written by Alpha mate, Zosha Wiktor
July 5, 2017
Today, we woke up in Long Bay after a much needed sleep-in. The entire fleet slept soundly after the previous days activities and beautifully laid anchors. We had a hearty breakfast buffet with oatmeal, bagels and eggs to keep us going for the full day ahead. When the meal was over, all our staff mates of the fleet swapped boats for the morning sail for a change of scenery and for crews to learn from a different voice and mind. The students loved getting to know the other mates better and the mates were overly excited to do the same with the students. After the swap, the fleet prepared their ships for Race day!
Our race course was set to circumnavigate Guana Island. The first boat to complete the course, pick up the mooring ball, and tie a secondary line to the mooring chain would win the race, claiming the bragging rights of the Race day title. The three boats racing were the two Alpha boats, Montlouis and GP3, and the Tango boat, Miss You. The day was a beautiful day for a race, although the wind a little shifty coming around the small, round island. Everyone had a blast pumping up the competitive spirit. Some boats actually surfed waves coming round the north side of Guana and Montlouis reached a top speed of 10.9 knots! Though all the boats did a fabulous job, Miss You came in as the victor claiming bragging rights while GP3 came in second with Montlouis closely behind them.
After the race, the mates returned to their home boats for the crews to have some time to relax and enjoy some lunch. After our meal, the fleet participated in a coral watch survey to monitor the health of surrounding coral. When reef habitats become unsuitable for coral, they start to slowly die and lose their color – this is called coral bleaching. Students can test the health of the color with color indicator cards and see which color best matched the color and record the data. This coral watch project counted towards the fleets community service hours.
After the snorkel, we started to prepare our chili for the annual chili cook off! Boats were decorated, skits were prepared and chili was delicious. We tried our best to impress the judges and pass the smell, taste, and plop tests of the chili. Montlouis even made a vegetarian option for a veggie judge.
One last thing the fleet did today was a bioluminescence splash! Bioluminescence is when something in nature produces its own light. In the ocean, phytoplankton produces its own light when stimulated by a disturbance in the water. The fleet turned off their lights and even though the moon shined bright, students saw the twinkling phytoplankton as instructors splashed around brooms and buckets of themselves into the water. On Montlouis, I myself jumped in and swam deep into the water as students could still see me illuminated in the water. It was a great ending to a fabulous day!
Enjoy photos from our 4th of July celebration!
The greatest challenge during the program was staying entertained during the quarantine period. Not being able to leave your boat and not having a phone, which was a crutch against boredom, it was difficult at first to stay entertained.