Location: Antigua

Anticipating our final movement of the semester onto the dock, my internal alarm clock woke me up at 5 am. I’ve learned from experience, though, that 5 am wake-ups because Carolyn is lonely and is not warmly welcomed, so I held off. At 6:59, I walked up to the fo’c’s’le and pressed play on my music. As Jack Johnson’s melodious voice drifted down the ladder, I saw a knee stir and a hand push some hair out of eyes. I moved on to the Salon bunks. Nate and Amy joined in with Jack Johnson as they flipped pancakes and sizzled bacon. It was going to be a good day.

As soon as regular breakfast clean-up was done, messy BA part 2 commenced. The now dry lifejackets from yesterday’s clean were packed, and dive gear stowed. Ridge, Joseph, Brit, and Jon cleaned out deck boxes and polished brass. Kennedy, Miranda, Matthew, Jade, Josh, and Kaiden began emptying bilges and sorting out the library. Eli and Amanda excavated the Tupperware jungle in the void. Matt cleaned the heads until they sparkled. I snuck off to check that the marina where we planned to dock knew where to put us. The Caribbean season is in full swing, and the superyacht charter show is in town, so docking is scarce.

Once we got the go-ahead from the dock, we raised anchor and made our final motor over to English Harbour, passing the Pillars of Hercules the students would hike later in the day. With all the superyachts poking out into the channel, sailboats with anchors off their bow, a sea survival swim class, and gusty wind, getting the boat into position and backed up to the dock was no easy feat. But wow, what a difference 78 days makes. Our anchor team knew exactly when to drop it and how quickly to let chain payout. Our bow thruster (Amy and Jill in a dingy) knew exactly where to position themselves. Steff and Matt expertly threw our stern lines to Miranda standing ready to get them on a dock cleat. Jade quickly pulled in the excess slack.

Secured to the dock, we continued BA. Every bilge, every cupboard, every shelf was emptied, scrubbed like crazy, and neatly repacked. Sometimes things have to get a lot messier before they can get clean. Exhausted and covered in grime but joking around as always, the students followed Amy and Amanda across Galleon Beach and up the goat track to the Mermaid Pools. These huge tidal pools lie surrounded by cliffs and low enough that water constantly flows in and out. Tiny sergeant majors swim around, nibbling on your feet if you sit still enough. Exploring the various pools and marine life within, the students watched the sun get low on the horizon and then set into the ocean.

A late dinner of chicken parm and the surprise visit of a former Ocean Star student brought back everyone’s energy and the usual hilarity. Tonight for squeeze, I asked everyone to tell us about something they had learned about themselves this semester that they didn’t want to forget when they went back home. Answers ranged from “I enjoy being out of my comfort zone far more than I realized” and “I just don’t need as much stuff as I thought I did” to “I’m not dumb, I’m smart and can do well in school.” With back onboard time set to 22:30, everyone wandered off to finish their cards to each other or quickly grab some wifi.

Thank you all for your loyal readership. It’s been such an amazing semester, and all you parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles out there, you should be very proud of your children. They really are exceptional.
All the best,