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Early Alpha, Charlie, Foxtrot and Sierra 2019, Days 1 & 2: Arrival and Venturing to Cooper Island

By wpdev June 11, 2019

Written by Emily “Moose” Mussio

With the first programs of summer finally kicking off after a ten day session of staff training, each member of our staff lined up ready to welcome the students. After a long day of travel via airplane and ferry, they were quite excited to arrive to our base at Hodges Creek Marina. After each boat gathered to meet and greet (and squeal as in the case of some returners), everyone dished up at the dinner buffet of chicken, rice and coleslaw, and brought it back on board to continue getting to know their crew and boat. As the sun went down and the pajamas were brought out, our director Mike had all the students gather for a quick orientation. He welcomed everyone warmly and went over Sail Caribbean culture. It was an early bedtime, for the morning would bring the first of many new experiences.

This morning began bright and early with a wakeup of 7:00 am, and a delicious breakfast buffet. As breakfast began to wrap up, we went straight to putting the galley back in order. At 8:00am, we began doing dive shop rotations to ensure everybody was registered for their desired courses. After the visit to the dive shop, we began doing “prior to first,” in order to have a general understanding of how the boat works before we got underway. Once all that house-keeping activity was out of the way, we left Hodges Creek and began our sail to Cooper Island Beach Club. Underway, we reviewed sail raising, points of sail, and how to pick up a mooring ball, and enjoyed some fresh sandwiches. We arrived at Cooper just in time to bring all of our Fun divers, Open Water divers, and Advanced Open Water divers to shore. While the open water divers were ashore learning all of the scuba basics, and the advanced open water divers were busy seeing sharks and turtles, the rest of us were getting a marine biology lesson on fish in the area. After the lesson, we did a short snorkel at Cistern Rock where we put our new fish knowledge to practice. The sun was bright and illuminated the underwater exploring. Once all students were back on their respective boats, we had some time to hang out, swim, chat, and have cannon-ball competitions. Next up on the agenda was our first boat shower which then lead to prepping some mouth-watering burritos. After enjoying dinner together, we cleaned the boat and enjoyed some True Course games during our first boat meeting as a crew.

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.