Written and edited by Meredith Evridge
As our eyes opened and wandered over to the landscape (or through the hatches, for those below deck) we smiled, realizing again where we were. The scenery was breaktaking. There was nothing unsightly about where we had found ourselves.
Today was Challenge Day. The skipper, mate and navigator of each boat dropped by the staff boat to go over the day. The budding sailors would be taking over the boat, working together as a team to sail to Mountain Point. The fleet captain reminded everyone that this is what we had been working towards and that they all had what it took! After going over the navigation that would be involved and announcing that they’d have only three questions per boat, the campers returned to their boats for breakfast. Before we set sail, we planned to go ashore for a morning on the beach!
All campers were ashore by 8:30. We hopped into trucks for the quick ride to Anegada Beach Club. Pulling up to our morning destination, we surveyed the scene. Noting hammocks, a bar with virgin daiquiris, a small pool and a trail to the beach, everyone happily skipped off and settled in. The waiters and waitresses were busy juggling with blenders and waffle makers. We must have ordered one of everything on the menu!
Gathering on the beach around 10:30, we listened to a lesson put on by one of our mates, Jackie, who is also an avid marine ecology and environmental science lover! She taught us a bit about the origins of Anegada and had a few different varieties of coral to show us.
We had a bit more beach time and opportunity to order some food if wanted. We then headed back to the trucks for the ride back. We dusted the sand off our feet and got into the dinghies.
Arriving back at home boats, we got everything ready to depart. Challenge Day had officially begun. Those that had been in the morning meeting briefed everyone on how things would go during this sail. Life jackets were donned and positions were assigned. We started off towards our destination. The students had taken over the boat, and were doing well considering that some had just begun learning how to sail a mere nine days before. The staff stood by alertly, only stepping in when necessary.
Our campers did well, asking their teammates for help instead of counselors. It was hard to remember but soon everyone was working together cohesively! The goal had been reached. We arrived at Mountain Point, proud of each boat. It isn’t easy to run a catamaran but our kids were well on their way to being competent sailors. We anchored and jumped in the water. Boat showers ensued as the scent of chili wafted through the air. It was Chili Cookoff night. Each boat prepared their own version of chili and by 730, our special judges had arrived to see how they had done. Each boat had their own theme and it was a blast for the judges to experience the creativity of each team! The chili, for the most part, tasted great! There was one particularly salty batch but it didn’t seem to faze the kids who made it. They ate every bite.
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.