Location: Spanish Point, Barbuda

With calm seas and beautiful skies, it was an excellent start to the day. As I made my way across the deck just before 7 am to wake the crew, I was greeted by the anchor watchman and a few others that were already up and taking in the morning air. I headed down to the salon, where I could already smell breakfast cooking. I was happy to learn from our Head Chef, Caleb, that he was preparing breakfast quesadillas, consisting of scrambled egg, cheese, and salsa. The remainder of the crew were woken up to Maroon 5’s “Moves like Jagger.”

After we all enjoyed our awesome meal and a visit from some dolphins off the stern, everyone kitted up for our morning dive to the local Barbudan reef. Half the group went first while the others caught up on sleep or studied. The dive site was a lovely little reef with some wonderous structures formed from older coral and peppered with young boulder encrusting coral, finger coral, and a wide array of soft coral. Local residents included smooth trunkfish, spotted drum, triggerfish, schooling blue tangs, and many more -ray eels. The group then swapped after the first set of divers returned, and by the time the second group returned from their dive, lunch was ready! Caleb and his two sous chefs, Nick and Graham, had prepared a traditional North American dish of “grilled cheese and tomato soup.” For the few lactose intolerant people on board (my self included), we were treated with avocado toast (one of my favorites).

By the time lunch and clean-up were finished, everyone was pretty keen to head to the beach for some games and exploration. We jumped in the dinghies and were ferried ashore. We were told we would have to jump out into waist-deep water and walk in, and everyone was prepared to get a little wet. And then we hopped into chest-deep water, haha. Once we made it ashore, we began our team-building game, “Magnetic Feet,” which involves the whole group standing in a line and connecting their feet to the person next to them as if they were stuck like magnets. They then had to maneuver the whole group to a goal-line together without the feet leaving each other. They performed beautifully as a team, demonstrating excellent cohesion and cooperation. Once they completed their challenge, the group spent the remainder of their time exploring the beach.

On our trip back to Ocean Star, we had some surprise visitors in the form of some eagle rays swimming through the shallows. Once we were back on board, it was study time for the young crew, preparing for their marine science exam after dinner. Speaking of dinner, the chefs treated us to a scrumptious chicken parmigiana. As I write this, they are busy standing behind me (if they finished their exam) or still trying to remember everything they can about marine invertebrates.

Thanks for your time. I’ve been great.

Ash – Lord Doctor Professor Instructor, professional gaffer