Location: Tobago Cays

This morning was like no other. The excitement for the day, being in a new and beautiful place, and the number of sea turtles I knew would need to take their morning breaths got me out of my bunk at the ripe hour of 0500. The sunrise was something out of a painting, rising over the beautiful Pirates of the Caribbean Island of Petit Tabac. To wake the slumbering crew, none other than Dominic the Donkey (the Italian Christmas Donkey) was heehawing around the corridors, followed by Feliz Navidad and the Chanauka song. During breakfast, we had approximately 10 sea turtles pop up to listen to the British Virgin Islands National Anthem, the Mary Poppins soundtrack, and to even it all out, the Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack. While the students got to hang out with Sam for an oceanography review session, Brahm, Lolo, and I decided to check the swim area for….safety reasons (aka we wanted to snorkel with sea turtles). IT DID NOT DISAPPOINT. Think of the coolest sea-life ever, okay you don’t have to guess I’ll tell you. First thing as soon as we put our faces in the water, BAM sea turtle with 3 trunkfish! If you don’t know, which most of you won’t, my absolute favorite thing ever in the entire world are turtles, a close second…you guessed it, trunkfishwhat a morning. There was also a ton of spiny lobster, tiny spotted moray eels, juvenile spotted drum, nurse shark, a squadron of reef squid, cushion sea stars, and so much more. The students had a similar experience after their review session, but they also had a ray join them on their quest for reef life.

We also introduced the concept of a student-led passage up to Antigua, which is exactly what it sounds like. We get 4 students to take on the role of skipper, chief mate, navigator, and engineer to lead this ragtag bunch’o’Argonauts to our final stop. So we set up a Goblet of Fire (if you don’t know what that is, go watch Harry Potter 1-4) to get entries for each position. The entire day had a soundtrack of epic proportions. At lunch, we had some Mongolian throat singing, the Haka, Star Wars, Avengers, and some Viking war music. I have felt it necessary to make sure clean up had everyone bopping to Disney and 80’s smash hits. After lunch, the oceanography final exam was taken, followed by EFR (emergency first responder) training. Instead of our normal squeeze, we did a leadership squeeze mashup called squeadership. Tim and I hand-picked several dozen rocks off Petit Bateau (the beach right next to us) earlier in the day. Then everyone chose 2 rocks, one they wanted to keep and one they wanted to throw overboard. Each symbolized something different; the one to throw overboard was something we learned about ourselves that we want to leave behind. The other rock was something we learned about ourselves but wanted to continue post-trip. Overall it was a very symbolic gesture that I ended with a stargaze and a quote from a friend, “These mountains you are carrying, you were only supposed to climb.”

1. Sam excited about the turtles
2. EFR training with Lolo
3. Brahm in his natural habitat pumping scuba tanks
4. Julie (aka competent Julie) taking a well-deserved bowsprit nap
5. Avery excited about Dominic, the Donkey
6. THE Goblet of Fire
7. Adinski and a TURTLE
8. Avery happy about Dominic, the Italian Turtle
9. Sophia and a turtley awesome friend
10. Wy-guy and his best pal