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Sierra 14-Day

Overview

  • Live aboard and learn to sail a 44’ catamaran with your crewmates
  • Hands-on-in-depth marine science with optional academic credit
  • Earn service hours while contributing data to global environmental initiatives
  • Optional Scuba: Introductory Discover Scuba, Open Water certification, Specialties or recreational diving
  • Snorkel, waterski, wakeboard, kayak, stand-up paddleboard
  • Hiking & Island Exploration
  • 2 weeks – $4395

Adventure Focus

Marine Biology

Community Service

Scuba

Ages

13-18

Days

14

Boat

Catamaran

Sierra 14-Day Description

Passionate about marine science? Our instructors present an amazing hands-on learning experience. Challenge yourself to think and work like a scientist as you develop and conduct a research project. You’ll live onboard and learn to sail a catamaran—both your home and classroom during the trip. You and the rest of your crew will work together to run the boat! Our staff will guide you as you take over all the responsibilities of boat life, from making dinner to setting the anchor. Whether it’s learning about the sleep cycle of a shark or enjoying some watersports in idyllic tropical surroundings, the Sierra program is guaranteed to be an unforgettable adventure.

Get firsthand experience as you explore a lionfish’s internal anatomy, measure the carapace of a sea turtle, and observe creatures that emerge after nightfall right from the comfort of your living space and mobile wet lab. With prior approval, you can even earn academic credit while getting  up close and personal with the environment you’re studying when you explore some of the best dive sites in the Caribbean. If you’re not a certified diver, you can give scuba diving a try with our Discover Scuba program. Open Water and Specialty certifications are available for those looking to begin or enhance their dive education!

Connect with the international scientific community while you monitor reef health and conduct surveys on tropical species abundance. The data you collect will be submitted to global environmental conservation initiatives such as Coral Watch and the REEF project. You’ll develop your field skills while becoming a good steward of the seas.

Academic Credit

Earn Independent Study credits through your school. Pending approval from your academic advisor, you can earn independent study credit in Marine Biology from your high school as an Optional Course. Choose a research projects that allows you to delve deeper into Sierra’s marine science curriculum. Topics may be diurnal and nocturnal marine ecosystems, species diversity in fringing reefs and sea grass beds, or environmental impact assessments. More projects may be identified as each summer nears, based on current events and the research of local marine experts. Our highly experienced marine science staff will support you in your work.

Sierra 14-Day Activities

Kayaking

Ready for a little exploring with a friend? With all the beautiful anchorages and coves we visit there’s much to explore by paddle power.

Snorkeling

Meet the creatures below the waves. Swim alongside a friendly sea turtle, join a school of Blue Tang fish, and explore the reefs!

Stand Up Paddleboarding

Get your footing and you’ll be amazed at how easy it is to maneuver with perfect balance. You’ll have terrific views above, as well as below the waves.

Wakeboarding

Once you’re up it’s a thrill every single second, especially if you get airborne. No wonder this is a Sail Caribbean one-handed favorite!

Waterskiing

Get up, get steady! Then you’ll be zipping back and forth across the wake for a ride you’ll remember.

Windsurfing

After you’ve learned to read the wind, you’re sure to take full advantage of it on your rig. Time to hook in and hold on!

Small Boat Sailing

You’ll learn so much on your big yacht. Try applying your seamanship skills to smaller boats and feel how swiftly they respond.

Social Events

Dance with Moko-Jumbie stilt walkers at our Fireball Party, win the famous Chili Cookoff, and compete for glory at the SC Olympics.

Beach Sports

Team up for a spirited game of volleyball or a fast-paced soccer tournament, then cool off rehearsing a synchronized swim.

Hiking

The islands we visit are mountainous. Reaching the best vantage points provides challenges, but the pay offs are breathtaking vistas!

Community Service

Whether your interest is in cultural heritage, marine biology, or environmental conservation, you’ll have opportunities to roll up your sleeves and pitch in!

Marine Science Projects

Topics include: behaviors and ecological functions of reef fish, coral reef conservation, coastal restorations, turtle tagging, species diversity, and diurnal and nocturnal marine ecosystems.

Island Exploration

Hike through a rainforest, travel mountainous hillside roads, learn about the art of glassblowing, visit an organic farm, and discover different cultures.

Sailing

If you've never set foot aboard a 50' sloop, it's OK with us – No Experience Necessary! You’ll learn by doing and we’ll be by your side all the way. If you’re already a sailor, build on your knowledge!

Scuba

If you choose scuba, it doesn't matter if you're a seasoned diver or if you're taking your very first scuba lesson. You're in for the ultimate dive experience.

