Location: Statia

I had planned to give the crew a more gentle wake up this morning, but the sound system auto-played a heavy metal song by accident, so I decided at that point that I may as well play “Who let the dogs out” and bark at them. We had a nice breakfast of banana bread before the crew split up for the morning. The majority went hiking up the nearby mountain to look at the crater while the rest of us stayed behind to get some of our assignments knocked out. The hikers got back just in time for lunch, after which we had our “Challenge Course” for the leadership class. The first challenge was to arrange us by number, then by age. This would have been easier if we were allowed to talk and were not blindfolded for the exercise. We got it done eventually, after some blind slapping and jabbing between the guys. The next challenge was the classic “Human Knot” exercise, with a twist. I’d done this plenty of times in the past, everyone takes the hands of someone not next to them and then attempts to “untie” themselves to form a circle. I had never done it in the water before; it went well apart from a few people getting squished. The third challenge was to fit all 10 of us into some kind of floatation device, a task we eventually decided was not physically possible.

The final challenge was to take whatever floating objects we could find and make a life raft that all of us could fit comfortably in. We all needed to be “inside” or on top of the vessel, and we needed to be capable of sleeping without the threat of being washed off. With those design requirements in mind, we succeeded, more or less, in making a decent raft. We thought we had just about finished with our challenge course when Ian came along and handed us two oars and said that we needed to prove its seaworthiness with a paddle around Ocean Star. Through the power of stubbornness, we were able to paddle/spastically swim the raft around the boat. We took the rest of the afternoon to get some more schoolwork done, and also to get some lovely fresh sheets on our beds (thank the gods). We had a hearty meal of veggie burgers to prepare for our quiz in the evening. All in all, it was a pleasant day; we all are taking advantage of our time here as the days continue to rapidly countdown. We plan to have as much fun as we can all the way until we are on the cab rides to our various airports.