witten by Bravo/Charlie mate, Megan Lundequam
July 17, 2017
Today, was our first official day of program and it began in typical Sail Caribbean fashion- action packed! We were up and eating breakfast at 7:30a.m. and immediately turning it all around and heading to the Sail Caribbean Divers dive shop by 8:00a.m. to get our divers ready for their certifications. We have students pursuing their Open Water, Advanced Open Water, Rescue, Various specialties, and we even have two students earning their Dive Master! So, needless to say, the dive shop was very busy getting everyone’s pictures taken for their certification cards and making sure everyone had all the right information they would need. Thanks to a very hardworking and amazing dive staff and an incredibly organized rotation schedule, we were able to get everyone in and out- and load up the boats with provisioning- in time to de-dock and set off for Cooper Island Beach Club by 10:30a.m.
We had a relatively quick sail across the Francis Drake Chanel and managed to get in a few lessons to introduce life on a sailboat and some of the maneuvers and positions associated with sailing. Because it was such a short trip, we only unfurled the jib but we had ample time to talk through the process and begin to familiarize the students with different parts of the sail and the boat and how they function. In addition to a short sailing lesson, we also had a lesson on picking up mooring balls as we were going to have to implement what we had learned only minutes later as Cooper Island Beach Club sits on the shore of a mooring field.
Although it may have seemed to the students as though there was no way they could retain all that they had learned and then perform, they surprised themselves with perfect mooring ball pickups – perfect in the sense that we were all so pleased with their performance but we also had a great amount to talk about and work on. Immediately following our debrief of the sail and the mooring ball pick-up, we launched into lunch prep in order to get our divers fed and shuttled to the dive boat by 1:30p.m. It was a busy mooring field for about 20 minutes considering all Open Water divers, Advanced Open Water divers, Dive Master students and fun divers were all loading up on dive boats, but we all got their safely and timely and before we knew it ,they were off on their next adventure.
The non-divers had and equally exciting afternoon as they were able to head to shore after the divers were dropped off and during that time, they rented stand-up paddle boards and kayaks, swam around with turtles in the mooring field, and enjoyed iced coffee and ice cream from debatably the greatest café in the BVIs.
At about 4:30p.m., our divers were returning from their dives and our Open Water students were finishing up their afternoon lessons so we began shuttling crews back to boats to begin to wind down for the day. At around this time, each day we begin showers but before we could get started, we needed a quick shower demo. Because these boats are our homes and we can only take so much with us, one of the messages we really stress here at Sail Caribbean is conservation and that especially applies to fresh water. For that reason, we take our showers in the ocean and follow them with a freshwater rinse to get the salt off our skin. But, in order to give a proper demo, we needed our shower models to be properly filthy, so after covering our models with whatever food items we had to spare, such as mustard yogurt and even an egg or two, they displayed what a proper Sail Caribbean boat shower looked like and afterwards, everyone else hopped in and followed suit.
Shortly after, dinner prep was underway and during that time our crew was completing various other daily chores such as scrubbing the decks and cockpit. Finally, we all sat down for a delicious dinner of teriyaki chicken stir fry as we debriefed what an action-packed day it was. Although it was all fun, it was still a day of firsts and absolutely filled with learning and adjusting. Our brains and bodies were exhausted and, after a relatively brief boat meeting considering how tired we all were, we all grabbed our hammocks and sheets and headed straight to bed, falling asleep the minute our heads hit our pillows.
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.