Location: Petit Bayhaut, St. Vincent

My day started this morning at six with some stretches and light yoga while the sun rose behind the island. `There was a brief drizzle, but the grey clouds drifted away quickly and left behind a full rainbow that left us wondering about the pot of gold. At seven, I headed towards the cabins, speaker in hand, and woke up those who were still traveling in their dreams with Good Morning by Mac Frost, followed by Beautiful `day (U2), one of my parent’s favorites. After a cereal breakfast, we went right into cleanup and continued the morning with a marine bio class followed by seamanship, where we learned a lot about various emergency procedures. We got to hold the different types of flares we have onboard and learned about the ditch kits that have cubes of cardboard-tasting provisions and packets of water.

After fifteen-minute power naps, we mustered in the cockpit with plates full of pizza and got ready to move to Petite Bay. The journey was less than an hour, but we still made sure everything was 40/40. I taught Renee, Riley, and Izzy a new card game, and we successfully got through one round, but the wind decided it wanted to play with our cards as well and left us with only half. I then worked in the salon until we arrived and went up to find a lush paradise just a swim away from Argo. It felt as though we were anchoring in an island no human had ever explored.

Half of the group went right into their deep dive and came back, telling us all about the lobster and fish they saw. The sun was going down fast, and we had planned a quick snorkel trip to a bat cave, so we hurriedly grabbed our snorkels and dinghied our way to see the bats. It was an otherworldly experience, as Giselle later described it; we first swam towards the entrance of the cave enthusiastically, not expecting a strong current to suck us into the darkness. Bats began to fly above our heads frantically, and all we could hear when we popped our heads out of the water were their screeches. We found a tunnel where we could see some light coming out the other side and decided to investigate. The saltwater river just swept us in, and whenever I thought I was about to hit a rock, I swerved and turned until it all stopped. The current had thrown us out through another entrance. I made sure to pay more attention to the details on the way back. There were some yellowy corals growing on the sides of the tunnel walls as well as sea urchins. When I looked down, all I could see where the two walls of the cave falling into endless darkness. I could barely see the person in front of me. We were once again thrust out of the tunnel into the main part of the cave and swam out to the dinghy. We made our way back to Argo while the sun quickly tucked in over the horizon, leaving her footprints in the sky.

After a Pad Thai dinner, my question for squeeze was, “What title would you give this chapter in your life?”

Everyone that had not gone diving in the afternoon set up their gear and got ready for the night dive. We did our “giant strides” from the port side of the boat into the pitch-black water and got into our buddy groups. My buddy was Bella, and Felipe also joined us even though he’s already certified. We reached the mooring line and made our descent into the nightlife of the ocean floor. There were eels, lobsters, shrimp, brittlestars, glowing corals, and countless different types of sleeping fish. I kept trying to get Bella’s attention by yelling her name underwater, and even though sometimes she heard me, I also resorted to pulling her fins towards where I was in order to show her something. On our way up, we all pressed our lights into our wetsuits so we could truly immerse ourselves in the darkness and see the bioluminescence. Once on the surface, we swam on our backs towards Argo and identified some constellations in the clear, starry sky.

Some meters away from the boat, Frankie said how much she was craving hot cocoa to finish off the night. There was, therefore nothing more comforting than to find out that Elle and Steph had actually read our minds and had prepared a delicious hot cocoa batch. After putting away our gear, we sat on the chart house roof and sipped our hot drinks, which washed away the sharp taste of saltwater and replaced it with something sweet and warm. I slept like a rock that night, and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one.