Location: Nevis

We were all feeling a bit sleepy this morning after being out to the wee hour of 22:30 last night. We’d enjoyed a Caribbean meal of snapper, chicken, plantains, eggplant, rice and beans, salad, and fruit punch (and a bit of extremely hot sauce) at picnic tables in the sand outside Sunshines. This famous beach bar, plastered with photos of celebrities visiting the joint, had technically closed for the season but was opened up special for our group. After our meal, we sat around the bonfire and socialized, watching Ocean Star’s anchor light gently swaying over the black water in front of us. Though we were tired this morning (and a little sore from yesterday’s biking and horse riding adventures), we were ready for the day after our French toast breakfast. Shipmates began the morning with a diving navigation lesson from Matty and then jumped in the water with Matty and Kris to practice their compass and navigation skills. I sat surface watching their bubbles and trying to guess which skills they were working on–counting fin-kick cycles, swimming a reciprocal heading or making a square. Most of the divers have now completed three of their five dives toward their Advanced Open Water certification, and are looking forward to their night dive in a few days. Since the shipmates were underwater, Monika filled in as chef, baking a huge vegetable quiche for lunch. Monika’s introductory Student Leadership Development class had the shipmates writing letters to their future selves–the people that they will be at the end of this 80-day adventure. Following the class, we headed to shore. While I was hanging out at the petroleum storage facility watching gasoline come off a tanker ship as I waited for our propane tank to be refilled (an entertaining activity for a chemist), shipmates were eating conch fritters and ice cream, relaxing, and going for runs. We all cooled down with a swim and a rugby catch session in the sea, looking up at the cloud-covered volcano towering above us and the sun setting behind us. Nick and I ended the day with Marine Biology and Oceanography lessons on fish identification and bathymetry. Tomorrow’s plan: say goodbye to Nevis and sail away to the land of baguettes and brie. Catch us next in Les Saintes!