Location: Terre de Haut, Les Saintes

The morning was an early one for most of us, with a 0530 wake-up call. I went around, waking people in the dark, whispering before the sun crested the horizon, and searching the bunks for a human shoulder or leg. Why? Love the question (almost as much as a double ristretto(side note I have never actually had a ristretto let alone a double)). We were embarking on an adventure to the top of the camel’s hump (known in this land as ‘Le Chameau’). A beautiful morning hike to a scenic overlook of town and the anchorage. As I was standing at the top, peacefully minding my morning snack, Skyler saw a boat entering the harbour and asked if it was the same size as Vela. I know you weren’t there, but oh my, how could she be so wrong! Despite my ineptitude at measuring (ask Moore the welder, Krisp about Ocean Stars crane-sized hook, or my brother), it was obvious this boat was AT LEAST 4x the size of the good ship Vela. As it moved closer and closer, she realized her mistake, and we laughed it off as more and more friends found our spot behind the rocks. We had a lovely breakfast of a packed muffin and fruit before making our way back down the camel’s hump. The students went into town, which I can only imagine was filled with pastries, gelato, crepes, and other French things. However, on the boat, we accomplished task after task, including program planning, cleaning the anchor locker, replacing lights, and searching for a solution to the main engine alternator. After a few hours wandering around, the students returned to the boat, as did Stephanie, Drew, and Allie, with a mound of groceries for the next few days. The already certified divers went on a navigation dive, where they navigated a square underwater and used the natural environment as a guide. Once they completed their navigation mission, some of the open-water divers hopped in for their final certifying dives (congrats to the world’s newest divers, Gabby and Morana)! After diving, the first student head chef, Ted, made a delicious meal with Sammy and Carla. A swift clean-up meant that Oceanography could happen!

As day nine came and went, we realized how lucky we were to be dropped off at 6 am to go find a hike up to an old fort, to spend the day in a new country, to eat pastries on a beach, to find the best ice cream in the Caribbean islands, but to also find 30 other people that want to explore, love the ocean, and are probably the weirdest you could make friends with. We keep dead fish in jars and collect other people’s belly button lint (wait, is that just me? I mean, it’s not that weird; I think it is pretty cool, actually, plus Alastair Bisley will probably know whose belly button collects the most lint). We make tiny line barricades, so people don’t touch our epoxy. We throw water at each other as we try to get on the dinghy. We measure who in the staff team has the biggest head and who has the smallest (take a guess…I’ll tell you in 30 days when I am skipper again) using none other than a sail tie. We find a moment to make a valentine from dumpster girl. Or play chess under a line of drying grocery bags. Whatever we do, it is hard to find a moment in the day where we aren’t thankful for the strange/unique/crazy things we find ourselves doing.

For reference, the first photo is of the LARGE boat Skyler thought was as big as Vela, sheesh.