Location: English Harbour, Antigua

The evenings have gotten cooler and snuggly docked in the sheltered waters of Nelson’s Dockyard in English Harbour, so everyone had a restful night’s sleep. It was with smiles and sleepy waves that everyone greeted me as I woke them up. Jason Mraz’s voice mingled in the air with the aroma of cinnamon rolls and bacon. We’ve had our fair share of rainy mornings in the last week, but today was a sunny one, so everyone basked a little bit longer on deck after breakfast, dipping their fingers in the last drips of icing sugar to stall before clean up.

With clean-up done, I shuttled the students, Steph and Steve, over to Galleon Beach to start the short hike up over the Pillars of Hercules to the Mermaid Pools. These sizable tide pools continually have water passing lazily in and out on calm days or crashing in on days like today. The continuously cycling but still relatively protected water is the perfect hideout for all the juvenile reef fish that make it their home. Sergeant major fish. Blue Tangs. Damselfish. Hermit crabs. Long spine sea urchins. The students also came back chattering about the 100s of white butterflies they saw. “There were so many it was hard not to step on them!”

After lunch, the rescue divers provided entertainment for the sailboats anchored off Galleon beach as they practiced playing the unconscious victim and pulling each other out of the water, and giving rescue breaths. They even got cheers after one particularly tricky rescue. Filled with showers, buying candy bars, and catching up on some wifi, the late afternoon hours passed quickly.

As 5 o’clock approached, supplies were gathered in a hurry as we dinghied once again back to Galleon Beach. This time for a beach BBQ. Driftwood, twigs, and dry leaves were collected. A pit was dug, and rocks were placed in a circle. After many failed attempts and everyone using their best boy scout, summer camp, and trail leader tricks, the fire was slowly nursed from a few barely burning leaves to a healthy flame above a pile of glowing hot embers. Hamburgers, zucchini, corn on the cob, pineapple slices, buns, we grilled them all. Everyone took turns flipping the food as others sat around talking, joking, and singing as they gazed into the fire or up at the stars. Though we are heading into fall, it felt more like a peaceful summer night.

Tummies full, hair smelling like campfire and smiles on everyone’s faces, we headed across the harbor one last time, to Ocean Star, and after a few more hours of chatting on the dock, to bed.

Till next time,

P.S. Maman, Daddy, and Helene miss you heaps