Location: English Harbour, Antigua

Welcome to Ocean Star! If you’re reading this, you probably have someone that you love on board, and I’m here to say we’re so excited to have them. Today is a pretty big day for all of us – the staff has been working super hard to get the boat prepped and ready to welcome students to what will be, in more instances than not, an absolutely breathtaking, overwhelming, incredible, challenging, exhilarating adventure. I’m sure the family and friends reading this have also been prepping for weeks, helping decide if three pairs of socks are really the best call, scouring the internet for bottles of Hibiclens for sale (what even is that?!), and sitting on bags to make sure the required 2ft fins (why are they so big?!) will actually fit into a 60L, collapsable duffel. And then, of course, the students – full of excitement and nerves simultaneously, trying to navigate airports, flight connections, and Antiguan taxis, only to arrive and realize their adventure has just barely begun.

To help shed a bit more light on what you have actually sent your kids/friends/siblings to, here’s a small snippet about each of our beloved staff on board:
Nick: Captain, Medic. He has a stuffed whale named Drew that he loves dearly (although he accidentally left it on Vela for the semester).
Sam: Program Manager, Marine Science Instructor, Dive Instructor, Mate. Her favorite food (right now – it changes daily) is a sandwich.
Ash: Medic, Dive Instructor, Mate. His full name is Ash Scott Hastings, making his initials actually spell Ash. Incredible stuff.
Heather: Marine Science Instructor, Dive Instructor. She had a pet tarantula as a child and dreamed of having at least three more (NOT SIMULTANEOUSLY) in her lifetime. She also loves coffee so much that she skips the brewing stage and just puts straight beans in her cup.

Whatever has brought you to this blog, I’m glad you’re reading it, and I, like all of you, am so excited to see what the next 80 days have in store for all of us. Everyone has a thousand questions – some I can answer. Most, however (and it’s always the important ones, like, how will this trip change my life?!), will just have to be answered with time. I hope you enjoy the ride – I know all of us here on Ostar will : D.

And now, a message from our daily skipper, ML:

Hi, friends and family back home!
Today started off super early for most of us as we had to catch flights down to Antigua around 8 am. Though a few were already in Antigua hanging out for a few days before getting on our new Ocean Star. When we arrived at the boat, we were greeted by our staff and another covid test. After waiting 15 minutes and receiving a negative test, we were finally allowed to hop on. As soon as we were allowed on, our bags were then passed on to the boat as well, and then the process of unpacking began. While some finished unpacking, others started getting on board. After a bit, we all started hanging out and talking and relaxing on the bow of the ship, where we saw a pelican and named it Greg. We then had a delish dinner cooked by our captain Nick and ended dinner with our daily squeeze before starting the cleanup process and finishing unpacking and even some star gazing!
I miss everyone back home a lot but have already started to make new friends!