Kayaking

Ready for a little exploring with a friend? With all the beautiful anchorages and coves we visit there’s much to explore by paddle power.

Snorkeling

Meet the creatures below the waves. Swim alongside a friendly sea turtle, join a school of Blue Tang fish, and explore the reefs!

Stand Up Paddleboarding

Get your footing and you’ll be amazed at how easy it is to maneuver with perfect balance. You’ll have terrific views above, as well as below the waves.

Wakeboarding

Once you’re up it’s a thrill every single second, especially if you get airborne. No wonder this is a Sail Caribbean one-handed favorite!

Waterskiing

Get up, get steady! Then you’ll be zipping back and forth across the wake for a ride you’ll remember.

Windsurfing

After you’ve learned to read the wind, you’re sure to take full advantage of it on your rig. Time to hook in and hold on!

Small Boat Sailing

You’ll learn so much on your big yacht. Try applying your seamanship skills to smaller boats and feel how swiftly they respond.

Social Events

Dance with Moko-Jumbie stilt walkers at our Fireball Party, win the famous Chili Cookoff, and compete for glory at the SC Olympics.

Beach Sports

Team up for a spirited game of volleyball or a fast-paced soccer tournament, then cool off rehearsing a synchronized swim.

Hiking

The islands we visit are mountainous. Reaching the best vantage points provides challenges, but the pay offs are breathtaking vistas!

Community Service

Whether your interest is in cultural heritage, marine biology, or environmental conservation, you’ll have opportunities to roll up your sleeves and pitch in!

Marine Science Projects

Topics include: behaviors and ecological functions of reef fish, coral reef conservation, coastal restorations, turtle tagging, species diversity, and diurnal and nocturnal marine ecosystems.

Island Exploration

Hike through a rainforest, travel mountainous hillside roads, learn about the art of glassblowing, visit an organic farm, and discover different cultures.

Sailing

If you've never set foot aboard a 50' sloop, it's OK with us – No Experience Necessary! You’ll learn by doing and we’ll be by your side all the way. If you’re already a sailor, build on your knowledge!

Scuba

If you choose scuba, it doesn't matter if you're a seasoned diver or if you're taking your very first scuba lesson. You're in for the ultimate dive experience.

ON EVERY SAIL CARIBBEAN ADVENTURE

Sail Caribbean offers ten different adventure groups with 30 different sessions in the British Virgin and Leeward Islands of the Caribbean. You live aboard a modern 50′ monohull yacht or 45′ catamaran with other teens in your age group and learn to sail. No experience is necessary. Every adventure focuses on an activity, but each offers scuba, marine biology, community service, cultural exchange, watersports, friendships, personal growth and lifelong memories.

Want to compare adventures?  Download our 2018 Schedule (PDF)!

Sierra 14-Day

Itinerary

Day 1

Get acquainted with our beautiful home base. Meet your Captain and everyone on your program. You have your first boat meeting over delicious chicken, rice and slaw to set the course for the rest of your adventures to come.

Days 2-4

Before you embark on your first sail as a crew, your captain will walk you through some preparations and brief you about how to be safe onboard and at sea. After a lesson on de-docking, the skipper of the day will assign positions and get on the helm to lead you and your crew out into the Sir Francis Drake Channel. As soon as the sea breeze hits your face for the first time, you’ll be hooked!

Days 5-7

In the morning, the divers head off for their last day of certification skills and dives at Norman Island. The rest of the fleet dinghies over to The Caves for a snorkeling adventure! You carry waterproof identification guides so you can begin familiarizing yourself with the local marine life. Perhaps you will see your first sea turtle while diving or snorkeling this area!

Days 8-10

You and your crew will face your biggest test yet as you approach Challenge Day. You and your crew will take control of the boat and sail us to our destination. Your Captain and Mate are only along for the ride, so you’ll have to rely on each other and make decisions as a team. You’ll be well-rewarded for your efforts when you go ashore at the Bitter End Yacht Club.

Days 11-13

Get up close and personal with fish anatomy when you do a Lionfish dissection. Discuss the problems associated with invasive species and discuss possible solutions. Learn how to identify fish and contribute your effort and data to Project Reef. Each day is another opportunity to better yourselves and you’re up for the challenge! Soak in every second with your crew and set goals for the final days of the program.

Day 14

After a night of celebrating your accomplishments and sharing your final presentations, you’ll exchange fond farewells and airplane letters before parting ways!

