Location: Dominca, Portsmouth
The wake-up this morning was bittersweet. Everyone woke up to the sound and smell of bacon sizzling in the pan. However, in order to go eat that bacon, everyone had to get out of bed and work those stiff muscles from yesterday’s hike! Today was a day of science. First thing after breakfast, we had the final chemical oceanography class. We then prepared the ship for departure to Portsmouth on the other side of Dominica. During this two and a half motor passage, we had MTE class and then tried our hand at whale watching. We either are not very good at whale watching, or there were no whales. I suspect the latter. After dropping anchor in Portsmouth bay, we prepared to do an oceanography lab in the nearby Indian River. A couple of locals came by to be our guides on the river. We diligently took our water sample at eight different locations on the river, testing for salinity and temperature at different depths. We were done in no time! Our guides then took us deeper down the river while discussing some of the histories of the immediate area and showing some of the wildlife. Before the river became too shallow to continue, we had a nice respite at a little riverside bar. Everyone enjoyed some fruit punch or passion fruit juice and the musings of a local artist who made jewelry from coconut shells. He told us in his Dominican accent, “The coconut is like Mother Earth. You get the water from it, and then you get food from it, and then you get art from it.” After making our way back to Ocean Star, we had some free time to relax and study up for the chemical oceanography quiz after dinner. Our chefs made us a nice dinner of rice and beans and hotdogs and cornbread. To top the day off, we had another oceanography class that came with the anticipated chemistry quiz. It was a lot of science today, but no one complained about exercising our brains after the exercise of our muscles yesterday!