Location: Ladder Bay, Saba

With great power comes great responsibility, and as the skipper, you have the power to set the tone for everyone’s morning. It can often be hard to judge how everyone feels when they are still fast asleep, so your wake up can be hit or miss. My favorite method has always been to play music on my speaker. Laying in bed the night before, I try to guess what songs will fit the mood of the next morning. The “Awake” playlist complete, I then spend several minutes pondering which song to play for those crucial first minutes that pull them from their slumber. A ballad? A 90s favorite? Some Jack Johnson? Perhaps a Disney classic? Happy but not too perky. Energetic enough to draw them from their dreams but not too abrasive.

Today I settled on The Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s “Carol of the Bells.” I must have picked correctly because, other than Allie who said “wait, is it December 1st?”, Everyone opened their eyes with smiles on their faces. As the last few slices of French toast finished cooking, everyone got dressed and began preparing their bags for the last hike of the trip.

The hike begins from Saba’s one port, Fort Bay. Trudging up the first of Saba’s many hills takes you to the village of Bottom. In a valley of green and endless flowering vines stand its matching white-washed houses and buildings with green trim and red roofs. Picturesque in every sense of the word. Winding through the village and back out the other side will bring you to the start of the trail. The trail leads you up more hills, along with more panoramas, under jungly greenery, and eventually to the village of Windward perched high up on its clifftop. A mile or so before Windward brings you up to the top of the volcano, which is also the highest point in Saba and amusingly enough, the highest point in the Netherlands. Today’s cloudless sky made for a hot hike, but Sydney and Allie assured me it also made for a spectacular view from the summit.

Once in Windward, everyone split off in small groups to explore and find some lunch. A few went to visit Jo Bean’s glass blowing studio. After exploring the shop, they each got to make their glass bead, which they all came back proudly wearing.

Though mesmerizingly dramatic with its rugged hills and houses perched high on cliffs, Saba offers little protection from distant swells. It also experiences a relatively strong current that naturally often runs counter to the wind direction. Last night was a bit of a rolly one, and we were all grateful this afternoon to move to a mooring ball around the corner in Ladder Bay that the Marine Park had prepared for us during the day. More secluded at the foot of an uninhabited cliff, it was also the perfect place to end squeeze with everyone giving their best primal scream.

Here’s to another night of getting gently rocked to sleep under a star-filled sky. Students have begun consciously enjoying these moments as they begin to mark the “last”s of their trip.

– Carolyn

P.S. Helene, Maman and Daddy, I’m trying to figure out how to do a snowman toe. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.