Location: Tobago Cays

We enjoyed spending a day of fun in the water rather than sailing on it, including two dives: a Navigation Dive for the shipmates earning their Advanced Open Water PADI certification, and another dive towards their Scientific Diver Certification. On top of that, the morning included spending time on tranquil white sandy beaches, snorkeling the fringing reefs, wind surfing lessons, and deserted island exploration. I took advantage of the reef as an outdoor classroom, and shared an abandoned Spiny Lobster molt with the shipmates, observed Southern Stingrays as they gracefully floated over the reefs, and showed everyone a closer look at the eyes on stalks of live conchs. In the afternoon, while some opted to sunbathe, I went with a small group to visit the beautiful island that the “rum scene” was filmed at from the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie.

As the sun began to fade, shipmates prepared for a different type of shower time, one for the boat! The boat occasionally needs TLC on the outside hull to help remove algae and other “fouling growth” that may slow down Ocean Star if left untouched. After some elbow work, we all sat down to a wonderful stir-fry dinner, and then prepared for the highlight of the day a night snorkel! After squeezing into our full wetsuits (a precaution for the “chilly” night water), we silently motored our dinghies under a sky filled with stars to the reef. With some apprehension, shipmates turned on their flashlights and dropped in on a reef in about 5 feet of water, only to discover the reef is a whole different, fascinating world at night! Different species are active at night, and during our excursion, we spotted sea cucumbers rolling along the bottom, eels gaping their mouths at us, lobsters scurrying to find a hiding place, sea slugs slowly crawling along the coral, copepods flicking around our light beams, and an octopus flashing it’s chromatophores to change color (and texture!) as it swooshed across the reef. After warming up on deck with some tea, I fell into bed exhausted, water logged, and happy!