Location: Rodney Bay, St Lucia

The best part about being skipper for the day is being able to wake up the fo’c’sle girls with the pokey stick, specifically Xonel, who sleeps like a rock and takes several prods, eventually progressing more into gentle whacks, in order to wake. Breakfast came soon after wake-ups, and we were all delighted at the sight of Kiara’s apple cinnamon pancakes, not only because they looked so tasty but more so because of the sheer size of the heap of food. This seemed to be a common theme today, having tons of pancakes for breakfast and seven lasagnas for dinner, the food was plentiful. Having made it my mission to not make the gophers have to pack any of the food away into leftover Tupperware, I ate way more than was necessary today and have since contracted meat sweats from the remaining lasagna I packed away. It wasn’t pretty, even less so when the video is played in slow motion, but that’s beside the point. Kiara is an incredibly talented cook, and we were all very grateful for the countless hours she spent in the galley today in order to keep all of our stomachs very full. Now that all the foodstuff has been shared in more than enough detail, the morning consisted of Biology, followed by Seamanship. Bio was another upsetting lecture on how the human race has caused countless problems for our oceans, many of them seemingly irreversible. Most of them have extreme consequences on the marine world. It is truly beautiful to be able to study the ocean, on the ocean, living on a boat, but it is also heartbreaking to see first hand the detriment we’ve caused to this environment. On a lighter note, seamanship was more chart work for our Nav Master IYT class. We continued to drill in the difference between degrees true, degrees north, and degrees compass by finally getting to plot a course on a chart. We learned how to get our heading relative to our position, transcribe it onto the chart, factor in speed and time past, and then translate our new position into numbers of latitude and longitude. This was a little confusing and fairly overwhelming at first, but Calum is a great teacher, and I think everyone was able to end class with a good grasp of the subject. Shortly after we rolled up the charts and packed all of the navigational instruments away, we got into sail prep so that after lunch, we could get moving right away. Obviously, as soon as we started doing anything on deck, the sky opened up and soaked everyone and everything that had once been dry. Oh well. These things happen when you live on a boat. Most of us are unphased by it at this point, working through the hard droplets of rain in nothing more than our swimsuits. Boat prep went smoothly, and we were able to get nearly everything ready before lunch. All we would have to do is raise the anchor and set the sails. Kiara and her sous chefs brought up lunch, we devoured it as per usual, and we got right back to work on passage prep. Riley valiantly volunteered to flake the anchor chain for us today, adding on to her already long day as our headmaster. We hauled up the anchor. The sails shot up, we trimmed for course, and not a second later, the words “prepare to jibe” shook the boat. We took to the sheets and got some practice working on tacking and jibing all around, rotating through all of the sheets on Ocean Star. Moving from the main to the foresail, to the staysail, to the jib and back, all the while obeying Steves orders of “prepare to jibe,” “prepare to tack,” repeating the process for several hours, everyone walked away with callused hands and a much better grasp of how to handle Ocean Star. Once we all felt comfortable with our sailing knowledge, we headed back to the same anchorage to spend one more night. We’ll shove off tomorrow to look for somewhere else to post up for a few days, now plotting to set sail for Dominica, rather than Barbados, due to less than ideal weather conditions. Regardless of where we do end up, I’m sure we’ll still be in good spirits. With the last few weeks bearing down on us, it’s become all too real that this trip is beginning to approach its end. There’s no time to waste bickering or thinking about the “what ifs” of the trip. We all just want to make the most of what time we have left with one another, knowing that all too soon, the time will have slipped through our fingers, and we’ll have to say goodbye. Until then, we hope for many more adventures and opportunities to grow even closer than we already have in what feels like the fastest fifty-two days of my life.

Picture 1- Banana boat
Picture 2- sails up
Picture 3- and down
Picture 4- rainy passage prep
Picture 5- working the jib sheet
Picture 6- Steve is incapacitated