Location: St. Barth to St. Martin
One of my many comfort zones that have been violated on a regular basis this entire trip is not knowing what the plan is. I’m the kind of person who likes to have a set agenda for the entire day, and I’m not very good at being flexible. However, I know it’s good for me to be forced into uncertainty, and I knew today was going to be one of those typical, tentative Caribbean days when I wasn’t asked to the chart-house last night for a briefing as skipper of the day. Today was TBA because of a bully of a tropical depression named “Colin” that was hanging out a few hundred miles to our Northeast. We got up at our normal time at 0715 without a set plan, but we got Ocean Star ready to sail in case we had to go hide out in the sheltered harbor at St. Martin from “Colin” if he got any rowdier. After breakfast, our fearless captain Eric called to consult with the office back in the States about the weather. We decided that just to be cautious, we would go ahead and sail to the safety of St. Martin. When we left St. Barth, we were treated to some flying jib and fisherman’s staysail action. Neither of these sails gets used often because they’re both kind of a pain to handle. However, it is still extremely exciting for us to put them up because they’re the last two sails we could possibly put up on Ocean Star. The only thing we could conceivably do to make the boat sail faster is holding our towels up in the wind. With that much sail area up and that much potential for speed and power, I felt a very similar sensation as I did the time I was 16 and took my dad’s sports car around the block for a spin without him knowing. Sorry, Dad. The passage as a whole from St. Barth to St. Martin was reasonably pleasant. We were spat on for a little while during lunch by some jerk raincloud (not a friend of “Colin’s”). Other than that, though, clear skies and beautiful sunshine the entire trip. We got into St. Martin around 1300 and went straight into the water for our navigation training dive for our advanced open water scuba certification. It was a short, relatively uneventful dive in about 11-15 feet of water in a pasture of seagrass (I say relatively uneventful because I’m breathing underwater!! How cool is that? It’s an exciting event every time). After the dive, some of us went on shore for an hour to explore around town and treat ourselves to some coffee, ice cream, and other delectables. We came back to Ocean Star and ate dinner at our normal time. After dinner, we learned the good news that as the day had worn on, “Colin” had been de-named and downgraded to nothing more than a low-pressure zone. I knew all along that he was all talk and full of hot air. Bullies always are. Peace, Love, and Roll Tide.