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Location: Pearns Point, Antigua

I woke up at 6 to watch the sunrise over the mountains for the last time in Falmouth harbor before we set sail. To my surprise, Keaton and Addisen were also on deck early to catch it as well, but sadly there were too many clouds in the way. Once 6:45 hit, I went down into the saloon to play some wake-up music, and that seemed to work fairly well as the rest of the crew slowly made their way on deck for breakfast. The wind in Falmouth harbor the past couple of days has been quite strong in the mornings, and thankfully we had a meal that wasn’t going to blow away. Oatmeal with lots of cinnamon and fresh-cut apples as well as some frozen berries to give it some sweetness. Once we had all ate to our satisfaction, it was time to get moving. PFD’s on, dinghies on the deck, scuba gear lashed away, and the sail covers off; we were ready to set sail. First, though we had to bring up both anchors, and Ash asked who wanted to volunteer to flake the chains, and without fully knowing what job entailed, I raised my hand. Next thing you know, I am lowering myself into the anchor locker to lay the chain in rows as it’s getting pulled up by the windlass. After a good 20 minutes of the chains getting caught up and a lot of sweating, we were off the bottom, and the anchors stowed on deck. The next job was to set the mainsail, and Brahm gave the orders to man the halyard, sheet, and quarter lifts as well as the downhaul, and before you knew it, the sail was hoisted up the mast. Once the staysail was set as well, we headed for the open ocean for the first time, and you could hear the excitement in everyone’s voices as we have been waiting for this for the past 9 days. Steve wanted all of us to get some practice in with tacking and jibing, so after we had all been in each position on the mainsail and staysail, we headed downwind for a couple of hours until we got to our new destination. Our first experience with a meal underway went better than I expected especially since we had breakfast burritos and most of the crew didn’t know how to roll a tortilla correctly. Being on the open ocean again with just the power of the wind and sail pushing us forward felt very nostalgic, and I couldn’t have been happier. Seeing hundreds of flying fish soar through the swells was an amazing sight, and Steve told us that the longest glide by one was recorded at almost 1500 feet! We got to our new anchorage in good time, and getting the sails and anchor down was a breeze. The only activity left on the schedule for the day was oceanography with Sam so we decided to spend an hour swimming and enjoying the extremely clear waters of the Caribbean. The rest of the day was up for us to decide, and most people retreated into the saloon to work on some fish IDs and other work or lay down in their bunks while the others tried to do some laundry on deck. Thankfully there isn’t as much wind at our new anchorage, so the boat doesn’t rock as much as it did, and as the sun went down, we enjoyed a nice dinner of spaghetti. The night before, Meg, Keaton, and Addisen had prepared chocolate-covered strawberries and chocolate cake for today, which was Valentine’s Day, so we all had a nice dessert after our meal. All in all, today was the best day yet as we finally got to experience how the rest of the trip will feel like, and I am excited for our first long passage down to St. Vincent.

Pictures:
1. Keaton and Meg posing with Steve
2. Ash preparing the chains and windlass while Noah and Erin are waiting to man the breaks
3. Liam and Julian hoisting up the anchor onto deck
4. The crew setting the mainsail
5. The crew lounging back aft as we head downwind
6. Brahm trying to give instructions on where to be and not to be during a tack/jibe
7. The dishy pit working hard to clean after lunch
8. A bunch of us waiting for dinner as the sun goes down
9. The Valentines Day deserts chefs and Brahm looking confused about the state of the cake