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Location: Prince Rupert Bay, Dominica

Yipee, we had a day, and it started nice and early – 6 am, actually!!! We were up and at ’em for our most anticipated excursion – COVID TESTS!!! Though we were able to do our entry tests right next to the boat, our exit tests could only conveniently be done all the way on the other side of the island. But have no fear, we took the opportunity to enjoy the scenic car ride and work on finishing some of our school work. And when I say “our,” I mean “their” because I’m the Oceanography Instructor, not a student. They were mostly working on their research project for my class, actually.

Once we arrived, we had a lot of “go over here,” “no, why are you lingering here, we have things to do!” “you need to go over there even though I just told you to stand here!” experiences. It was definitely a hurry-up and wait situation. But, on the bright side, we got to wait in a stadium, which was a surprisingly satisfying experience for a few of us. I guess with Covid. It’s been a while since a lot of us have been in any kind of arena or stadium. So that was oddly fun. After successful tests (well, Logan’s was only successful after two attempts – rip Logan’s sinuses), we made the long journey back to our beloved Ostar. Along the way, we made a pit stop at the dive shop, where just about everyone bought shirts. I found this particularly interesting given that many of the people that bought shirts didn’t even dive with the dive operators they were buying the shirts from… But any-who, once back on board, we had some delicious lunch and then went right on to our own diving – more Rescue!!

Today we practiced finding a missing diver underwater. And again, when I say we, I don’t mean me. I was actually the missing diver. This meant that I got to find a nice patch of seagrass and sit and stare at it for a while. Everyone else practiced their search patterns to find me – as an old shipmate once told me, it’s like watching a little park scene. I like to imagine all the fish are just taking a nice stroll through the grass – it’s quite pleasant and relaxing. After a few minutes, I looked up to see Lucy and Teddy swimming right for me. I was found! Then, we just had to wait for all the other groups to find us. It was like a giant, underwater game of sardines. And for the most part, everyone found me! Yay!!! Then we practiced responding to an unresponsive diver at the surface – if you ever find yourself in that situation, don’t forget to drop their weight belt! Otherwise, they will sink… Also, don’t forget to hold their head up… otherwise, they also sink. While rescue can be quite an entertaining course to teach and take, it obviously also has its serious moments. I will say, after days of practicing the rescue exercises, their technique is getting better and better, which is very rewarding for me, one of the instructors.

After rescue, we assembled to put provisions away – no small task. This always takes a coordinated effort, particularly from this location – the dinghy has to get loaded from the beach here, which means all of the bags have to go through an extra step of getting un-sanded. Special shout out to our fridge masters – packing the fridge is like the wildest real-life game of Tetris. Then, to finish off the night, our student passage team did some prep for our student-led passage tomorrow!! It’s our last passage, and it’s going to be led by – you guessed it – students! This is always a super cool experience for staff to see. It’s a culmination of everything they have learned on board, and the student crew does everything from figuring out the voyage plan (what route we’ll take) to deciding what sails to put up and when to do what sail maneuvers. So without further ado, allow me to introduce you to our student passage team…. we’ve got Stefi aka The Mountain (soon to be The Mid-Ocean Ridge) as Skipper, Alexis as Chief Mate, Fred aka Ted aka Teddy as Navigator, and Lucy as Engineer, with Maxime as her Assistant Engineer. I’m so excited!!

Ok, I’m going to bed now. We’ve got another wicked fire day planned for tomorrow, so I’ve gotta go catch some zzzs where I can.

PS. Please know that no one was actually injured or drowning in any of the provided photos.

Photo Captions:
1: We love rescue!
2: Some casual designated study time at a stadium
3: Weight belt’s off – that’s good
4: We love a tidy deck
5: Ah, ah, ah, ah, staying alive
6: Head chef Maxime
7: Don’t forget to hold the head
8: Not our boat, but still pretty
9: Provisions! That’s not even all of them…