activity. All our SCUBA gear and snacks packed up; we set off to a local dive shop called Dive Dominica.

The island is very steep, and hence it’s a drop-off, making Dominica not a great spot for anchoring (which is why we’re on a mooring). But because anchoring is close to impossible here, the dive sites are relatively untouched, and therefore the coral reefs and biodiversity here are amazing. The first dive site we went to is called Witch’s Point. Today this dive site was used for both a training dive and just a fun dive for the already certified advanced open water divers. It is a reef dropping down to (as the divemasters told us) over 1000 ft! The perfect spot for students to do their deep training dive. As we entered the water, we were stunned by the colorful reef and animals. My group and I saw two sea turtles, a spotted snake eel, moray eels, a barracuda, and an incredible amount of tropical fish. Left to the imagination is what the other two groups saw animal-wise but a graphic picture one of the groups painted was one of our own diving instructors, Steph, pretending she was skydiving/free falling while dropping to about a 100 ft and causing her students to come back up in a very giddy mood. After this amazing first dive, we got ready for our second dive and full of expectations as we set off to Champagne Reef.

Champagne Reef gets its name from tiny sulfur bubbles leaking out of the crust due to the volcanic activity going on on the island. The sulfur gives the sediment around it an orange hue, and with little imagination needed, the bubbles transform the water to make it look like champagne! This dive was personally one of my favorites because, for the first time this trip, we all got to dive together as one huge group three instructors from Dive Dominica, our own dive instructors Steph and Amy, and of course, 15 students. We saw lionfish, cuttlefish, and more, but what made this dive great was seeing students who had not once dived before this trip dive together with others who had and the fun we all had underwater, knowing we could trust each other. Shoutout to my newly certified buddy Izy who looked more comfortable underwater than on land. As those of you who dive know, diving is exhilarating but, at the same time, exhausting. So both full of energy, exhausted and hungry, we devoured our packed lunches and headed back to S/Y Ocean Star.

After a quick Ocean Star-style shower, we were told we had some shore time. Exhaustion was nowhere to be found anymore. Sparkling with energy, we got
dropped off near the cruise ship dock in town and headed out in groups, each having plans of their own. Everyone walked around a bit looking for roadside treats, fruits, or souvenirs, and we stumbled upon a little ice-cream shop. In the hot, humid weather, we rushed inside in a grateful wave of chaos, surprising the shop owner. Having seen the old market shown to us by a lovely local woman who somehow convinced my group to walk in the complete opposite direction we were going to see her stand, we quickly popped into the supermarket to stock up on some snacks. We headed back to the dock to be picked up again. Finishing the day with Ian and Max cooking the crew baked mac ‘n cheese and getting the first part of our EFR (Emergency First Responder) training, we finally got to go to bed after having kissed our CPR dummies goodnight.