We are rapidly closing in on the end of our school year, and Barbados marked the third to last port on this incredible journey.
All of us had an awesome time in Barbados, with lots of well-earned relaxation time and explorative trips around the island. Unfortunately, our easy going trend did not continue, as on the last day of shore leave we regrettably snapped a few of our dock lines while alongside in the cruise ship terminal. Not wanting to condemn anymore of the lines to the same fate, we cast off later that night instead of the following morning as scheduled. We anchored off shore that night, and in the morning said farewell to our lovely Megan MacLeod who had joined us for the duration of this port. Sails were set and we were off.
We had completed just one day of school before they dropped the exciting news: we were to have a surprise port the next day. The morning of, as we neared paradise, we were treated with a welcome show of whales breaching and of dolphins playing alongside the ship. The bay that we anchored in had an exquisite view of the town nestled in the hill side. All the houses were white with red roofs, and the tropical vegetation crept into the town’s charming streets. The French island of Isle des Saintes, situated close to the better-known island of Guadeloupe, may be one of the most stunning islands in the Caribbean. It is home to lovely folk who always have a smile to share and full of sweet smells of the ocean and exotic flowers. We were tendered in and grabbed some ice-cream before trekking up to Napoleon’s fortress on one of the hills that overlooked the breathtaking bay. We walked around the fort and then headed to an enchanting beach on the other side of the island where we splashed around for a bit. At the beach, I caught a baby goat! We meandered back towards town, along the way picking up some fresh baguettes that we munched on to tide us over until we found some dinner. Once our day trip was over, we returned to the ship and it seemed that everyone had forgotten what the sun was as the majority of us came back a little more than rosy - ouch! Hauling up anchor, we were once again back on track towards the Dominican Republic.
The view from one of the lookout points walking up to the Napoleon’s fortress. We saw tons of small sport sail boats, surf sailors and kite surfers in this lively bay.
In this picture, Napoleon’s fort is up on the far left hill and you can see the red roofed houses of Isle des Saintes. There were loads of boats anchored in the bay, all lured by the island’s beauty.
This sail was probably the closest we’ve had to resembling a normal school week: five days of school and an actual weekend upon arrival. We were full steam ahead. Classes are on their last leg, exams are nearly upon us, there are projects to hand in, and the maritime crew still have a nice long list of jobs for us trainees to complete. The main job that has been undertaken at the moment is the rust busting of the breezeway port holes. Almost everyone has had the great pleasure of working on this project (please note my sarcasm!) Unfortunately, the port holes lead right down to the students’ sleeping quarters, therefore, for these past few days, my daily naps, which I heavily rely upon to be able to function normally throughout the day, were disrupted by the constant and irritable tinkering of the rust busters. With all the noise, it felt like you were in a mine. And then came the scraping and the sanding that have their own horrid sounds, similar to nails on a chalk board. I’m surprised that I didn’t go batty; I definitely would have preferred quieter jobs this passage!
The rust busting may have been a contributing factor to the increasing grouchiness of a lot of people this trip. It may also have had to do with the fact that we’ve been on the boat for the past eight months and we are starting to feel the increasing need for personal space. It’s the last month of our time together and I think that our lack of sleep is finally starting to catch up to us. On a lighter note, all our frustrations and worries are forgotten when we are jamming out to music on the boat, and there is always music playing no matter the hour of the day, even at night. My favorite time is when we are waiting in line for dinner and Sam pulls out his speaker and the whole mess starts belting out the lyrics to Taylor Swift songs, especially the boys. I love these moments because they really make us seem like one big, crazy, awesome family, which we are.
Thanks to our lovely Brody, we had a few Pirates of the Caribbean movie nights. On movie nights, we pin a whiteboard to the mast and lay our smoofs (thick mattresses) out on the deck. Almost everyone shows up, and it’s nice that we finally understand the sailing terms that they use in the movies. Not to mention the fact that we are sailing a tall ship in the Caribbean; it’s fun to notice the similarities. One of my favorite nights however was when I was at the helm and they were watching the big fight scene in the third movie on the foredeck and I actually felt like I was right there in the movie with Johnny Depp.
Coming up the docks in the Dominican Republic was really cool because we got to experience first-hand the quick changes in the weather here. The indecisive climate is surely responsible for the unbelievable jungles all around us and I am sure that everyone is excited as I am to get to explore them.
- Written by Grade 11 Student Haylee P