Written by Joss Myers
Edited by Meredith Evridge
The dawn of day nine signaled the start of Challenge Day for all our intrepid campers. During Challenge Day, the staff aboard our vessels hand over the running of the vessel to the campers. The campers are allowed to ask their captains and mates only three questions throughout the day. It is not uncommon for all the questions to be used before breakfast has even finished, due to campers being accustomed to this constant resource!
The day started early with the captain, mate and navigator of each crew assembling for a meeting on our staff boat. There, we went over the specifics of the day and reminded the sailors that we had full trust in their abilities to take over the boats! Our sail would be after lunch. So, after everyone had breakfast on their own boats, we had our first group of divers depart, and we motored quickly to Marina Cay for a mooring ball swap. There was a chance for a short trip to shore before the second group of divers left for a dive at the Chimneys. If the reports are to be believed, they may have spotted a “fifty pound lobster” underwater. While our second group of divers were exploring the underwater world, all other campers were taking part in a snorkel and reef clean on Diamond Reef. Once everyone was back to their boats, around 1:30, we dropped our mooring balls and began our Challenge Day sail to Mountain Point. It was a joy to see our campers of all ages rise to the challenge of sailing a large cruising catamaran between Caribbean islands. The sail went amazingly well, with our staff barely having to step in on some boats. The skippers of each boat led their crew strongly and the navigators kept everyone on track. The most important thing to have today was communication, and we nailed it. We headed into wind, getting our sails up. As the skipper handled the helm, the crew members kept them company. It was one of our longest sails, and everyone was extra alert! As Mountain Point came into view and anchors were dropped, many cheers could be heard echoing around the marina! They did it-together!
Today was a big day for everyone. It was valuable for the budding sailors to learn what skills they needed to develop, and to celebrate the ones they had mastered. The captains of each boat led the nightly boat meeting with an overview of the day. All of our campers felt pride today because though they were nervous as they set sail, they soon discovered an inner capability that they may not have known they had. There is nothing so strong as a cohesive team, working towards the same goal!
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.