Today the crew of ocean star awoke to the clear blue waters and white sandy beaches of our first full day in Barbuda. The majority of the morning was spent with the students hard at work in class studying navigation in PEN. Those students who are taking the rescue diver course suited up early and jumped into the water to practice rescue maneuvers. Their main goal today was to learn how to get an unconscious victim out of the water and into the dinghy safely.
After a delicious lunch of black bean burgers prepared by our chefs Thomas and Drew, everyone grabbed their fins, masks, and snorkels and took a very wet dinghy ride to shore. One of the early highlights of this trip ashore was the unexpected time spent body surfing and playing in the waves as we waited for everyone to make their way into shore. Afterward, we met up with our wonderful tour guide, George, and began a boat ride over to the magnificent frigate bird sanctuary, which is the largest in the world! Seeing the abundance of these beautiful birds and their nests in the mangroves were absolutely amazing. The males inflated and displayed their red chests looking for mates late in the mating season, and the females soared overhead eyeing potential mates. Many of the couples had already hatched chicks, and there were several white-headed juvenile birds among the mangroves. We finally got to cool down after cruising around the magnificent sanctuary, we hopped in the water and got our chance to snorkel around the mangrove trees to see up close all the neat plants and organisms that live in that area. The mangroves create a nursery for many young fish to hide and grow into adulthood. There were many juvenile barracuda and other juvenile fish hiding in the shade of the trees. As the night drew to a close, we took our 4th oceanography quiz and followed that up with a documentary titled “End of the line. This documentary investigates the fishing industry and the current state of affairs concerning the world fish populations. Let us just say it is looking a bit grim at the moment. Another busy and exciting day is over, and the crew becomes more and more excited about our overnight passage to St. Barths tomorrow.