Written by Sinéad Power (Day 7)
Edited by Meredith Evridge
As the sun rose over Nanny Cay, the students readied themselves for Challenge Day. This is one of the most important days of program in which the captains and mates of each boat take a step back. The students take over the boat and only receive help or suggestions if the captains and mates feel unsafe in some way. Before most of the crew was awake, the two sets of “skipper, mate and navigator” were already meeting with our program director to receive the schedule, navigation instructions and present their dedocking plans. Meanwhile, the remaining crew got themselves out of bed to prepare a breakfast buffet. Over breakfast, those that had been in the meeting with the program director that morning shared everything they’d learned for the day ahead! Before departure, students enjoyed some time ashore to use air conditioned bathrooms and buy some last minute snacks ahead of the sail.
Next, it was time for pre-departure checks. Our students performed a smooth dedocking and got under sail. Captains and mates sat back and watched as students took the helm and raised the sail. Lunch of pitas was eaten underway. After spending some time passing back and forth on a beam reach between Hodges Creek and Cooper Island, campers brought us to our destination, Marina Cay.
Once on a mooring ball at Marina Cay, both Delta crews gathered on Mayotte for a lesson on jacklines and emergency procedures for the down island sail. This was followed by some chill time for socializing. Relaxation didn’t last long as students got back to boats for shower time and Chili Cookoff prep! Themes were created, chili was cooked, and out of town guests were greeted. After a presentation of the chili, the judges assessed three main areas; the sniff test, the plop test, and the taste test. After much hooplah, we bid our guests adieu and gladly tucked into our batch of chili. Boat clean and boat meeting were next, including a Challenge Day debrief. Everyone had learned a few things they did well and some points to work on for following sails. They also learned the importance of working together well and using the collective knowledge of the boat, rather than defaulting to ask the captains and mates for help. Proud of what they’d learned, the boat fell quiet as exhausted staff and students alike fell into bed. It was an early night to maximize energy for a big day tomorrow!
Spending the morning at Marina Cay, there was much to do before this afternoon’s departure. Breakfast was held as Mayotte and Vanuatu reviewed their to-do list for the day. Scarfing down a breakfast of pancakes with optional add-ins of chocolate chips, everyone was filled to the brim. They were ready to get some work done. Both boats had a thorough organizing session, making sure everything was in its place. The last of the provisioning had to be collected and sorted. Luckily, the sound systems had plenty of tunes pumping through, making the work feel fun! The boats were refueled and water tanks topped up. As they had already went over emergency procedures the day before, they were ahead of schedule. The sun was high in the sky and all put down their tools for turkey pita pesto melts. Enjoying sitting in the clean and organized cockpit, students and staff relaxed.
Marina Cay is quite a nice little spot to go stretch one’s legs, so captains and mates dinghied the campers ashore. There, they could wander around the lush greenery of the island, enjoying the sandy shores, the cafe with yummy drinks, and Pusser’s at the top of the hill. Pusser’s is a Caribbean specialty shop, English in nature. It is a frequent stop for generations of Sail Caribbeaners with its well designed t-shirts, jackets, and other unique items. While this was going on, our program director was at immigration, making sure our exit from the BVI went smoothly.
Back to boats, the Deltoids could see the other students settling into the mooring field and heading for a snorkel. They waved to each other, Mega Fleet wishing the Deltoids fare winds! The dinghy was raised and secured at the stern, and off they went. Heading down island for what were to be countless memorable adventures that they would look forward to relaying to Mega Fleet upon returning! The first stop would be Ille Fourchue!