Location: Gustavia, St. Bathelemy
Nearly everyone in the crew woke up early this morning to the smell of our head chef cooking up some bacon. The hearty breakfast was a good start to an even better day. We quickly prepared ourselves with sunscreen and rash guards for a day at the beach. We would be putting into practice what we had learned in oceanography about waves. We drove out for a long day of surfing.
The beach was not quite what we expected. The sand was soft and white, the sun was warm and the water was sparkling and clearwhere it wasnt overgrown with seaweed. The seaweed, or macro algae as weve learned its called, was inescapable. Rough and leafy, it wedged itself into every available space. As the crew played in the waves, their heads would disappear under a cloud of brownish green growth before emerging with bits of the stuff in their hair.
However, the photosynthetic nuisance was soon forgotten as Bobbie and Eric rounded the corner with surfboards under arm. Soon enough we were tackling the waves and not a thought was spared for the seaweed.
This was a first-time surfing experience for much of the crew, so it was on shaking legs that we rode our first swells. It wasnt uncommon to see a large wall of water swallow up a boarder before they would pop up laughing in delight. Despite being soundly beaten by the ocean, we had a fantastic time. Many proved to be apt surfers despite their lack of experience. I was not one of these people.
While some played in the water, others enjoyed themselves on the sand. Building castles that were soon collapsed by very, very small tsunamis. Using a wooden plank to erect Fort Cooper where people could relax and work on their tans after exhausting themselves trying to conquer the waves. We buried Harper up to his neck in sand until he could take the dryness no more and went sprinting back to the sea. Upon reaching it, he fell rather spectacularly. There was a lot of that going on today.
Between surfs we enjoyed sandwiches we had prepared on the boat, Marina picked up fresh ingredients so we all got to savor the flavors of good cheese, sweet jams, and fine meats. Thats the benefit of being docked on a French island.
As the sun rose higher and the heat intensified, we decided it was time to return to the boat. As much fun as surfing is, it requires a significant amount of energy. We arrived back on the dock with sore muscles (maybe a few bruises) and pink cheeks.
Despite the exercise, we had engaged in earlier, several people decided to use the post-surfing free time to explore and shop. This particular dock is decorated with high-end clothing shops, Prada and Luis Vuitton handbags glitter in the island sunshine, see-through robes that cost much more than the laptop I am currently writing on.
Later in the day, we have classes, our continuing education on oceanography and navigation. Im quite certain that after such a full day well all be retreating to our bunks early with heavy eyes and tired limbs; also with the shadow of a smile on our faces from a day riding high atop the waves.
-Skipper Jane Colon-Bonet