Written by Claire Lennarz
Edited by Meredith Evridge
A pumped up team of captains, mates, and other staff were ready to greet the next wave of Sail Caribbean campers. As the taxi pulled up to our base in Hodges Creek, we began to wave at the students, welcoming them! As they disembarked the taxi, they gathered around the program director to hear where they’d be assigned for two weeks. A team effort transplanted their bags from the back of the taxi to the docks. All campers began to pour into their catamarans. This program, we had three and they were named Gingembre (Tango), Ormindo (Alpha) and Greuze (Alpha).
The dock was busy with campers setting up colorful hammocks and staff making sure boats had enough water and provisioning. Learning about keeping everything “shipshape,” the campers made sure to line up their shoes neatly alongside their boats. Everyone made sure to call home, letting parents know that they made it safely! Afterwards, phones were stowed in the captain’s cabin.
Dinner was prepared and enjoyed on boats. We all gathered for a “Mike Talk,” a chat with Mike Liese, who is the founder of Sail Caribbean. Mike welcomed everyone and went over the culture of Sail Caribbean, keeping healthy, basics of living on a boat, and the do’s and don’ts of this two week program. Once all the staff were introduced, we were all dismissed for the bedtime routine. Teeth were brushed, showers were taken and we all settled into bed for the night.
This morning, an excited group of Alpha and Tango crew members woke up bright and early on docks in Hodges Creek Marina. The day got off to an early start at 7 AM with a smashing breakfast buffet. This is a favorite breakfast and includes cereal, yogurt, oatmeal, bagels and fresh fruit! After breakfast, the prior to first sailing lesson began where all were orientated on their boats. “This is a winch!” “This is a hatch!” “This is the galley.” Students visited the dive shop to meet dive instructors and get anything they may need for diving or snorkeling. They could also buy cool SC Diver merchandise if they so chose! Soon after, it was time to create a de-docking plan with captains and our fleet captain, Will. Each boat came up with a solid strategy for pulling away. Gingembre was off first, followed by Grueze, and last but not least, Ormindo! Underway, the crew learned how to raise sails and how to pick up a mooring ball. Fun tunes were played and sung along to by all!
After picking up a mooring ball at The Bight, those on lunch prep set up a sandwich bar. Once everyone was feeling refueled and energized, students took their first plunge into the Caribbean sea and everyone passed the swim test! This lead into a busy afternoon of diving, and snorkeling of the Caves for non-divers. We saw tarpon, turtles, sea urchins, needle fish, and other exciting creatures. After a fun few hours, everyone reconvened on home boats for a shower demo, Sail Caribbean style! This simply meant jumping in the sea, coming out and sudsing up with soap, jumping in again, and then finishing with ten seconds of fresh water. We have to be careful with the water usage on board, but everyone needed to make sure they rinse off the saltwater and rinse their ears! Shower time was thoroughly enjoyed by all.
The dinner prep duo then prepared a yummy meal of burritos, complete with colorful peppers, salsa, tomatoes, beans, rice, sour cream, cheese and ground beef. This led into our first boat cleans, during which everyone learned the importance of an organized boat, and teamwork! Finally, each crew had an introduction to boat meeting, which they’d have every evening of program. They got to know each other and their captain and mates better. It was time to power down, and bed time followed soon after, as the Alpha Fleet had an exciting second day!