Location: Gustavia, St Barths

Today I went on an extra special adventure to get propane from St Maarten or Saint Maritn, depending on whether you are bonjour or gutentagg inclined. I set off with three empty tanks on the 8 o’clock ferry after getting heavily caffeinated at the local French bakery. It was a bumpy ride to the island but very satisfying. After an unexpected customs experience, I met a lovely man in a bright yellow shirt who helped me to find the most efficient place to get propane from. We researched the best way to get this sweet gaseous nectar… in her majesty’s kingdom, we call it GAS, as it is a gaseous liquid when used. As opposed to the LIQUID that Americans specify when buying petrol (GAS). After a quick traffic jam, I jumped into a taxi.

The taxi man seemed like a nautical guy as I saw him communicating with a VHF radio. This is a type of radio which we use onboard for communications at sea, and one of the courses and qualifications that students get after some questionable communication with other taxis. He promptly drove me away, leaving the VHF radio on a wall next to the ferry dock. We drove to the other side of the island stopping at two unsuccessful propane stops on the way. he told me all about the monkeys and wildlife on the island.

We got to the propane stop, where I spoke to a blacked-out glass wall to order, sort of as if you were in an interview room with the local police. They told me the truck should be here in one hour of island time. Three hours later, the truck appeared. I have never seen such efficiency at filling gas bottles; the crew seemed like such a machine they would even throw or roll the bottles to one another. After this extra quick filling, I called for the amazing taxi man who took me to the refill place. I banged my leg really hard on the gas cylinder, but I guess that is why they call it pro-pain.

On our journey back, we had a minor delay as a craterous pothole burst the tire of the taxi. The taxi guy said he had a spare, and as he seemed to have no idea how to change the tire, I helped him. While I was changing the tire, he told me about his garden, where he grew papaya, avocados, and other fruits. The local monkeys made an appearance while this was happening. He threw rocks at them because of how much they had pillaged his garden. We finally got the tire on, and he drove me back to the ferry dock.

It was a wild journey back, but I was very happy to be greeted by fantastic food cooked by head chef Ryan.

Meanwhile, back at Ocean Star, the crew was up to some fun. Straight away after their breakfast of french toast, they headed to Lorient beach for some surfing. They spent the morning catching some waves under the sun, which went very successfully. Even first-time surfers stood up on their boards by the end. Afterward, they grabbed burgers and smoothies before heading back to the boat. Once back on board, the students got to start the heavily anticipated rescue diver course and watched the rescue video, which is quite literally a cinematic masterpiece set to world-class music. Then it was time for some marine biology, where they learned about all the fish in the sea. For dinner, we were treated to spinach pies by Ryan, which were absolutely delicious, if I do say so myself.

Hi Karen, Hi Clive, Hi Skye – from Steph because Drew doesn’t want to say hi

Photo 1: The view from Lorient beach
Photo 2: Clinic squad
Photo 3-6: Pre-surf explore
Photo 7-13: Surf practice
Photo 14: Waring protected from the sun
Photo 15-24: Post-surfing views and activities