written by Mate-In-Training, Megan Lundequam
July 2, 2017
This morning our skipper, mate and navigator of the day were up an hour before the crew for a staff meeting with our Program Director where they received the schedule, notes for the day and every piece of information they would need to take complete charge of the boat. Why? Because today was Challenge Day! The crew was allotted 3 questions total that they could ask the staff on board but besides that they were responsible for anything from actually sailing the boat, trimming the sails, tacking and even de-mooring and mooring to making sure that they were following the schedule, arriving and leaving all destinations on time and cooking and cleaning all meals. They received no help from the staff other than to act as crew when assigned positions and a reminder that something was being forgotten when they heard the phrase “I feel unsafe”.
Once our skipper, mate and navigator returned to the boat after their meeting, they were immediately delegating tasks and initiating breakfast in order to make it to pre-departure checks and drop the ball by 9:30a.m. We had a beautiful sail over to Mountain Point full of reading the wind, tacking and navigating, all resulting in an ahead of schedule arrival.
Once moored at Mountain Point, the crew whipped up some grilled cheese sammies and then hopped in the water and snorkeled over to the magnificent Kodiak Queen. The Kodiak Queen is one of only 5 surviving ships from the attack on Pearl Harbor and thanks to a team of artists, marine biologists, divers and dreamers, it is now sitting at the bottom of the ocean off of the coast of Virgin Gorda. With an enormous 80-foot kraken wrapped around its stern, it serves as both a piece of art and an artificial reef for populations of corals and fish including endangered species of grouper and sharks. The wreck is as beautiful as the story is incredible and our crew had the privilege of spending the afternoon snorkeling the wreck and becoming some of the first couple hundred people to see this historic anomaly as the ship was only sunk in March of this year.
After our snorkel, we relaxed for a bit before jumping back into pre-departure checks, dropping the ball at Mountain Point and heading to the North Sound for the night. Once secured on the ball, Challenge Day officially ended and we all sat down in the cockpit for a debrief. Both crews did an outstanding job and although there is always room for improvement, the students and staff were both so pleasantly surprised with how much they knew.
Soon after, we were back in the water for boat showers and then getting dressed and ready for a nice dinner on Saba Rock. Both Delta boats sat together and bonded over hamburgers and conch fritters before heading back to our respective boats and tucking into bed so we could be well rested for a day at the Bitter End tomorrow.
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.