Location: Great Harbour, Peter Island, British Virgin Islands

Hello, hello. Hello! Today was a big day on Ocean Star – we all took our Navigation Master exams for seamanship! We had an early wake-up and ate cereal for breakfast before the first group started on the exam. The other two groups had lots of time to chill and study for finals in the meantime. We enjoyed a lunch of mac and cheese and broccoli before getting soaked by a windy shower of rain passing by. After lunch, the last group took their nav exam, and everyone enjoyed more time to chill and do some school work. Tonight’s dinner was yummy burgers made by chefs Zach and Sydney with all the fix-ins. Afterward, Christmas came early with a surprise dessert of cookies and chocolate croissants from Santa! (Thanks, Steve!) Continuing with the holiday cheer, I asked everyone what they wanted for Christmas for our squeeze question tonight – the inspiration for our Ocean Star secret Santa, perhaps? After dinner, some shipmates will go for an excellent night dive while the rest of us enjoy some downtime before bed. As the trip draws to a close, everyone is starting to think about what’s next for us after this incredible journey. Here’s what everyone will be getting up to next semester and a bit about us:

Sydney will be starting her second year at Rutger’s University, studying marine biology. Her favorite thing to do on Ocean Star is coil the peak and throat halyards. Allie will be continuing her gap year traveling around Asia, including China, Thailand, and Vietnam. She is the resident banana bread baker on board. Emma (that’s me!) will be entering her third year at Oberlin College, studying psychology, education, and gender studies. Her favorite holiday is other people’s birthdays. Ian L. will be taking classes at the University of South Florida and applying for the Coast Guard Academy. He eats his cereal with peanut butter instead of milk. Sam will be going to Fort Lauderdale to get his STCW certification. His favorite movie is Megamind. Dasha will be continuing her gap year in New Zealand on a whitewater rafting and sea kayaking trip. Her favorite spot on Ocean Star is underneath the anchor light, and her best thinking is done while flaking the anchor chain. Will will also be continuing his gap year doing a finance internship in Dublin. He just swooped the salty bin for the last utensils as I write this post. Sinclair will be taking online classes through the University of Wisconsin Madison so that she can travel and hopefully WOOF. She has the most expressive eyebrows on board. Zach will be continuing his gap year working and traveling. He once went to a concert every day for 13 days straight. Carolyn will be captain of Ocean Star next semester. She is the first person in at least three years to sail Ocean Star off the anchor! Ian M. will be the first mate on Argo. He writes his “e”s as a “c” with a loop. Steph will be the program manager on Argo next semester. She can do a human jump rope with her arms. Steve will be the first mate on Ocean Star. Giraffes have the same number of vertebrae in their necks as humans.

Sweet! I am beyond thrilled for all of my wonderful shipmates to go on their next adventure. Stay tuned for all the excitement in-store during our final days together. It has been a pleasure blogging for all the folks back home – see you soon!