Location: Ladder Bay, Saba

As the sun rose over the choppy waters of St. Barthelemy, we awoke to the sounds of seagulls chirping around Gustavia Harbor. As we got ready for the day, various passers-by walked by our docked ship with looks of awe. St. Barts is known for its fleet of dainty white catamarans, so Ocean Star stood out quite nicely as the sleek yet fierce pirate ship. For today’s itinerary, we were to set sail from Gustavia to Ladder Bay, Saba, a Dutch island just north of St. Barts. This time, however, there was a twist. The crew from Firebolt was coming over and swapping places with half of Ocean Star’s crew. They would learn how to sail a proper sailboat, and some of us would get hands-on experience with handling a catamaran. After some deliberation on who would make the switch, I and seven others packed up our bags and headed over to Firebolt to hang out with Aunt Ashley and Captain Kris.

My oh my was there a stark contrast in the sailing experience! For Ocean Star, it normally takes at least two hours for passage prep and then another hour to actually set up the sails. Meanwhile, Firebolt’s passage prep was minimal (we tossed our shoes under the salon’s table and called it a day), and getting the single sail up took a mere ten minutes. With the strenuous task of button-pressing over, we pseudo-Firebolters headed out, waving goodbye to the still-docked Ocean Star.

The passage itself was quite leisurely. Despite Rivers warning me about potential seasickness, I actually managed to survive the trip without any nausea (which was actually a first for me woohoo). On Ocean Star, we have watch teams and take turns at the helm. On Firebolt, we spent maybe five minutes actually thinking Kris was driving the boat. Then we looked up and realized auto-pilot had been initiated. It was a funny surprise, but it was cool to have a new world comparison for our classic old-world Ocean Star sailing. As for me and the rest of the Ocean Star crew, we spent most of our time napping, eating food, napping more, and then eating more food (Oscar even snuck in some sushi). For lunch, Emma, Vida, and Megan made delicious barbecue chicken wraps. There were plenty of leftovers after the meal, so Ryan and I courageously offered our stomachs to polish off the rest of the chicken and rice (for the sake of environmental conservation, of course, we can’t let things go to waste).

We finally arrived at Ladder Bay around two o’clock in the afternoon. As we anchored, Ocean Star was just appearing above the horizon. We decided to go snorkeling until they arrived. Emma and Vida saw a sea turtle, which was cool. I got stung by plankton, which I guess was kinda cool too. An hour later, Ocean Star finally arrived, and Cooper picked us up in Irv, our beloved dinghy. We headed back to Ocean Star, where I am now writing this blog. In my opinion, while Firebolt’s nice and modern, it still ain’t Ocean Star, the god of all sailboats. Let’s be honest. Who cares about button-flush heads. O-Star rocks!