Location: Gustavia, St. Barths

Though we can count the days left on our fingers and toes, the trip is by no means winding down. We began our first full day in St. Barths with an Oceanography class on waves in preparation for tomorrow’s lab (aka “Surf Day”). Monika taught an SLD class, and then shipmates drifted off in various directions for their day of freedom on this glamorous island. Half of them took advantage of the fact that we are docked near a beautiful marine protected area and dinghied out to the reef to conduct underwater research on lionfish, damselfish, and Christmas tree worms. Some of us enjoyed a French lunch onboard–salami and cheese on baguettes–while others sampled the local fare. Shipmates came and went throughout the day, trading shopping bags of various sizes for backpacks full of schoolwork and beach towels. Advice on the best WiFi spots, surf shops, jewelry stores, and Gelato stands was traded as the shipmates passed each other like ships in the night. Many headed off to Shell Beach, a beach a couple of blocks from the boat that, as its name might imply, is covered in tiny shells. Others hung out at the cafes studying for their marine biology exam. Jacob came back early to cook one of his mother’s recipes–maple curry penne with chicken, which everyone enjoyed. After dinner, half the group put on their respectable clothes and attended an Anglican meditation service at the small church in the heart of Gustavia. They came back feeling energized; they’d been warmly welcomed by the leader who conducted the service in both French and English, providing thought-provoking kernels of wisdom.

Meanwhile, back on board, the remaining students watched Seven Years in Tibet for SLD movie night. The evening closed with more shore time–the chance to run back for WiFi, cokes, and crepes–before heading to bed for the first uninterrupted sleep in a while. No watching anchor chains, mooring lines, or dock lines! Now for some sweet sleep before tomorrow’s epic day…