Location: Petit Piton, St Lucia

Our Covid tests were returned negative we’re now set to enter the new island nation of Dominica in a couple of days. For now, though, there’s no need to hang around the busy Rodney Bay area. Adelaide showed a film docco for oceanography this morning, Salmon Confidential, on how commercial salmon operations in British Columbia are spreading diseases to naturally occurring salmon populations in nearby riverine habitats. A sobering realization showing the importance of sustainable management of food resources. This tied in well with Ash’s leadership class, where the discussion was how we could all be more environmentally friendly, especially regarding food waste and consumables. Meanwhile, Adelaide, myself, and Steve weighed anchor to begin the short hop down the coast to the SMMA mooring. Along the way, Mike served his incredible honey mustard chicken salad a new favorite. A spontaneous shower, however, sent the crew scurrying below with shrieks of laughter to save their salads from being soaked and blown out of their bowls. The rain cleared as quickly as it had appeared, and I was left in the cockpit with Ash and Kiara, who explained the intricacies of becoming a snowboard instructor. All three of us resolved to, at some point in our lives, work on a ski slope. We laughed at the irony, as our current vocations are about as far from it as you could possibly get!

Once safely on the mooring by mid-afternoon, the oceanography research groups split up and began hopping in for a data collection snorkel on the nearby reef. Incredibly, the current depth below the boat is 45m. Only 30m away to starboard is the steep, rocky shoreline with a plethora of marine organisms worth noting for the data collection. Reaching towards the heavens from this rugged palm-lined shore is the towering hulk of Petit Piton, one of two Piton mounts that rise dramatically out of the Caribbean Sea to 800m on the southwestern corner of St Lucia. Mike and his chefs, Luke and Isabel L., wrapped up the sustenance game with a strong finish homemade bread, having risen overnight, and tomato pasta decorated with that stunning honey mustard. Squeeze asked us to imagine ourselves as elderly versions of ourselves what piece of mad wisdom/advice would we share with the “kids these days?” My grandfather told me never to accept any “wooden nickels,” so naturally, I passed this on and then added that the real world is around us, so keep your eyes up to see it.

The stars are out now, a welcome change from the oppressive shroud of cloud cover which has loomed over us for the past couple of weeks. A large dark hole is punched in the glistening ceiling by the monstrous Piton, and Ocean Star and crew nestle neatly in below for protection like a chick under a hen.