Location: Princess Margaret Bay, Bequia
“I’m a woman.
That’s me”- Maya Angelou
Although I anticipated for twenty days writing a lengthy, poetic blog post, as per my skipper duties I must disappoint you with a sparse summary of the day.
I am so tired my eyelids fall close on their own. I must study for our oceanography exam tomorrow morning and complete my marine biology logbook, as well as assist in putting away provisions in the galley. My computer is broken, and as I write, multi-colored bars flash and thicken on the left side of my screen. The lines appear to be encroaching to the right side, but maybe I am just being paranoid.
But to focus on the task at hand:
I am reaching into the depths of my memory in order to describe this morning to you. Our day was a journey, and breakfast is but a dim recollection.
We started out in our quiet anchorage in Bequia, sipping coffee and tea on top of the chart-house. Our head chef, Kiki, prepared scrambled eggs and sausage that he labored over for two hours, drinking Hot Cocoa and fretting.
Marine Biology was like a lullaby; we reclined on the saloons bench, serenaded by Heathers vast knowledge of Nematoda and Annelida.
After class, we clamored up the companionway to the sweltering heat of the day and the sweltering tasks that awaited us as we prepared to deep clean the Ocean Star.
International Womans Day aligned with Ocean Stars Boat Appreciation Day. Scrubbing rust off the scuppers as the sun poured down my neck, I reflected on the symmetry of these two occasions; Boat Appreciation Day is about taking care of our Ship, selflessly committing yourself to caregiving a vessel that has carried us through the roughest of seas, and supports our daily functions. These traits of nurturing and selflessness are often attributed to women.
Compared to the last Boat Appreciation Day, I believe the crew treated the Ocean Star with much more compassion and effort as they completed their various tasks.
Doran, Casey, and Griffin spent hours siphoning water from the Anchor Bilge, their skin suffusing the mustiest, putrid scent you could imagine.
Sara organized our Galleys cupboards, scraping sticky substances of dubious origins from every surface Grace scrubbed down the Saloon Ben requests especially to clean the head, ensuring it is up to his standards – Lulu and Kylie raged war against the weevils that had claimed their territory in Kylies bunk. Everyone had the chance to change their salt-stained, sand-encrusted sheets and refold their laundry. Pleasant, bleach-tinted smells began to fill the ship.
In between, a man named Willy arrives in no complain a small, wooden boat thats sheet is composed of a bedsheet, and boom, Willys arms. Willy spreads out a menagerie of earrings, pendants, and carvings, all composed of whale bones.
Mid-afternoon, we jumped into the sea to wash the dirt and cleaning supplies from our bodies. We dry out in the sun, too tired even for words.
Heather returns with bags of provisions. Nutella, ginger biscuits, chips, yogurt, and zucchini are squirreled away into various parts of the fridge and cupboards.
For supper, we eat Kikis lentil-noodle soup, which somewhat resembles bilge water but tasted delicious. We savor the flavors of onions and bacon as we start squeeze, in which I ask a question (who is the most inspirational woman in your life see below) and everyone takes turns responding.
At present, post clean up, I am distracted by two members of our crew who are bickering over who had the after-dinner right to head the one intending to take their coveted freshwater shower (available only to the person that cleaned the head that day) or the one who needed to relieve themselves for 20 minutes. As the words fly past my bunk (adjacent to the Head) through the walls, I can also hear a kafuffle in the kitchen as someone discovers a heap of flour in the baking cabinet. Living onboard the Ocean Star is messy, imperfect, and chaotic but amidst it, all is a beauty that, even now as I move my writing room to the upper decks to gaze upon the full moon sustains us.
Ocean Star’s Most Inspirational Women:
Ben: My mum, who is compassionate, and sister, who is driven and a very good person
Julia: My mum, who has gotten me through hard times. I look up to her
David: My mum, who helps me out a lot
Jack: Amelia Earhart for reaching the sky, my mum for being a great baker, my grandma who started her own business, my other grandma
Eva: My mum, who has had a crazy life. I am proud of everything she has accomplished. She is an immigrant with many graduate degrees. She has inspired me to do anything in my life. Also, my boyfriends mum
Grace: My mum, also my soccer coach named Martha. She is very cool
Katie: My mum, who has done a lot, and always rolls with the punches. Also, my aunt. She is fantastic and 80 years old, and traveled the world. Also, my grandma.
Lulu: My mum and older sister, also the two amazing women that lead us every day (Heather and Sam)
Kylie: My mum and aunt, both single mothers and the strongest people I know
Griffin: My mother, I love her. She is awesome. Also, my grandma has done some cool stuff.
Ash: Sam, who I look up to. Also, Smash the chief mate on Vela. Also, Julie, who traveled on most places people are too scared to travel.
Heather: My mum, who is my best friend in the entire world. Although she has gone through some hard things, she focuses on things that make her happy and finds joy and light in every situation.
Nick: My grandmother, who passed away this year. She was an ambulance driver and an elementary school nurse and had four children
ML: My mum and my grandma
Casey: My momma, who is very cool and determined. Also, my nana, who is the most loving. Also, my boss who is the best boss and works harder than everyone else, and knows how to inspire people. Also, my great aunt Lauri, who filled up a room
Sam: My mum, who is my greatest influence. I look up to her. She is a powerhouse. She worked hard so my sister and I could have so many opportunities.
Doran: My 95-year-old grandma who survived nine months in Auschwitz
Kiki: My mum, who loves to take care of me, and my sister, Mia, who follows her own dreams.
Sara: My grandma