A busy day for the students aboard Ocean Star began as we readied the boat, raised anchor, and set off around the shoals of Green Island, destined for Barbuda. Out of the shallows, we reefed the main and raised the sails with just a little trouble from a fouled Mermaid line. After navigating around a few weather systems and through a bit of rain, we finally sighted Barbuda, which due to its extremely low and flat profile, could not be seen until we were very close. Nearing the island, we were greeted by a Humpback whale making a full breach out of the water, followed by crashing down into a massive splash. We chased after it for some time but sadly no more breaches.
Arriving in Barbuda, we dropped sails and laid anchor just off a beautiful sandy beach and set about getting course work done when our resident oceanographer Emma came running down the companionway yelling that her dive buddies had not surfaced with her and were missing, kicking off the first of our rescue diver surprise training scenarios. The students went into action, rapidly donning scuba gear, prepping oxygen and medical equipment, and preparing the boat to receive patients. With the direction of spotters and an expanding square search pattern, the missing divers were brought to the surface and hauled up onto Ocean Star, where first aid was administered and emergency services contacted. Nick, another staff member, played a panicked diver and gave two of the students quite the run for their money while trying to use them as flotation devices. With a true commitment to the bit, he kept up the facade while being hauled into the dingy, scuba tank, and all and brought onto the boat where he went about searching for his dive buddies and had to be further calmed and attended to.
After the eventful afternoon, a good meal and class followed by a few exciting rounds of games – namely, pterodactyl concluded the day with high spirits and considerable laughter.