>> Sunday, November 18, 2012
Puerto Rico has been a wonderful conclusion to our adventure. After just under thirteen days underway, we anchored in Vieques. There we enjoyed swimming, snorkeling, and dining in an open air restaurant. We completed the last final exam of the trimester.
The highlight of Vieques, however, was kayaking in Mosquito Bay, which is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most bioluminescent bay in the world. We enjoyed bioluminescence throughout our experience, observing the glittering in the sea surrounding the ship as we sailed at night. On special nights, we even were able to watch dolphins streaking through the water in the bioluminescence. We thought we were prepared for the wonder of Mosquito Bay.
It was truly magical to observe the bioluminescent glow of our kayaks and paddles cutting streaks of light through the water. As we dipped our hands, they created a glow that outlined our fingers. Lifting out hands out of the water, they glittered and sparked for a few seconds. As fish moved a few feet below our kayaks, we could see the trails they created.
The next morning we were up before dawn and back underway for Culebra. Culebra is a quiet island with a number of beaches. We sailed into the protected harbor and then headed ashore where we were able to walk around the sleepy town. Although Culebra sees its share of tourists, most of whom arrive by ferry, this time of year it is quiet enough that a number of shops and restaurants close for vacations and maintenance. Once we had explored enough of town, we made our way to Playa Flamenco, listed as one of the top ten beaches in the world.
The waves were incredible and the combination of colors created by the sand, water, and tree covered bluffs were gorgeous. After we had our fill of swimming, we enjoyed a barbecue and sitting on the beach together before heading back to the boat to rest up for an epic competition: Schooner Olympics.
|Setting the Inner Jib in a "Squall"|
From Culebra, it was an overnight sail and our final watch standing to get to Old San Juan. In our last twenty-four hours, we packed in a celebratory lunch, exploring the streets of Old San Juan, visiting El Moro (a fort and National Park), and Field Day. We also celebrated Thanksgiving together for our final dinner, sharing a few turkeys, all the trimmings, and what we are thankful for this year.
After Thanksgiving Dinner, we had our closing ceremony and watched a slide show of photos from the last two months. In addition to receiving certificates for their hard work and more personalized yet goofy awards, two students were recognized with formal Ocean Classroom awards: the Williams-Mystic Award and the Alix T. Thorne Award. The Williams-Mystic Award honors a student who achieved academically and also excelled in all aspects of shipboard life. This award was given to Haley. Jackson received the Alix T. Thorne Award for being an incredible shipmate who shows diligence and eagerness in learning seamanship and participating above and beyond expectations.
Congratulations to both Haley and Jackson for their awards and congratulations to all the students of Ocean Classroom 2012 for their efforts and success!
|Ocean Classroom 2012 upon arrival in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico|
Fair Winds to all!
-Beth, Head Educator