written by Alpha mate, Erika Florian
July 16, 2017
Today was my favorite day, Challenge Day! We have officially handed over the boat to the kids. They were allowed three questions as a group for the whole day, while the Captain and Mate stand idle by and let them put everything they’ve learned to good use. In addition to Challenge Day, it was also the Olympics! A boat-to-boat competition of both Alpha boat crews versus the Tango crew.
After breakfast and clean, the students promptly dropped the mooring ball and began our quick motor over to Sandy Cay where the Olympics would take place. While under way, we decorated a pillow case to use as our flag to represent us in the Olympic Games competition. In less then a half hour, we were on the ball at Sandy Cay, a beautiful little island which once hosted Captain Jack Sparrow and a bottle of rum. Gathering what we needed, we swam and dinghied ashore, hoisting our flag high in honor.
The first activity was a fender relay race; it was so much fun to see everyone laughing hysterically running in fins and a snorkel. Next, it was “burry your mate,” which we also had to come up with a inventive story to accompany. Alpha definitely came up with quite creative stories. Third, we competed in tug-of-war, and were surprisingly beat by the little Tangos! Lastly, but not least, we performed a synchronized swimming routine which we were given ten minutes to come up with.
After Olympics were over, we headed back to boats for lunch before our big Challenge Day sail. When lunch was finished, we dropped the ball and headed out into the channel. With captain and mate as simply observers, the kids took the boat into their own hands, raising the sails, finding their destination, setting the proper course, and making sure all was in order from sailing the vessel to running their schedule. The counselors acted like campers trying to get them to catch unsafe behavior, and they all were remarkable at catching all of our tricks!
After a sail of about 4 hours, we arrived safely and soundly at our mooring for the night, White bay on Guana Island. With not much daylight left in the day, we immediately jumped in and started with showers and dinner prep. We made the most amazing batch of tacos, cleaned up the boat, and officially ended Challenge Day at the start of boat meeting. We had a few things to discuss regarding what our crews still need to work on, but overall, the students did an absolutely amazing job at running the boat for the whole day! They have a newfound deeper appreciation for all that it take to truly run the boat everyday. It was an incredible Challenge Day, and they are all excited to take on more responsibility on the boat for the rest of the program.
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.