Brought to you by the crew of Montlouis
June 21, 2016
The students of Montlouis awoke at 6:30am today because today was challenge day! Our leadership team, Ben as skipper, Georgia as mate, and Nate as navigator, went to a morning staff meeting, where their Program Director Ish gave them the day’s schedule and they received the fleet captain’s briefing on navigation. They returned to their boat and kicked the crew into action for the morning! We had a quick, hearty breakfast, then dropped the ball and set sail for Long Bay.
Ben held the helm all morning, leading the crew through tacks as we beat upwind. The staff sat back and let the students work together to get us to our destination. Maddie, Grace, Daniel and Grant all made use of their sailing skills and stepped up to help Ben hold a close haul and trim the sails properly. Winds were strong today, and our sail was a long one but a fun one! The staff aboard Montlouis were quite proud of how well their students faired without them.
When we finally got to our destination, Lizzie and Maggie stood at the bow to spot and lower the anchor. We set about making greek pita pockets for lunch. The divers, Grant, Nathan, and Ben, went for a truck tour of Tortola after lunch and got to see what the island looks like from land for a change. While they toured, Maggie, Georgia, Lizzie, and Carson snorkeled the sea grass bed while Alex and Maddie jumped off the bow. We had a snack and dance party, and then the divers returned from their tour. They turned around almost immediately to head out for a dive at a site called the Visibles, where they spotted beautiful trigger fish and angelfish. Non-divers swam ashore to beach it for a bit and cruise around on stand up paddle boards.
We all got back to boats in the late afternoon, showered, and headed back ashore for a cookout brought out by Brad from Operations! Hamburgers, hotdogs, veggie burgers, chips, and watermelon were had all around while we played games in the sand and danced to some good tunes. Staff prepared cake for Patrick from the Meursault crew’s birthday, and we all gathered round and sang happy birthday to him! After everyone was thoroughly stuffed on cake, we headed back to boats and debriefed the Challenge Day. Boat meeting concluded and everyone took their crew tests. This is a Sail Caribbean rite of passage that every student takes at the end of program to assess their knowledge garnered on program. Every single student aboard Montlouis passed! Lizzie and Grace also took their Bosun test, the next level of advancement, and they passed those as well! Grant, Grace, Maggie, and Maddie also took their ASA 101 test this evening, and thanks to their hard work over the past two weeks, they all passed their exam and got their certification!
Skills were put to the test today both practically and on paper, and the students of Montlouis stepped up and did an all around phenomenal job. We can’t believe how fast program has gone by, and that we have only one more sail left!
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.