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Sierra 14-Day

Sessions

1

Early Sierra

Begin Date

06/08/2018

End Date

06/21/2018

Tuition

$4395

Service Hours

10-15

# of Dives

4-8

2

Sierra 3

Begin Date

08/06/2018

End Date

08/19/2018

Tuition

$4395

Service Hours

10-15

# of Dives

4-8

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Optional

Courses

Sailing

Sail Caribbean Crew Certification

Prerequisites: None

This certification is bestowed on any crew member who demonstrates the ability to fully participate in the daily sailing tasks on board and passes a written test proving that they’ve mastered fundamental information on safety, seamanship, navigation and boat handling skills.

Sail Caribbean Bosun Certification

Prerequisites: SC Crew

Proving you have an understanding of some of the more advanced sailing theories and demonstrating the ability to participate in sail reefing, timed tacking and jibing, island crossing, advanced navigation, anchoring, docking and de-docking skills along with racing tactics and proper safety techniques will earn you our Bosun certification.

Sail Caribbean Mate Certification

Prerequisites: SC Crew & Bosun

A focus on leadership while underway is the core of this certification. You’ll earn Mate certification if you succeed at assigning crew positions, directing most phases of seamanship and safety drills, demonstrate proper engine, dinghy and equipment use and maintenance, keep an accurate ship’s log and monitor the weather all skills that make you a capable second in command.

Scuba

PADI Discover SCUBA Diving

Discover a whole new world beneath the waves!

You will experience the thrill of scuba diving under the close supervision of a qualified PADI Instructor in ideal conditions. Under the palm trees on the beach, we’ll begin with an orientation and skills session – you’ll be introduced to the basic concepts of scuba diving. Next you’ll learn about equipment, basic skills and safety procedures. Afterwards, you’ll practice those important scuba skills in three to five feet of calm, clear water right off the beach. You’ll continue with your first dive experience off that same beach in 20-30 feet of calm water. Once you’re comfortable with the basic skills, one of our custom dive boats will take you to enjoy your first open water dive. It will be no deeper than 30ft, and you’ll be able to explore one of our amazing reefs with your instructor.

The DSD course is available on all of our programs except Charlie. Students will spend 2-3 sessions with our PADI instructors. In the future, if you decide to become certified, these skills and the open water dives may be credited towards your PADI Open Water Diver course.

PADI Recreational Diving

Prerequisite: Must be Open Water certified or equivalent

Non-certification recreational diving is available as an option on all of our adventures. Ever imagine diving on a coral garden, drifting through a rainbow canyon, or exploring a sunken wreck? You will enjoy recreational diving in the BVI with our own Sail Caribbean Divers Instructors and Divemasters. On Delta in the Leeward Islands, professional dive instructors from each island along with our dive staff take you to gorgeous dive sites. You’ll gain expert knowledge from each local instructor and get the most out of every dive site you visit. You must provide proof of certification from a recognized agency like PADI, NAUI, YMCA, or NASDS.

PADI Dive Specialties

You may be able to earn multiple dive specialty certifications. The particular specialties offered will depend on the adventure chosen and our diving schedule. You will decide which specialties you’d like to do when you are in the Caribbean.

All below are available on Charlie Advanced Scuba adventures. Availability on other adventures is shown.

Peak Performance Buoyancy

Prerequisite: PADI Open Water or equivalent

Also available on Sierra

Practice techniques for improving buoyancy and decreasing air consumption resulting in better under water control and more enjoyment/preservation of the diving environment. (2 dives)

Project AWARE Dive Against Debris

Prerequisite: PADI Open Water or equivalent

Also available on Foxtrot and Sierra

The impact on marine life of garbage dumped in our oceans is one of the biggest issues of our time. You can help by going on a dive with mash bags to collect the debris that

Project AWARE Reef Fish Identification

Prerequisite: PADI Open Water or equivalent

Also available on Sierra

Study a variety of fish while observing and identifying markings, shapes, and behavior. (2 dives)

Underwater Naturalist

Prerequisite: PADI Open Water or equivalent

Also available on Sierra and Ocean

Explore and identify marine life including vertebrates, invertebrates, and plant life. (2 dives)

Project AWARE Specialist

Prerequisite: None

Familiarize yourself with the plight of worldwide aquatic ecosystems and learn how to protect aquatic resources. (Non-diving specialty)

Project AWARE Coral Reef Conservation

Prerequisite: None

Also available on Foxtrot

Study the fragile Coral Reef system, and how to preserve it, while observing and identifying markings, shapes, and growth. (Non-diving specialty)

Digital Underwater Photographer

Prerequisite: PADI Open Water or equivalent

Learn the PADI SEA (shoot, examine, adjust) method, principals for getting good photos underwater, plus how to edit and share your shots. (2 dives)

