Location: St Barth's

I suppose you could say my day as skipper started at 2 am this morning. Stars splattered the sky, phosphorescence bobbed over waves in reply, and Ocean Star’s engine rumbled softly; it was a night passage, and Watch Team 1 had commanded. We listened to Kelly Clarkson and Guns ‘n Roses, we discussed extraterrestrial life, and we ate chocolate biscuits. Best of all, at 4:55, we bid each other good night and went back to bed.

By the time we awoke at 8:30, we had emerged on deck to the full heat of the sun, and all the sails were already lowered and covered. St Barth’s loomed before us. Amy and I hopped into the dingy and dashed to shore to check for dock availability. We received a standing ovation from the students upon our return to Ocean Star, which had been standing off further out. We chose to believe it was due to our excellent dingy driving skills rather than the thumbs-up announcing we would be able to go on the dock. I explained to the student’s St Barth’s reputation as the yachting Mecca of the Caribbean and our need to fit in with the luxury sail and motor yachts around us. As we made our way down the channel, students scurried to put on classy clothing (shirts and shorts) and to tidy the last few things on deck. The students made me proud as they dropped our bow anchor and threw dock lines as we reversed up to the dock, all with calm movements and hand signals, so different from our usual boisterous goofy selves. The chief mate of our neighboring motor yacht looked relaxed despite our close proximity. That’s when you know you look good.

A rapid-fire Boat Appreciation followed our docking, as sheets were stripped from beds, floors were scrubbed, and the top-sides washed down. By the time I got back from clearing us in at customs, you never would have guessed 18 people had been living on it for 60 days. We clean up well. Our various early morning breakfast times had left our stomachs growling by 1100, so the chef’s lunch of chickpea salad and roasted vegetables and fresh baguettes was a welcome sight. We have been having a seamanship marathon of sorts lately, so after lunch, we gathered down below for our daily Navigation Master session. Today we learned how to find our estimated position. Knowing our starting location, course, speed, and the time underway, we had already learned how to calculate our new position after a given amount of time. Adding the direction and speed of current today, we learned to add this vector to the end of our dead reckoning position, incorporating the effects of current on our final (estimated) position.

The shore heads shut at 1600, so we sped off to take showers before coming back to Ocean Star for a late afternoon of finishing Fish ID Logbooks and studying for tonight’s oceanography quiz. As the sunset behind the other side of the bay, we rolled up tarps and set up tables on the deck. We feasted on pesto chicken pasta and caramelized pineapple. For logistical reasons, we had a double squeeze tonight: “What is your favorite activity that we’ve done on this trip?” and “What is something you were intimidated by before or at the start of the trip that you are now completely comfortable with?” As I sit here writing this blog and listening to RandB covers, the students sit in oceanography listening to student presentations.

Well, that’s all the news from Ocean Star, where the bowsprit is strong, the flaked sails are good looking, and all the shipmates are above average.
Till next time,

p.s. Maman, Daddy, and Helene miss you and can’t wait to get to show you around some of my stomping grounds soon 🙂

Pictured: Kennedy and Jill scrubbing and drying the chart house floor; Jade and Miranda doing some solo charting; Matt and Ridge working hard to solve their practice problems; Jill, Brit, Joesph, and Steffen working with their chart; Eli, Kaiden, and Kennedy also working hard; Joseph relaxing in the hammock after showers; Jill doing some homework on deck; Jon, Amy, and Amanda returning from a quick stretch break/snack run.