Written by Ava Zockoll and Stasia Babicki
Edited by Meredith Evridge
This morning, we woke up to a gorgeous sunrise at Little Harbor, and immediately got breakfast on the table for a fun-packed day to come! Our fleet’s Open Water divers were picked up by the dive boat to continue working on their certifications, while the rest of the fleet headed to Greuze to have a turtle lesson. They then snorkeled around and looked for turtles, since Little Harbor is known as a hotspot for them. After the snorkel, it was time to upanchor and sail to Cooper Island Beach Club.
Upon arrival at Cooper Island, the skippers on each boat assigned someone to hook the mooring ball and two people to tie it off on the starboard and port sides. Once everyone was secure, they could all swap their life jackets with swimsuits. The Open Water divers returned as a delicious lunch of quesadillas was being served. The students are loving cooking for their boat, taking pride and ownership in the flavors of each dish. They’re picking up new skills even in the galley! After lunch was cleared away, our Open Water divers headed out once again to continue diving while our Discover scuba divers got to go into the water for the first time. Everyone else had plenty of shore time to get ice cream, shop in the boutique, swim around, tube or wakeboard, and get time on the kayaks and stand up paddle boards. There was something for everyone at Cooper!
As dinnertime got closer, the divers all returned and all the boats had showers and dinner prep. Dinner was amazing, consisting of barbecued chicken and mashed potatoes. Lots of butter in those spuds made everyone’s tummies satisfied. The Advanced Open Water and FUN divers got to partake in a night dive afterwards. A boat meeting was the last thing on the docket, and then we all headed to sleep for the night. Overall, the day was action-packed and successful!
Today, we woke up at Cooper Island Beach Club. As we ate breakfast, we watched in awe as many green sea turtles surfaced. Every time a turtle is spotted, the reaction it gains is equal to that of a celebrity sighting. Everyone immediately stops what they are doing and focuses on these fascinating creatures. Sometimes they hang around for a few minutes, and it is a treat to be able to observe them. After breakfast, all the divers went diving (Advanced, Open Water and Discover scuba diving). There was only a handful of students that did not spend their morning exploring the great depths, so they were gathered on one boat. They were aboard the boat “Jelliblu,” and they had a peaceful motor to Great Harbor. It was a short journey, and they had a lesson on how to tie bowlines, cleat hitches and clove hitches.
As they arrived in Great Harbor, they were waiting for the divers to return so they spent some time swimming around and hanging out with each other. They didn’t have to wait long before they saw the majestic dive boat heading their way. As all campers were returned to their home boats, a deluge fell upon the fleet and everyone enjoyed the rain! All the campers were delighted with a nice cool rain shower to dance around in and play. The simplest things in life often bring the biggest contentment. It is also lovely to experience these things as a group, bringing everyone closer.
Those on lunch prep prepared a truly edible lunch of mac and cheese, along with some leftovers. After we were all full, our engines rumbled to life once more and we headed towards Nanny Cay. This would be our final destination for the evening. Underway, campers were taught how to dock! Each boat talked together about the best way to approach the docks of Nanny Cay, and all boats in the fleet did a miraculous job putting this new knowledge to use. The staff were super impressed.
As soon as all lines were fast, the boats received their fair share of water and soap. Effort from all was put in, ensuring that their living space was being taken care of. After boats were clean, campers had the opportunity to call home and briefly use their phones. They caught up with their various social media platforms and connected with those they loved! Once all phones were returned safely to the captains, everyone went for a stroll along the docks and got to check out the shops and air-conditioned showers of Nanny Cay.
For dinner, boats made a delicious pasta dish. After dinner, all the boats mingled and hung out, bouncing between boats. We were all stationed at the end of the dock so it was quite nice to be together and have the ability to hang out. Our watches let us know in a neighborly way that bedtime was nigh, so after a calm boat meeting, all went to bed.
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.