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Location: English Harbour, Antigua

The crew of Ocean Star awoke this morning with the sounds of the steel drums still ringing in their ears and feet a little sore from last nights dance party up at Shirley Heights. Luckily, our chefs prepared a delicious breakfast to get us ready for our exciting excursion this morning. We enjoyed a quick taxi ride around to the eastern side of the island to “Stingray City”. We were welcomed by beautiful parrots and lovebirds as we awaited our instructions from the stingray “wranglers”. After we were all properly educated on how to hold, feed and swim with these magnificent creatures, we quickly boarded the boats to head out to a shallow reef where our new friends were waiting. Through the clear blue waters, we could see the brown silhouettes of 30 southern stingrays (Dasyatis Americana) waiting. We carefully entered the water and “stingray-shuffled” over to the feeding area. Everyone had the opportunity to feed and hold (basically hug) the stingrays. Squeals and giggles could be heard through the snorkels of all the crew (yes, even the boys) as the slippery, soft bodies glided past or gave a surprising nudge. We spent an hour watching and swimming with these beautiful creatures before we were told it was time to head back to land. Once we arrived back onboard Ocean Star, students headed out to explore English and Falmouth Harbors in search of lunch and souvenirs. Basic Seamanship (PEN) class was held on the Slipway dockyard, a working dockyard. Students wandered the yard with Eric examining different hulls, keels, rigs and boats. Dinner was soon served up and everyone is now preparing the deck for a special evening program. The foresail was reefed and raised and benches were placed carefully on the dock. Student Leadership (SLS) will be a documentary on Nelsons Dockyard, which we will be projecting onto our sail in Nelsons Dockyard. It has been a fantastic day onboard Ocean Star, now if only every morning could start with a hug from a stingray…