Location: Portsmouth, Dominica

Last night we had our inaugural Carib swim, the first of many. Then, in the morning, despite a late wake-up, many jumps were met with the warm splash of the blue Caribbean waters. I started off the morning with a watch team 1 song of choice, lip addiction, and we rolled right into a pancake breakfast. Maya brought out some sweetened condensed milk, which might have been the best pancakes Ive ever had. With full bellies and sugar-coated mouths, we headed into our oceanography review and class. It was a mildly terrifying one as we found out there are no laws in the deep sea, and you could murder someone. Hendo had too many questions for my liking.
After the review was the start of boat appreciation, she is truly a masterpiece. Only as we were peacefully polishing did I realize this 120 ft floating haven carried us across time zones and a whole ocean. This BA meant more than just scrubbing the deck. We have such a deep love, trust, and connection to Vela that Im dreading looking up and seeing the repetitive nature of my ceiling fan rather than the Milky Way conquering the night sky. During BA, I got to rinse and flake the jib and FJ with Jimmy, and it was so much fun! I then went into polishing with Mia and Maya. The sterling silver began to glisten in the hot Caribbean sun, and we decided it was time for a long overdue break. We threw our wax on and off rags to the side and sprinted to the bow sprit. Mia and Maya decided to send their first backflips, and I tried to instill confidence by showing them my own, but I flopped horribly. Maybe my red stinging ribs were just what they needed, though, as Mia leaned back and flew beautifully heels over her head. It took a little longer for Maya to do the same, but in good time she did the same. Hers is not as graceful.
After this much-needed break and boost in courage, we finished up BA. We then departed our newly shining boat to step foot on land for the first time in 18 days. We scrambled off Angkarn onto the dock, then sprinted onto the sandy beach of Dominica. The sand felt incredible and smooth on the bottoms of our raw feet. As we got used to walking again without swaying, we explored the town. Eventually, Julia, Mia, Maya, Anna, Wilks, and I found a bbq place right next to a reggae bar. We order bbq turkey, wings, breadfruit, plantains, and other dishes. After eating lots of dried beans and lentils for days, it was salivating. We wolfed down the juicy meat while the disco lights and reggae surrounded our atmosphere. It was incredible, to say the least. After washing up a bit, we danced with the locals. They had some interesting moves, and one could create a whole orchestra of sounds from his mouth. Anna tried to recreate the same clapping drum noise, and it was almost on par. After our fill of dancing, we journeyed outside to make our curfew but were met by doc Anthony. He gave us all free physicals, and Wilks got some tea leaves from Arthur. Maya and I were on the first shuttle back to the boat and immediately jumped in to shower. The stars were shining just enough to see Vela and the surrounding town.
It makes me sad that there are less than two weeks left. Being in the water puts into perspective how serene and unique this experience is. The rest of my friends are struggling through finals right now in the crisp winter air while were constantly in bikinis and spending our free time swimming. After our shower, we relaxed on the couch with its new fresh sheetsthe end to a perfect first day on land.