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Location: Roseau, Dominica

Today was our first full day on the beautiful island of Dominica. So far we’ve had excellent weather, and this morning’s sunrise was no exception. The smell of sausage, sweet potato hash, and eggs wafting down the main companionway caused everyone to climb out of their bunks and make their way on deck for breakfast. Following our usual post-meal procedure of cleaning dishes and tidying the vessel, we gathered our packed lunches and snacks and made our way to the ferry dock in town. Dominica is one of the islands that was hit hard by hurricane Maria in the fall of 2017, so we wanted to be able to do some volunteer work at least one of the days we were visiting. This came in the form of working at two different schools throughout the day, helping out with various projects. First we went to Goodwill Primary School in Roseau, where we all grabbed our favorite tools (everything from pick-axes to shovels and machetes) and set out to clear a space for the school’s vegetable garden. We spent the morning turning up the soil to prep the plant beds, digging drainage ditches, and repairing the fence surrounding the area as well as raking out the rest of the enclosure. Everyone worked hard all morning, only taking breaks to drink water or juice and eat a snack. Upon completion, we waved goodbye to the students and teachers who had assisted and headed out to our next destination. Salisbury Primary School is situated up in the hills outside of Roseau, and because of this we were able to see some of the destruction and subsequent work that had been done on our way out of town, including dredging of the river beds and rebuilding of structures. The students had just gotten out of school when we arrived, and were more than welcoming and willing to help us with the work we set out to do getting ready for sports day. We were in charge of clearing the blacktop and painting racing lines for the upcoming sporting events. This meant measuring out and drawing all the lines across the court so that the students would have racing lanes for their teams. Some of the kids stayed after school to help us with all the painting, while simultaneously pulling us into games of soccer and performing songs for us. After many goodbye hugs, a group of waving hands and loud farewells accompanied us down the hill as we drove away. Back on S/Y Ocean Star, jump in showers were most welcome, both to cool off and to clean off the mud and grime from the day. This was followed by a delicious shepherd’s pie and our daily squeeze question before gathering down in the salon for an evening class of marine biology, learning all sorts of fun facts about marine mammals. With hammocks strung up all over deck and everyone dispersing after class, we all turned in for the evening hoping to get some rest before our long day tomorrow doing the boiling lake hike!