Written by Mia Altenau
Edited by Meredith Evridge
Energy was high this morning as kids woke up from their first (admittedly warm) sleep on the boat. As staff ran around making last-minute departure checks, captains, mates and campers enjoyed a breakfast buffet of bagels, cereal, oatmeal and yogurts. Each crew was given a tour of the boat, pointing out different parts and what they’re for. The crews went through a checklist of things to sort or check before leaving including making sure that the engine is in tip top condition, getting any swimsuits or towels off the deck that could fly away, and closing hatches. Divers were given homework for their chosen certification and all boats rotated through the dive shop. Fitted with a mask and fins for snorkeling, and dive gear for our divers, we all met back on our home boats for a boat picture!
Finally, the fleet set sail, starting with the dedocking of the first boat at 10 AM. The other boats followed, staggered about every fifteen minutes. Students were given lessons on sailing maneuvers, the beginning of hopefully a lifetime interest in sailing. Lessons underway consisted of winch safety, unfurling and furling
the jib, downwind sailing, jibing and using a preventer, and picking up a mooring ball.
Around 2 PM, the fleet was successfully moored at The Bight on Norman Island. With fourteen bright yellow Sail Caribbean flags billowing in the wind, the bay was quite a sight. Campers were then shuttled to shore by dinghy. Open Water divers stayed on shore to complete their swim test and set up gear. Advanced Open Water and Fun divers left with the dive boat for Angel Fish Reef where they were able to appreciate colorful coral and fish. They sharpened their dive skills including clearing masks, retrieving a regulator, and hovering. Meanwhile, campers on shore enjoyed the warm water, white sand beach, and games of spikeball and frisbee. Eventually, the divers returned and enjoyed some beach time as well before everyone returned to boats for showers and a hearty dinner of beef and/or veggie burritos! After dinner and a full boat clean, kids bonded at their second boat meeting of program. The sun set in a beautiful splash of rich, rose gold.
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.