Written By Hannah von Bernthal
After a windy night on the mooring balls at Cooper Island Beach Club, we awoke to a beautiful sunrise looking northwest across the Sir Francis Drake Channel. Our bellies were ready for a hearty breakfast after the previous day on larger swell seas. Our breakfast cooks whipped up bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches on bagels, and we were ready to take on the day ahead of us.
The students were both excited and nervous for our first activity of the day – a long fin squid dissection! The lesson included many interesting facts about their anatomy, including how they use water propulsion to swim, where they store their ink, how their chromatophores change color in response to their environment, and how they use suction at the ends of their tentacles for gripping their prey. This lesson was easily a highlight of the day! Afterward, we cleaned the boat, made plans for our de-mooring maneuver, and began our pre-departure checks. Once we successfully de-moored and left the bay, our skipper of the day assigned roles for raising our sails. We were off to The Bight on Norman Island!
Our sail to Norman was a breeze, as we were able to hold a broad reach the whole way through the channel. We arrived in the bay at 12pm, and our lunch prep team made a refreshing Mediterranean couscous salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, and fresh lemon. The open water, advanced open water, and fun divers had their first day with the Sail Caribbean Divers, and had a great time learning the ropes on a dive close to shore in The Bight. The rest of us spent some time snorkeling in the bright blue waters before heading to shore for a fleet-wide hike to a heli-pad atop Norman Island, where we were met with panoramic views of Windward Sound and The Bight. The breeze felt great as we played team-building games, shared many laughs, and got to know one another even better.
After the games, we headed back down to the shore in The Bight and had a beach day with new friends. We tossed frisbees and volleyballs and enjoyed refreshing dips in the water. Then we headed back to our boats for boat showers and dinner prep. During dinner prep, we were lucky enough to catch a magical moment when a GIANT eagle ray with a wingspan of ~4 feet wide swam right by our boat! Our dinner team made a delicious home-cooked meal of jerk chicken, mashed potatoes, and broccoli, and we reflected on another great day in the Caribbean.
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.