Boat Diver

Prerequisite: PADI Open Water or equivalent

Develop skills needed to dive safely from a power or sailboat as well as special procedures for diving in areas with boat traffic. (2 dives)

Underwater Navigator

Prerequisite: PADI Open Water or equivalent

Hone your underwater navigation skills using a compass, natural navigation techniques, and other navigational tools. (3 dives)

Night Diver

Prerequisite: PADI Open Water or equivalent

Explore the intrigue of diving at night while focusing on equipment handling, navigation, nocturnal marine creatures, and day to night contrast. (3 dives)

Search and Recovery Diver

Prerequisite: PADI Advanced or equivalent

Practice search patterns, effective search techniques in various conditions, and raising heavy objects using lifting devices. (4 dives)

Multi-level Diver

Prerequisite: PADI Advanced or equivalent

Apply valuable techniques for extending bottom times using the recreational dive planner (wheel format) and diving computers. (2 dives)

Drift Diver

Prerequisite: PADI Open Water or equivalent

Learn pertinent safety techniques, how to fine tune your buoyancy and use specialized equipment, as you use the ocean currents and tides as your propulsion. (2 dives)

RMS Rhone Diver

Prerequisite: PADI Advanced or equivalent; 15+ yrs old

The RMS Rhone Diver Specialty, a PADI Distinctive Specialty, is exclusively available at Sail Caribbean. Made famous in the movie, The Deep, this 310-ft cargo ship sank in 1867. She is our most requested dive site and is regularly voted the top wreck dive in the Caribbean.

Enriched Air Diver- Nitrox

Prerequisite: PADI Open Water or equivalent; 15+ yrs old

Learn recreational skills and techniques for diving with different mixes of Oxygen and Nitrogen, for increased bottom time. (2 dives)

Wreck Diver

Prerequisite: PADI Adventure or equivalent; 15+ yrs old

Learn recreational skills and techniques for diving in man-made environments and practice using specialized wreck equipment. (4 dives)

Deep Diver

Prerequisite: PADI Adventure or equivalent; 15+ yrs old

Discover deep dive planning, hazards, special equipment, and extra safety precautions. (4 dives)

PADI Open Water Diver

Prerequisite: 12+ years of age.

This PADI course is the most popular entry-level dive program in the whole world! Throughout our PADI Open Water Diver course, you’ll learn the fundamentals of safe scuba diving, including dive equipment, techniques, and planning. This certification allows you to rent scuba equipment, obtain tank air fills and also enroll in PADI Continuing Education courses (PADI Adventure Diver, PADI Advanced Open Water Diver, or even PADI Specialties).

The PADI Open Water Diver certification is recognized worldwide. To earn this rating, we’ll introduce you to eLearning:

  • eLearning is an online Open Water course developed by PADI.
  • Non-diving “classroom” lessons are completed at home before your summer program starts.
  • The online course, averaging 6-8 hours to complete, presents the material in an “easy to use” manner and assures that you thoroughly understand the information. You can divide the course into several separate learning sessions to fit your schedule. No pressure — you set your own pace.
  • You can get one-on-one assistance from our professional scuba instructors in the Caribbean — the same instructors that you’ll have during the summer! They are on call by email to answer questions you may have along the way. This is personal attention that might not be available in a larger classroom setting.
  • Parents can oversee the sessions and possibly offer assistance.
  • The greatest advantage is that when you arrive in the Caribbean your time is spent underwater developing the skills required to become a qualified, capable, and safe diver. You’re not in the classroom! The first thing that you do is take a review test to prove that you’re ready to go diving!

During five confined water training dives, your instructor will demonstrate, and then you’ll practice and master, important diving skills. Finally, applying everything you have learned, you will make four open water dives at favorite dive sites around the British Virgin Islands.

Marine Science

Academic Credit in Marine Science

Prerequisites: None

This certification is bestowed on any crew member who demonstrates the ability to fully participate in the daily sailing tasks on board and passes a written test proving that they’ve mastered fundamental information on safety, seamanship, navigation and boat handling skills.

Sierra 14-Day

Adventure Blog

Foxtrot 2 & Sierra 2 Day 11: Lion Fish Dissection!

FULL STORY

Foxtrot 1 & Sierra 1 Day 11: Destination, Anegada!

FULL STORY

Foxtrot 1 & Sierra 1 Day 9: Bio Lume Splash!

FULL STORY
Read All Posts

Sierra 14-Day

FAQs

How much sailing or diving experience is necessary?

No experience is necessary, but you should be comfortable on and in the water, have a spirit of adventure, the ability to take on responsibility, and a desire to be challenged. While everyone is involved with sailing instruction, scuba is an option on Sierra. (The snorkeling alone is amazing!)

