Location: Les Saintes, Guadeloupe
Today marks the day the crew of Ocean Star completed our first full rotation around the job wheel; a revolving diagram hanging in the salon that dictates the responsibilities of each crew member aboard. Daily roles range from skipper, will the privilege to lead the team through the day’s agenda (and write the blog), to “head master”, which despite the honorable title indicates an intimate time spent cramped in the head cleaning toilets and drains. In other words, we have done it all. Tomorrow we will be going on our twentieth day of the voyage, our halfway point, and we have learned quite a lot about our vessel Ocean Star and all her quirks, each other and our individual strengths and weaknesses, as well as ourselves and how we have been challenged and continue to challenge ourselves in this adventurous and invigorating setting. Today was no exception; packed full of eels, anemone, and the wonders of the underwater world. With a delicious pancake breakfast in their stomachs, our newly certified open water divers took a metaphorical and literal giant stride into their advanced navigation dive, swimming out and back and in geometric patterns just below Ocean Star with their compasses in hand. Those already certified in navigation dabbled in the phenomenon of time management; pulling out prime-smelling heaps of laundry, cracking open oceanography texts, and unshelving galley cookbooks to plan for their upcoming days as “head chef.” After a filling Italian pasta salad lunch, the whole crew boarded the dinghies to snorkel a nearby reef and begin gathering data on anemones for our final research projects. Not strictly business however, as I have failed to tell you the goal of the snorkel was also to familiarize ourselves with the site we would be diving later in the night. The chefs whipped up an early dinner of vegetable curry, spectacular in flavor and for it was the first meal, our entire crew (with various dietary restrictions) was able to enjoy as one. Following meal and clean up, the crew scurried in the salon to wrap up our night diving knowledge reviews in anticipation of the glowstick-illuminated adventure to come. Once the sun set over the islands of Guadeloupe, one dive group in front of the next geared up and headed out to the site to explore the ways in which the teeming coral reefs light up after the lights have gone down. A highlight for most was the very last few minutes of the dive, after Annemarie instructed us to turn off our dive lights and sillily wave our limbs about. Before our mask-covered eyes appeared the glow from thousands of bioluminescent organisms. If that was not enough to bring another incredible day to a close, Ian with a steaming plate of hot chocolate waiting for us on deck when we returned sure hit it home. With warm stomachs and the light of Captain Smudge’s “Christmas in July” multicolored lights hanging above, we joined in a “squeeze” under the stars reflecting on our personal valuation of fame, glory, wisdom and love.