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Location: Oranjestad, Statia

I descended into the salon this morning to wake the crew as the sweet smell of sugary French toast was already filling the air. We would be savoring our breakfast quickly before we dove into passage prep in order to leave St. Barths today and head to our next stop on the small island of Statia. This sail would be a big moment for our student crew. It was the first time us staff would leave the sailing solely to them. We drifted into the background of the morning, there for students if they needed help, but largely out of the way as the students took charge of the boat. Dock lines were tossed and leaders emerged from the group ready to command sail raises. We proudly watched as our student crew transformed before our eyes from learners to teachers, guiding each other and turning to one another for support as they worked through raising each sail.

We had a calm passage, which was nice as our chef Brittany chose a rich and ingredient filled casserole to prepare for lunch underway. Not as easy task to whip something like that up while the boat moves but she took the task by the horns! The galley was sweltering and dishes were sliding, but the casserole turned out beautifully. Golden brown cheese covered Alfredo-pesto-chicken laden pasta. It was voted one of the best lunches we have had all trip. After lunch clean up we switched watch teams. People now off watch settled in across the top of the chart house to relax in the cool breeze and watch the bright blue sea role by or nap in the warmth of the Caribbean sun.

We rolled into Statia in great time and dropped anchor before kicking off our Emergency First Responder exam. The students did well and can now say they are certified to provide both Primary and Secondary Care. After their exam, we dove into the PADI boat diver knowledge review to prepare everyone for our boat adventure dive tomorrow morning here in Statia. I am beyond excited to dive here in Statia! After classes everyone had time for an ocean shower as usual but Emi, a bright spirit in all situations, decided to spice up the normal old shower time by getting people to hop off the bowsprit for a rinse instead of just the side of the boat. After showers, Brit brought up her next incredible meal of the day, nachos made with Rotel in a special sauce she made from her moms recipe. For a lot of us this simple canned veggie (which Rotel is actually a bit hard to find in the Caribbean) was a real taste of home in our nacho dinner. I for one am insisting Brit give me here nacho sauce recipe!

We closed out our day with an Oceanography lecture on Climate Change. I was thrilled to see how many questioning hands went up during my lecture. Our group really dug into the details of global climate change and its implications for the planet. Not everyone agreed on every point, but that fed a great discussion throughout the hour-long lecture. It was impressive to see how much knowledge from the course everyone called upon, assimilating broad topics, to create questions and arguments around climate change. It was the sort of class period I feel any instructor hopes for.