Location: Petit Piton, St. Lucia

Today dawned cool and clear under the shadow of Petit Piton, the massive peak we are moored next to. This is my favorite mooring spot of the whole trip because of how unique the setting is. Students were awoken with soft tunes of Ed Sheeran, ever-increasing in rhythm and volume to Shakira. Everyone was fairly up and at ’em this morning, especially the chefs who had been working hard in the galley since 6 am. We swiftly rubbed the sleep from our eyes, brushed our teeth, and made it on deck to eat a hearty breakfast of bacon, eggs, and toast and to pack our lunches for the day. Instead of the standard sandwiches, the chefs had whipped up the Mediterranean inspired packed lunch of pitas, hummus, grilled halloumi, crispy chickpeas, and fresh vegetables. A few stuck with the standard PBandJ (on their pitas), but many people were excited about something a bit different in their standard issue lunch Tupperware. Soon it was time for dinghy rides to the beach. The students have gotten a lot better at quickly dismounting at the beach, and our “wet” entry in the dinghy was very smooth. Steve and I stayed on board for the day, while Sasha and Lolo accompanied the group for their “spa day.” It was a quiet day of little dialogue onboard, as Steve and I worked most of the day in the engine room and chart house, respectively.

I’m not exaggerating (much) to say that the excursion today was a spa day. The day began with a trip to the “world’s only drive-in volcano,” which included a short visit to a museum about the volcano, a view of the hot, bubbling sulfur pits, and a little walking tour. Afterward, the students visited some warm mud pits where they got to soak their troubles away and then slather themselves with volcanic mud to soothe and exfoliate their skin. After a nice soak and scrub and rinse, they went to the botanical gardens to see beautiful flora and fauna, including birds of paradise plants, cashew trees, and big chunky caterpillars. The guide, Alexander “the Great” was very entertaining and had lots of information and stories about almost every plant in the gardens. From there, the students went to the final spot, which was the Diamond Pools. Pretty waterfalls of warm water fell down into a series of pools where you could soak and swim.

When everyone had turned into raisins, it was time to head back to the beach and get back on board Ocean Star. Once on board, we had an Oceanography class where we started our physical oceanography unit. We started learning about the Coriolis effect and how it leads to all of the world’s major winds and currents. After the class was done, the students had time to work on homework and relax a bit. Many people enjoyed the beautiful scenery around us and did some studying on deck. Dinner was served to smiles all around. We had pork fajitas to rival Chipotle’s carnitas, according to some. Kenz and her sous chefs Tye and Lolo really outdid themselves today. To end squeeze, we played a game of Pterodactyl. It’s a very silly, very fun game where you basically try to make each other laugh in order to get out. We didn’t make it to the last person standing, though, because we had five unbreakables that wouldn’t crack no matter how many times we went around the circle. With our cheeks sore, we went about cleanup to tidy up our home. It’s a free evening tonight, and people are spending it by doing homework, playing games, and getting a good night’s sleep in preparation for our Advanced Open Water deep dive in the morning!

The crew enjoying some relaxation at the mud baths
Petit Piton in the morning light
The steaming caldera of the volcano
Group photo in the “drive-in” volcano
Matthew, Olivia, Holly, Kyle, and Kasey at the mud baths
The group visiting the Botanical Gardens
Various flora and fauna of the gardens
Group photo at the hot springs
Tye and Kasey getting some work done before dinner
Faith, Matthew, and Matt doing homework on deck
Sunset under the Piton