Location: Falmouth, Antigua

Hello and welcome back! I hope you are doing well and are in a comfortable place because today was jam-packed with fun, and I can’t wait to tell you all about it.

Our story (or more precisely MY story (the “my” would have been in italics, but as we know from a previous blog, italics are a no go)) started at exactly 4:48 AM when I awoke for no reason, but since I had 5-6 watch, I took the extra time and got up at a relaxed pace. After saying hi to Brahm as he walked to the galley at 5 to start breakfast, I watched as the light slowly came over the mountains and got filtered through a mass of thick rain clouds, with them occasionally letting loose on the harbor and subsequently Ocean Star. At the end of my watch, I woke up Johnny and went to pack for the excursion as wake-ups were at 6:45, and I knew trying to sleep would be frivolous. At around 6:10, I clambered up on deck to grab my snorkel mask and glanced over to see a suspicious-looking Sam and Ash suiting up in dive gear; I assumed they were going to try to pull a fast one on us and do another rescue diver scenario but just to give them the benefit of the doubt I asked if they were going on a morning dive, which they responded “yes.” They Lied. At precisely 6:20, I hear a faint “HELP ME” and rush up just as Johnny is about to rush down the companionway; we make eye contact. Then both yelled “EVERYBODY UP” and then proceed to go fulfill our jobs we had decided on in our emergency action plan. The crew rushed up, and within moments Grady stripped down and got into the water to swim Ash, a lifebuoy. We then also noticed Sam was missing and the rest of the crew set out to find and retrieve her. We pulled them up and onto the boat and then proceeded to give “oxygen” to both of them and “CPR” to Sam. After the scenario had concluded, everyone dispersed to dry off and get ready for breakfast.

Brahm had made Spanish tortillas for breakfast which were a great start to the day, and after breakfast, we all got ready and into dinghies to head to land. Unfortunately, in the scuffle and the lingering shock from this morning’s rather abrupt start, a lot of people, including myself, forgot our rain jackets. And boy did we need them because as soon as we got into the dinghies a biblical level, Noah’s Ark type rain started coming down, and we were forced to endure it till we reached the shore approximately 5-8 minutes away. When we arrived, we were just about as wet as a swimming pool and felt like one too. We all rang out our clothes, dried off as best we could, and loaded into the vans to head to Stingray City. Fortunately, our van diver had an excellent taste in music and treated us to a playlist of house music that was continually banger after banger. After a while, we arrived at Stingray City and received a briefing, then got shuttled over by boat to where the stingrays are. As we were pulling up, they already were circling the boat, and once we got into the water, they were all over us, swimming in between our legs and bumping into us quite often. They were very either excited or hungry, but we didn’t care as we were all in awe of their beauty.

We stayed for about an hour, then got back into the shuttles and ate lunch at some picnic tables by Stingray City. During this time, a lot of the crew bought stickers and t-shirts from their shop; Henry and Liam decided to get matching t-shirts which the whole crew appreciated. Following lunch, we got back in the vans and headed back to the boat, where we took turns relaxing as groups went out to go diving. We then watched movies and chilled on deck, and played some poker till it was time for dinner. Brahm had once again made potato soup with a side of magical bread, and the crew was delighted.

I rounded off my last day of skipper with the squeeze question of “where or when are you at your happiest,” and I really loved hearing all the answers from the crew. I’ve really enjoyed this trip, and I’m sad it’s coming to a close. I’ve made some great friendships with people here, and it’s finally setting in that it will soon be over. It’s funny looking back on the first few weeks because they seem like a lifetime ago, stepping out of the airport, and our first day on the boat was at the time quite chaotic, but now it’s something to look back and laugh about. Although this trip has had its ups and downs, I’ve made so many memories and hopefully a few lifelong friends.

Thanks for reading

Picture 1: Bartholomew and Francis
Picture 2: The crew after the rescue diver scenario
Picture 3 Johnny loving the rain
Picture 4: Our shuttle to Stingray city
Picture 5: Katie and Keaton
Picture 6: Snap, Crackle, and Pop
Picture 7: Keaton and Gunther
Picture 8: Henry about to feed the rays
Picture 9: Me and Lenny
Picture 10: Katie and Henry caressing Massimo
Picture 11: Des and Troy
Picture 12: Katie and Celia
Picture 13: The crew holding Geoph
Picture 14: Keaton and Meg
Picture 15: Picnic
Picture 16: Picnic pt. 2
Picture 17: Yes
Picture 18: Grady looking bew tee full
Picture 19: The crew waiting for dinghies to the boat
Picture 20: <3