Location: English Harbour, Antigua

The Ocean Star crew arose this morning to a calm day outside. We docked in English Harbour yesterday to stay safe during the tropical depression that came through last night, and it was a total success. We’ll be staying docked until Friday to make sure all weather is clear for our long sail to the Island of Barbuda. Despite the gusty winds and on/off the rain of the day, spirits were high. Plus, it’s Ian’s 18th birthday today, making it all the more better!

Breakfast was eggs in a basket, wonderfully made by our head chef of the day, Justin, along with his two sous chefs, Graham and Alex. Once everything was all cleaned up, the learning started for the day. As aspiring rescue divers, everyone must also become an emergency first responder and become certified in CPR and first aid. We started with primary care and how to check if someone is unresponsive and in need of help. This includes learning how to administer chest compressions and rescue breaths, along with learning about spinal injury, serious bleeding, and shock. Everyone had a great time trying to save our dummy, Franois (pictured with Dylan), and performed CPR perfectly after primary care came secondary care. In this section, we learned how to wrap and add pressure to a wound, along with making a sling and a splint. Lastly, our EFR class ended with how to use and administer emergency 02 in case of a diving injury, such as decompression illness.

After EFR came to lunch, which was fried rice and was absolutely delicious! As soon as we finished eating, the rain picked up again, so cleanup was done through a little drizzle, but that made it all the more fun! Steve then taught marine biology to everyone, in which everyone learned about coral reefs! Coral reefs are the most diverse ecosystems on earth but are greatly affected by climate change and temperature changes in the oceans. Once that class was over, it was on the next! Some people began to feel a little sleepy, so a much-needed break was taken. Half of the crew had their own dance party in the salon, and the other half went for a quick swim. Both activities were greatly appreciated and needed before we started seamanship! Seamanship today was a blast. We did more chart work, continuing to practice plotting points and figure out our speed made good between the two fixed points. Everyone was focused and is really beginning to understand and be confident in how to use the charts.

Once seamanship ended, it was time for dinner, which consisted of enchiladas, a great meal to end the day. Then we squeezed and had the squeeze question of “what seems small and insignificant, but brings you a lot of joy?” I think it makes people appreciate the little things in life a little more, and you learn about what other small things people really enjoy. Then after dinner came the cake! Ian turned 18 today, so a big cake was baked and topped with plenty of frosting, which is obviously the most important part of a cake. After singing happy birthday and blowing out the candles, the cake was devoured within mere seconds. If only there could be more birthdays on this trip!

The learning hasn’t stopped yet! It is now time for everyone to take their EFR exam, and I am positive everyone is going to pass with flying colors. It has been such a jam-packed day today, and I am sure everyone can’t wait to get a good night’s rest for tomorrow!