High School on a Ship
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The Barbecue Island

By Hedda Stangeland | Feb 19, 2018 | Shore Leave

You might not have been there. You might not have heard of it. Or, not even thought of what it is like. Nevertheless, it was indeed a place beyond one’s imagination

Small drops of water stroke the skin as the tender brought us towards land. The drops prepared us for the wet landing, where the sandy island would only be reached by jumping into the clear and blue. The sand on the seabed, moving under one’s feet, the sun and the light breeze of ocean scent, all impressed the senses before we even stepped on dry land.

The Island is populated by a family of six, with a dog in addition. Their constructions are the only ones present, as the island is quite small. A walk along the waterline will take you five minutes to finish where you started, even though the palms stretching over the beach towards the ocean will make you walk a little longer. Unless, of course, the palms and the scenery captivates you into spending more time in their embrace.  

We were lucky to spend three days at anchor between the different islands, and was tendered in to shore after cleaning routines. Enjoying some free time, many of the students and some crew and faculty went to explore the well-known coral reefs of San Blas. Quite far from shore where the water was still shallow and close to where the waves broke, the colourful and vivid corals and fishes were hidden. The unique underwater life amazed the eyes of those who saw it, and the sight of shark, sting ray and barracudas made it even more memorable. We returned with a few small cuts as evidence of our adventure.

The third day we spent on our final competitions for watch wars. The six watches competed in tug-a-war, three-legged race, knot competition, twister and egg race of two different kinds, before returning to the ship. There, we prepared for a barbeque to fully enfold the name of the island. However, before enjoyed the meal, it was time for the very last competition; the watch performances. Plays, dances, shanties and songs were presented, however, watch three won the appreciation of the crew and faculty. Nevertheless, with all the points added from the beginning to the end of these wars, watch two went away with the special award; a day of bliss. Soon they can enjoy a dinner in the crew mess with smoothies and ice cream, while watching a movie!

With this, we left the Barbeque Island and headed for the next anchor spot. We had achieved new understanding of how the locals in the San Blas Islands live, and many new experiences. In addition, we achieved an increased amount of sunburnt souls…