July 18, 2016
The Delta program was off to an excellent start this morning with many of the students rising before the official 7:00 a.m. wake up time. Everyone on Rioja enjoyed a nice buffet of bagels, yogurts, and cereal to energize them for a busy morning at docks. After breakfast, Rioja students cycled through visiting the dive shop to finalize diving paperwork, receiving a thorough boat walk-through by the Captain and Mate, taking a boat photo, and a lesson on de-docking. As soon as provisioning arrived and was placed on the boat, all dock lines were struck, followed by a flawless de-docking and departure from our home base of Hodges Creek Marina. Rioja was even the first boat of the eight-boat mega-fleet to depart!
Once underway, the crew had a easy, relaxing sail across the Sir Francis Drake Channel to Cooper Island. They picked up a mooring ball immediately jumped in the water for a nice swim together. After lunch, the crew split up to complete various activities. The two Open Water students began their certification process, while the five certified divers went to the dive site, Ginger Steps, where they saw multiple Caribbean blacktip reef sharks! Meanwhile, back at Cooper Island, the four remaining students sailed on our Colgate 27, Opal Bella, with their Captain. As students finished up their separate activities, they had some shore time, during which multiple students enjoyed some cold ice cream and smoothies to cool them off on an especially hot afternoon.
Once back to their boat, the crew of Rioja had their first boat showers and ate delicious burritos during a gorgeous sunset. After a brief boat meeting, the crew settled down for bed, eager already for the following days activities.
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.