Location: Falmouth, Antigua

Hello, everyone tuning in today. As the voyage quickly starts to come to an end, many questions are now being brought up. Where is Calum really from? When will Eli ever finally buy a car? Why do the flying fish love to jump onto the deck of Vela? All of this and many more are on our minds as we start to get to the end goal of our program. Waking up early, I was able to briefly glimpse a wonderful Caribbean sunrise before getting the rest of the boat up for breakfast. I also realized how sore I was after a long day of dinghy sailing the day prior. Turns out, if you haven’t sailed a small boat in almost a year, chances are you are going to be worn down after a full day on the water. Big shoutout to Skyler and the chef team for meals today, including bacon, egg, and cheese bagels, to start off the day. Unbeknown to everyone except for the Rescue diver candidates, a fake training scenario began shortly after our cleanup started. The candidates responded to a fake emergency in which a diver was missing, and an injury occurred to someone else while trying to get a scuba kit together to assist. This was the first surprise scenario that the candidates had to deal with. While they performed the recoveries admirably, they went back to the drawing board to discuss some shortcomings and how to improve their reaction and response in a real emergency. Next, the group headed downstairs for a wrap-up discussion that had to do with the legality of whaling in Bequia and a situation that occurred a few years back with some activist agencies. While I did not personally sit in on the lesson, I took a great interest in the subject and did my own research before the activity started.
Carolyn went out for the last big provisioning run of the entire trip( kinda scary to think about when we still have a few days left with a lot of food left to cook) and was off the boat by mid-morning. The rest of the staff and I did some much-needed outside cleaning and general maintenance on the vessel that has carried us so far. Lunch consisted of bean and cheese burritos with all of the sides you could imagine. And again, all of a sudden, we had another “emergency” scenario that needed the attention of the rescue candidates. With a bit more of an audience this time around, the team did an amazing job responding to the situation. Big thanks to Owen for the assist in the scenario. Once everyone calmed down from the excitement, the group spent part of the time below and part of the time on deck for one of the last Leadership classes of the semester. Led by Max H and Jimmy, it definitely was a class to remember.
Shore time in the village started once everyone cleaned up their personal spaces and a tidy up in the salon. Once I dropped all of the students off in the marina, I took a meander around the docks while waiting for food to be finished. While this yacht club and marina had a vast amount of luxury yachts and expensive boats, some that caught my eye were: Nahlin, an old school style ocean-going passenger ship, and Eos, one of the biggest luxury sailing yachts that were designed by the same group who designed Vela and Argo, and Ranger, a professionally maintained J-class that is preparing for a regatta in the spring. On top of all the boat traffic, Antigua is starting to prepare for the Christmas holidays. As someone who had forgotten about many of the holidays while we have been on the program, it was strange to see Christmas lights and Christmas reggae music playing in all of the shops and restaurants. After a well-enjoyed meal and shopping, we all went back to the boat for a quick evening activity: Cards night. You’ll hear about this night once everyone gets home.
As I finish writing this, with how late it is and a lot of shenanigans happening on deck, I hope that it quiets down soon so I can get some much-needed rest. Tomorrow is a big day; not only is it our last day on anchor, but we also get to go zip-lining. While classes may be coming to an end, we still have a packed schedule as we get to the end of the program. Anyway, hope everyone is safe, happy, healthy, and enjoying the holidays as they roll in.