Written by Grace Fogarty, Mate (Boat: Tonga)
We woke up this morning after a windy night’s sleep at The Bight, Norman Island. After a delicious breakfast of eggs and home fries, the Advanced Open Water and Open Water SCUBA students departed for a morning dive. Those who were not diving headed over to nearby caves for a snorkel. As we jumped in for the snorkel, the crystal clear water came alive with schools of tropical fish, coral formations, and funky-shaped sea sponges. Sophia especially liked getting an up close look at the vibrant rainbow parrotfish and peeking into the mysterious cave networks.
Following our exciting morning, the Advanced Open Water Students rejoined us for a lunch of chicken caesar salad wraps before going ashore for a hike and beach clean. As we reached the top of Norman Island, the turquoise waters of the bay on the opposite side came into view and we all paused for a moment to rest and to take in the beauty before us. We continued our hike down to a beach on the island’s Atlantic side for a community service-focused beach clean. Caroline thought that hike time was a nice chance to hangout with students from other boats and all of the Tonga crew had fun with some newfound friends. Before beginning the clean, we had a lesson on marine debris and the impact of pollution on our beautiful planet. Sylvie particularly enjoyed this part of the day and felt that the lesson was eye opening.
After this eventful afternoon, the Open Water divers returned from their dive-packed day. They filled everyone in on the three dives they did and the skills they learned over the course of the day, including setting up their gear, clearing their mask of water, and how to buddy breathe. Layne said that diving was surreal and he was grateful to participate in this once in a lifetime experience.
As the sun set, Advanced Open Water students set off again for a night dive. With his underwater torch in hand, Cooper left excited to see how the navigation skills he learned during his morning dive would apply in the nighttime setting. We closed out another wonderful Sail Caribbean day with a dinner of tacos, boat clean, and a boat meeting complete with hot cocoa to warm up the night divers and more of our usual hilarious games.
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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.