written by mate of I Am Free, Liz Deveau, Brought to you by the crew of I Am Free
August 15, 2015

The morning unfortunately began with some downpour and an early morning staff motor while the crew of the boats got to sleep in. The staff pulled up the anchor in Little Harbor on Peter Island at 7:30a.m. and set off for Diamond Cay on Jost Van Dyke. The water was eerily flat which made for a silky smooth ride to Diamond. Despite the rain, Ben, Cam and Jack grabbed some life jackets and joined Liz and Curtis on deck. Geared up with rain jackets and excitement, the three of them sat on the bow and enjoyed the early morning light and the always scenic views.

At 8:30a.m., the rest of the crew were awoken to officially start the day. A breakfast of eggs, bacon and bagels was prepared by Ben and Gillie. Frankie selflessly volunteered to taste test the bacon to make sure it was done – she really loves bacon! After breakfast, everyone started heading to shore at 10:30a.m. to get ready for a hike to the mangroves and the bubbly pools. At the first stop on the hike, the mangroves, the students from all the boats enjoyed a short mangrove lesson and a game that compares mangrove forests to common household items. After the mangrove lesson, we continued to hike and made it to the bubbly pools in no time. There, the students enjoyed the cool waters pouring into the “pool.” Emily, Jamie, Gillie, Ben, and Jack climbed up some of the rocks with other students to get the panoramic view of the bay. Frankie went swimming and splashed Emily and Cam until they were soaked as well. The splash fight was refreshing, I’m sure, since it was so hot out and we had just hiked in the sun. We left the bubbly pool a little before noon to head back to boats for lunch.

I Am Free had some visitors for lunch from Miss You today. Jamie, Cam, Emily, Frankie and Ben all asked for the song “Lucy” to be played so we could have a dance party! As requested, “Lucy” was played, as were some Miley Cyrus songs. Everyone jumped up and started dancing all around the boat and singing along to the songs. It was definitely the most entertaining lunch we have had so far. After lunch, we broke up into groups to go turtling and work on Sierra projects.

The first group to go turtling was Cam, Emily, Jamie and the Foxtrot students from Spyglass. During this hour, the Sierra students got time to work on their projects. Tyler from Miss You was adopted into the Sierra group for today because he has made it clear how enthusiastic he is about marine science! Ben, Jack, Gillie, Frankie and Tyler went over to the reef at Diamond Cay and worked on their project snorkel collecting data to study reef fish density and diversity. This was the last project snorkel before we get to start analyzing the data they have collected during this trip! The Sierra students from Spyglass used this time to start analyzing the photos they have taken on their project snorkels. After the separate groups finished working on their projects for the day, they came together on Spyglass for a detailed and super interesting lesson on ocean acidification. Tyler and Jack even got to use a pH indicator to test the pH of the water at Diamond. They used a straw and blew into the water to watch it become more acidic – the indicator changes color as it gets more acidic!

Turtling ended at 4:30p.m. and we unfortunately did not catch a turtle, but a lot of students had the opportunity to swim alongside the graceful animals for what was likely one of the last times this summer. We set off for Little Harbor on Jost Van Dyke, and everyone started to shower as soon as we got there. We had reservations at Sydney’s for dinner for the entire fleet. Everyone put on nice clothes, a change up from the usual shorts and bathing suit we rock every day. Marshall immediately jumped into the cool shirt shops that are on the beach at Sydney’s and bought a couple of novelty tees. Cam, Emily, Jamie, Gillie and Frankie all bought matching shirts and have big plans to take some beach photos while they’re all wearing them. We sat down for a dinner buffet of BBQ chicken, coleslaw, salad, pasta salad, rice and a cold soda at 7:00p.m. The crews from the different boats all intermingled and ate dinner as one gigantic family. After dinner, Marshall got a huge ice cream from the small shop on the beach; there is always room for ice cream.

We went back to boats and had our usual boat meetings and power down. I Am Free had just acquired the board game, Cranium, from a boat on another fleet and everyone was really excited about playing it. We played 4 rounds. Jamie was our strongest player with the “creative cat” card. She could sculpt and draw faster than any other teammate. Cam is an excellent (and hysterically funny) actress. Marshall and Jack both got incredibly animated acting out crazy words and events. It was a fantastic family game night. We lost track of time – everyone was having so much fun – and didn’t get to bed until after 11:00p.m.

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