What sailing certifications can I earn?

During the Sierra program you have the option to earn both sailing and scuba certifications. In sailing, as part of our core curriculum, you can earn the SC Crew, Bosun & Mate certifications based on your level of experience.

What scuba certifications are available?

Non-certified scuba divers you’ll have the option to try PADI’s Discover Scuba Diving (DSD) course or earn PADI’s Open Water (OW) certification. If you are a certified diver, you’ll have the option of earning your AOW or you can just opt to dive for fun and earn Specialties by signing up for Recreational Diving.

How many hours of community service will I earn?

You’ll earn 10-15 hours on Sierra 14-day. You’ll help restore and protect beaches, wetlands, marine and land habitats, often working with local youth groups. Together, your participation will have a lasting effect on preserving the land, and in turn, the livelihood of the people who inhabit these beautiful islands.

What is the Academic Credit component of Sierra?

The Sierra program is an exciting hands-on course focusing on tropical marine science, service-learning and leadership. Course topics include: Ecological Principles, Marine Survey Techniques, Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Geology of the British Virgin Islands. Students seeking academic credit through their schools are required to complete an in-depth research project and presentation. Upon completing the course, you’ll receive a comprehensive evaluation of your academic performance by your course instructors. Those students wishing to receive academic credit at their school for their achievements on the Sierra program must have a faculty sponsor at their school review and approve our curriculum. Students seeking academic credit will receive a course description to provide to your academic advisor or science teacher. He or she must approve the Sierra Tropical Marine Science course and determine how much credit you will receive. Sail Caribbean cannot guarantee that you will receive credit from your school but will assist you as necessary to obtain credit.

Who will my crewmates be?

Students join us from all over the country and from around the world. Their ages range from 14 (finishing eighth grade) to 18. Each co-ed boat has 10-12 students of similar age with a balance of girls and boys. On Sierra, our fleet size is 24-36 teenagers. Each day offers sailing and meals with your crew and then activities, electives, and socializing with the entire group.

What kind of boat will I be living on & where do I sleep?

You’ll live and sleep on a modern 43’-46’ foot catamaran which is the ideal platform to accommodate our community and environmental service activities. Each boat has five cabins plus a main salon that can convert to a 6th cabin, four to five heads (bathrooms), and a fully equipped galley. Cabins are mainly used to store your belongings and to change clothes. Most nights the stars are so beautiful and the breeze so refreshing that you’ll set up your hammock or sleeping bag and decide to sleep on deck with the rest of the crew.

More Faqs

Sierra 14-Day

Reviews

“I tried many new things such as scuba diving, sailing and tagged a sea turtle. I loved everything I tried, and met some great people. I was hoping to learn about how we can affect wildlife and reefs in a positive way to keep them healthy. My expectations were definitely met. I learned what I wanted to and more.”

Melanie F., age 13, New York NY

“When I came to the Caribbean, I knew nothing about diving or fish or turtles and I had next to no experience with sailing. But now, I feel confident in how much I learned from the entire experience. Snorkeling at night was really cool. When everyone turned off their flashlights, you could see the bioluminescence and it was just amazing. The different types of fish there are depending on where they live in the ocean really caught my attention. I’m not sure why, but it’s just totally cool how nature allows creatures to adapt according to their living situation. Interestingly enough, the most distinct thing I remember learning is that mosquitoes are corpuscular and parrot fish vary in color a ton from when they are born to when they are fully grown. The friends I made in the entire program definitely come to mind, and also the beautiful islands in the BVI- Cooper, Norman, Virgin Gorda, etc. Today, I still keep in touch with the people I met, and they are still the nicest and funniest people I have ever met. The islands put a smile on my face every day. Whether we were hiking there, having an olympic game there, or just sort of chilling.”

Madelyn M., age 13, Niceville, FL

“Before I came on the trip, I did not know much about marine biology, but I ended up learning a ton about the different types of coral and fish that live in the sea. I just never thought about how intricate marine biology is. I learned how to put myself out there when getting to know other people. Living aboard a sailboat really exposed me to the simple lifestyle. Also, how to live with multiple personalities in a small space. These were just simple life skills that I took with me. We had the essentials we needed to thrive on the boat, but there was nothing extra. Not to mention, living on a boat with 7 other teens my age was a blast. There was everlasting laughter and fun energy throughout the trip at any given time of day.  The greatest challenge was learning to sail and be confident with the decision I was making while I was sailing. I tackled this having trust in my boat mates and just speaking with a loud, clear voice to work on my confidence.”

Tori W., age 15, St. Louis, MO

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