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Location: Tobago Cayes, SVG

Hello and welcome to the newest version of the blog! Somehow I am the lucky one (read guinea pig) to get to use it for the first time. I’m excited to hear how it’s changed from your end, for those of you that have been following along for the last 3 years (I’m looking at you Mom).

Anyways, this morning started off quite different than all of my mornings for the last 6 months. In September I rejoined Vela in Bali and have spent the months since sailing across the Indian and Atlantic oceans going to places I had never been to before. Every time I woke up and came on deck when we arrived somewhere it was a brand new experience, which has been absolutely amazing. But this morning Allie woke me up, as she normally does, at 730 am for my 8-12 morning watch. Post boat check I came up on deck in a place I have been before many times over the years with Seamester, Union Island in St Vincent and the Grenadines. While I have absolutely loved getting to see brand new amazing places over the last 6 months, theres just something special about being back where you know the islands and the people and the grocery stores. Its really special to feel like I’m home again.

My watch team (3) all got up on deck for watch and found watch team 2 dropping the forward staysail as we prepared to make our pit stop at Union Island. Watch team 3 then dropped the main stay sail and then Freddie wriggled Vela through the reefs and zipping boats around us into our anchor spot. We got our anchor down and little boat in the water and Freddie was off to shore to clear us all into the country. Back on board we did a little boat to bed action to have her nice and tidy for when we reached our final destination today. After that was completed we all made some coffee and snagged some brekkie and had a bit of a study session for the students Oceanography quiz in the afternoon that day. Once Freddie was ready I buzzed back into shore to grab him and the hit an uno reverse on Vela. We lifted little boat back on deck and lifted up our anchor en route for the Tobago Cayes.

Now the Tobago Cayes are one of my favorite places in the Caribbean with my most favorite color of blue water out of everywhere I have been in the world. A place I have now been lucky enough to have been on board Argo, Ocean Star, and Vela. I still remember the first time I came here. It was my very first program on board Argo and we did about a 6 hour day sail from St Vincent over to the Tobago Cayes. About 2/3 of the way through I decided to take a nap and was woken up by the sounds of the anchor dropping upon arrival. I came up on deck and was awestruck at how beautiful this place was. Bright blue crystal clear water, white sandy beaches with what seem like the perfectly placed palm trees. As we pulled in today, and really every time I have been here, I have that same feeling. I also have this feeling of deja vu writing this blog, because I am almost positive I have written our arrival in Tobago Cayes blog in programs past (again looking at you Mom for confirmation).

We got our anchors set and it was time to do wake ups for lunch, which resulted in everyone else who was asleep down below coming up on deck and having the same reaction I did 3 and a half years ago. Heaps of screams of excitement and wonder and questions of how soon can we get in the water erupted almost immediately when everyone got up on deck. Soon enough lil chickens.

Brunch, one of my personal favs on a passage meal day, was served and devoured by our excited crew. Following lunch the students had Oceanography where they took their quiz and learned about fisheries and climate change with Will. Then it was time for the moment they were all waiting for, getting in that blue blue water. Our plan for the afternoon was a joint marine science snorkel lab closer to the beach. I gave a little brief and then everyone snagged their snorkel gear and hopped in the dinghy and headed to the swim area. They were tasked with using their new taxonomy knowledge, from Meg in marine bio, to find certain organisms on their snorkel. The students, and some of the staff, swam around the reef for a few hours with the resident local green sea turtles. Around 430 it was time to head home for deck showers and dinner making.

After a delicious dinner of veggie stir fry the students met in the saloon for a lil combo marine science and dive paperwork party. They went over the things they found on their snorkel lab and what phylum each of the organisms was in. Then we logged all of our dives from Barbados and all of our newly certified open water dives got to sign their paperwork making them officially official. The it was off to bed for a nice sleep full of excitement though. Theres rumors (created by me) that were going to eat breakfast with the pirates tomorrow (;