Location: Nevis

Wake-up calls began bright and early at 7 a.m, which I may add was a little difficult for some because we were allotted our first night out last night in Nevis. Our evening entailed visiting a cozy local bar on the beach called Chevis. I was given the chance to take a quick swim as we unloaded everyone from the dingy on the beach because I wasn’t paying attention and lost my footing while trying to exit. One of the bartenders gladly took me out back to hose me off and get rid of the salt and sand covering me. Luckily the bar was outdoors, and I was still allowed to come in. Everyone behaved beautifully, and we had a mad karaoke contest between staff and crew that left us all in hysterical stitches. We had a quick banana bread and melon slice breakfast, and a little after eight o’clock, we began shuttles to shore with our cherished dinghies, Irving and Exy. The crew and staff had an eight-thirty taxi appointment, and Captain Eric stayed behind to prepare the Ocean Star for passage, dealing with customs. The taxi took the rest of us to the other side of the mountain and up to the starting point of the first hike of our 20-day expedition. We were hiking the Source Mountain, and the trail took us up through the rain forest that ended at an amazing waterfall and sketchy ladder that apparently went up a cliff to an enchanting view of life below. The waterfall was said to be the only freshwater source for the whole island, thus its name. I, however, opted out of climbing the leaning, wooden ladder, even though I promised a fellow mate I would. The disappointment in his eyes and voice were hard to take, but I certainly was not going to let that heighten my chances of breaking my neck. During the hike, we saw goats, a couple of sheep, pigs, monkeys, small dogs, and three local men that were stationed in different areas of the trails; two holding machetes and just watching us walk by with semi-friendly head nods, of whom my group greeted, but quickly continued passing just in case, and one fellow weed-whacking the trail. The trail was super muddy and long, but my group made it up and down safely, regardless of how incredibly dirty we were upon reaching our forming starting point. The crew and staff had the option to take a taxi back to town for lunch or staying at the start point, which was a lavish island inn called the Golden Rock Cafe and Inn, and have lunch there. I had lunch at the inn, which one of my trail partners graciously paid for since I left my wallet back on the Ocean Star *shakes head at self.* After lunch, everyone had a chance to run around in town for shore time until four-thirty pm while the advanced open water dive group had to be back on the boat to meet with a resident marine expert and divemaster staff member, Casey, for a navigation practice dive. I am studying with the advanced water team also, and so once we reached our boat, we had a little academic session and then suited up in our gear. Once in the water, I had a bit of a meltdown concerning the strong current and was terrified I would be swept away, especially since our thousand-mile hike had left my puny muscles too exhausted. With great patience, Casey talked me down and assured me that once I got down a few feet, the current power would lessen, and I would be fine. He was right, and after many large breaths of tank air, I relaxed, and my meltdown was terminated. My dive buddy and I did fine and got underwater high fives from Casey. As we surfaced, the ship was in a ruckus because our two chefs for the day forgot about dinner and started it 45 minutes late, making our schedule off by 20 minutes. As the chefs frantically tried to throw something together, we had our first jellyfish stings of two crew members while swimming. But not to worry; Casey ran to their rescue, and they are feeling quite well. Power for the core. We finished dinner and cleaned up the deck in a timely fashion and then began to prepare the ship for her night passage to our next destination, which is about seven hours away. MTE class was canceled for the evening to allow for rest time before we take off and begin our night watches. Until tomorrow, Mateys!