Location: The Tabago Cays, St Vincent and the Grenadines

Not that any day aboard Ocean Star is ever dull, but today was an especially busy one. We got off to an early start with a 6 am wake up so we could be underway cruising out by 7. Another sail training vessel, a schooner by the name of Wylde Swan, had also spent the night by Sandy Island. As we both simultaneously weighed anchor and set sail, I couldn’t help but think they must also be distracted by checking us out as we did them.

Our aim for the day was to arrive in the long-awaited Tobago Cays. However, we made a quick stop at Union Island, the southernmost of the St Vincent Grenadines. There I quickly cleared us into St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Tina, with Mari, Margaret, and Dan in tow, ran about to various fruit stands, meat packers, and grocery stores, provisioning for the coming days. Each came back with stories of the friendly people and strange fruit and veg they had encountered.

With all the new provisions barely onboard, Skye led us in weighing anchor once more to head to our final destination. With all afternoon to go only three nautical miles, we had the perfect opportunity to raise all five sails and practice tacking as we made our way upwind to the Tobago Cays. As most of our sailing so far this trip has been downwind, the students had only raised the jib a few times and had yet to see the flying jib in action. I think the students surprised themselves with how quickly they picked up on how the sail worked and how to tack it.

As we got closer to the Tobago Cays, we sighted a squall fast approaching us. I gave the command, and everyone got quickly organized and finished lowering the jibs just as we got hit by those first noticeably cooler gusts. As big fat drops came down fast and heavy, everyone gave up trying to stay dry and just embraced the “freshwater rinse,” as we all hung out in the cockpit as a happily chattering group.

Luckily the sun broke through the clouds again, piercing the shallow water to show us the aquamarine of shallow sand, the greeny brown of the reef, and the darker blue of navigable water as we wound our way through the narrow passages between reefs that surround the Tobago Cays and make it the stunning place it is. A day of firsts, students also learned how to and excellently execute setting two anchors so we could sit back between the two.

Steve did not disappoint with his roast dinner, despite our best attempts to make his Yorkshire pudding slanty with our sailing. Kylie and I got a bit of a shock by the naturally spicy green beans, one of the exotic provisions the provisioning gang had brought back for us. Matt, on the other hand, committed to just thoroughly enjoying his potatoes, crunchy on the outside, melt in your mouth on the inside. Tessa’s Texas Fudge Cake took longer to cook than expected, but hilarious games of telephone kept us going until it was ready. And it was well worth the wait.

We finished the night off with a Seamanship class on safety and safety equipment before everyone crashed into bed in happy exhaustion.

Well, folks, that’s all the news from Lake Wobegon, where the girls are strong, the boys eat Pringles, and the turtles are all above average.
– Carolyn

P.S. Alice and Helene, I’m still reading the Dad jokes every day. From all the groans I can tell the staff and students really like them too.