written by Delta students, Rachel Monheit and David Dayan (on Rioja)
July 26, 2017
After a day of relaxing and recovering from the night sail, the crews of Rioja and Xeres faced another test, Challenge Day! The day is based around the idea that the crews could prove to themselves that they had fully absorbed the lessons of the previous ten days with minimal staff assistance. The day started with an early 6:30a.m. wake up, and the students had to take it upon themselves to get both themselves and the staff up and ready on time. The crews then completed the pre-departure checks and up anchored from Marigot Bay on St. Martin.
Both boats motored for about an hour and then raised sails by themselves, having already plotted their courses earlier in the day. The boats sailed from St. Martin to Ile Fourchue, where they dropped their sails and picked up mooring balls in the beautiful harbor. Following a quick debrief of the sail, the crews made and ate lunch and then went off to explore the island and the waters surrounding it. Campers swam with sea turtles and an assortment of fish, and they also had the opportunity to hike to the various peaks on the island. The blues of the water contrasted beautifully with the greens and browns of the island and its cliffs. The campers loved the island so much that the crews decided to stay the night at Ile Fourchue instead of continuing on to St. Barth’s. In fact, some of the campers claimed that this was their favorite spot in the Caribbean so far.
After a great afternoon, we all helped to clean our boats and then had a relaxed evening, enjoying chicken burritos and good music. After dinner, some of the campers went for another hike on the island to enjoy the golden sunset. When everyone finally returned to their boats, the crews relaxed as Challenge Day officially came to a close, and the day ended with boat meetings for both crews.
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.