Location: St. Pierre, Martinique

Today, we woke up and properly felt like we were in France. It’s still unclear whether Chefs Meg and Heather were working all night in the galley or the local French bakery was hired, but for breakfast, we had some fresh baguettes and pastries with accompanying cheeses and jams. As seen in the photos, this was accompanied by a beautiful sunrise. Being today’s skipper, it was my job to wake the whole boat up. It seemed the best way to do this was to play ‘I’m gonna be’ by The Proclaimers. This felt appropriate because it’s basically a song about waking up and going for a walk. Even though the hike we were all soon going on wasn’t 500 miles long, everyone was still super excited as we looked at the cloudy volcano’s peak from the boat.

The hike consisted of a short taxi ride and then around a 5-hour round trip walk up Mt Pelee. It began as an easy cut-in step into the trail, and gradually, the brush became thicker and more beautiful at the top, with a bit of trailblazing required. It was fantastic to have a mildly cool mountain wind, which smelled amazing because of the many plants and trees. This was a hike I’d never done before, and it was so worth the walk for the amazing view of the ocean at the top. We felt safe in the capable hands of tour guide Freddie; it’s great to know that when we go out, he’s gonna be the man that goes along with us. After we returned to the seafront from the hike, we were all super thankful to have some shore time in the small town of St. Pierre. It was great to be able to eat some French cuisine while in the beautiful Caribbean sunshine and also stock up on snacks.

After we returned to the boat, we had a fantastic leadership presentation from Amelia about the dynamic of working in teams and exploring the things that make us more efficient and successful. Obviously, we all felt like this team is, at times, the very definition of efficiency, but we always strive to be better with new innovations. I often like to compare it to working at NASA. After this, everyone got ready for a spooky Halloween night dive. The night dive sight was on a wreck, which had been sunk in the most recent volcanic eruption in 1902. The wreck was in pieces, and it was fantastic to see how the reef had covered the wreckage with new coral and life. A couple of the divers saw a moral eel have a spectacular chase and battle with a squirrel fish. After a dramatic and incredible struggle, the eel won and ate the squirrel fish. What a thing to witness, basically something straight out of a David Attenborough documentary and probably something we will only witness once in a lifetime. Post dive, freshly baked cookies, rice crispy treats, and hot cocoa were awaiting us in a spooky red–lit and ghost / decoration-covered galley.