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Delta 1, Day 15 & 16: Statia, Sunken Ship Diving, and Saba!

By wpdev July 9, 2019
Written by Julian Reda (Day 15)
Edited by Meredith Evridge

We awoke early so we could start our preparations for the long sail to St. Eustatius.  After breakfast, we waved goodbye to Percy and the beautiful island of St. Kitts.  See you hopefully again! The sail to St. Eustatius, or Statia, took about five hours, and was a calm downwind sail.

Upon arrival in Oranje Baai, Statia, we headed ashore to explore the town of Oranjestad.  Once we reached the top of the cliff that the town is situated on, we entered Fort Oranjestad.  In November of 1776, Fort Oranjestad was the first foreign nation to recognize the independence of the United States.  It fired its cannons in response to a salute by a passing American brig. It was very interesting to learn about!

Once we returned to boats, it was time for showers and dinner prep of burritos.  After the delicious dinner that filled us to the brim, we conducted the daily thorough boat clean and then had our nightly boat meeting.

We fell fast asleep under the stars.

Written by Sinéad Powers (Day 16)
Edited by Meredith Evridge

Day sixteen dawned with a 7 AM wakeup for our Delta students. While staff were busy preparing snacks, lunches, etc., our students had a sleepy start. Once breakfast buffet was complete and everyone was awake, we began to shuttle everyone ashore. Divers gathered and got ready for their two tank dive at Chien Tong and STENAPA Reef/Wreck City (these are several sunken ships that are prime for diving!). They saw stingrays, sea turtles, sharks, and even an octopus.

Meanwhile, Delta’s non-diving contingent were busy hiking “The Crater” at the national park. It was a steep, woodland walk where we saw lizards and hermit crabs, topped off with a fantastic view directly into the crater of a dormant volcano called The Quill.

Afterwards, we rewarded ourselves with a trip to the grocery store for some snacks and sodas before shuttling back to boats. Here, there was little time to waste as pre-departure checks and lunch prep ran concurrently.

A content, full crew upanchored from Oranjestaad, St. Eustatia and set sail for Saba – the final down island destination. Strong, favorable winds meant a shorter sail (four hours) while we traveled on a broad reach, needing to jibe only once. We arrived to an incredible first impression of Saba: thick, green forest rolling to the edge of a rough, grey cliff, while clouds envelope the highest peak. It was something akin to Jurassic Park.

Mooring ball secure, we settled into our home for the evening with a dinner of chicken, potato wedges and mixed vegetables. Students jumped to boat clean and prepared a picnic lunch for tomorrow, interrupted by a short break to examine the med kid and queue to have their blood pressure taken!

Both boats gathered for a movie night. Benchwarmers was the film of choice. We enjoyed fried plantains, cinnamon pineapple and had a rare treat of sodas. Our sleepy students gladly shuttled back to boats, seeking hammocks and other desirable sleeping spots before another crewmate claimed them. The lights went out on Zanzibar and Mayotte, and all was quiet except for the lapping of the sea.

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.