Some of our hikes are a bit steeper than others, but I would argue that this morning’s endeavor was more of a stroll. After breakfast, we made our way to shore here in Statia to walk through Quill National Park to a beautiful ridge line, looking into the crater. Along the way, we passed many goats (several of which were adorable babies), a few chickens, and a lamb or two. The greenery was lush, as it often is in these rainforest environments, and full of flowers. The trail was a dusty one, with short and long steps made of rocks and wooden planks that led us through the few steeper sections of the trail. In only an hour, we made it to a viewpoint and saw Ostar as a spec floating in the distance. A few minutes later, we reached the top, where we had to take a lengthy snack break to soak in the scenery. Alaina surprised everyone with donuts, packed to share, and high spirits were further elevated. Another favorite moment of the peak was Selin’s discovery of the world’s smallest air plant.
Post-snack party, we hiked our way back to the dock and made it back on board just in the nick of time for a fabulous lunch courtesy of chef Freddie. My personal favorite part of cleanups recently is that we have now reached the season in which no one can say it’s too early for the holiday music, and yes, singing I want a hippopotamus for Christmas is encouraged in every dishy pit. With the boat all cleaned up, it was time for the last leadership chapter presentation of the semester. This class was led by Luc. He chose to teach on deck and have everyone close their eyes and focus on inner connection. His presentation was all about self reflection as a leader and how to find balance and recharge, it sounds like the perfect subject to end on as we transitioned from leadership class into planning meetings for our student led passage leaders. YES, that’s right, the moment we’ve all been waiting for…… *drum roll* the following team will be guiding us for nearly two days at sea back to our home base in Antigua starting tomorrow. We will be in the trusted hands of skipper Mike, Chief mate Corinne, and Navigator Olivia. It’s not only a challenge for these three but for the whole student crew as the staff take a step back and watch them come together and apply the skills they’ve been learning and practicing throughout the program. Between planning the details of tomorrow’s passage, they also prepped the boat so we’d be ready to go first thing in the morning.
As a bustling afternoon came to a close, the sky turned bright pink, as it has many nights in a row now. I must say it never gets old. My squeeze question for the night was asking what each person would name the perfect boat that they were meant to envision having five years from now. It’s fun to think about the next trips some of them will be on and boats, especially sailboats, many of us may have in the future. Although some of us lean towards science, some of us to diving, and some of us to sailing, we certainly all love the sea, and I would wager to say that sail days have been some of the favorites on this trip. It’s hard to beat the feeling of the helm, especially when marine mammals pop by for a visit, the sun is shining, and sea shanties are blasting. It doesn’t get much better.
As my final blog for the semester, I must say, it’s quite a special thing to spend this much time within 88 feet of one another, but the level of collaboration and care amongst this bunch of humans has made Ostar exceptionally homey. I have a lot of appreciation for the student and staff team of fall ’23 <3