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Early Alpha, Early Charlie, Early Foxtrot, Early Sierra, Day 9 & 10: The Bight, Norman Island

By wpdev June 23, 2021

Written By: Ian Duncan

Day 9

The sun rose gently over the ridge at Manchineel Bay, Cooper Island to shine on the Sail Caribbean fleet moored there.  Once again, the islands chimed in amongst the morning marimba of alarms hailing their slumberers awake. Prior to breakfast, some campers went for a morning snorkel in the clear blue waters before returning back to base for some breakfast sandwiches. The excitement at the breakfast table was palpable everyone was looking forward to diving later that day, but also to head to the next location.

After morning divers were picked up by their instructors, those who weren’t out on the morning performed their vessel’s pre-departure checks and dropped their moorings, waving goodbye to Cooper Island and hello to The Bight on Norman Island. On their sail, campers were reminded of how these same waters used to carry pirates. They saw the same islands, had the same sunsets, and we were living it too… minus the scurvy and buried treasure!

Following a relaxing sail, canvas’ were lowered and crews at the ready, students geared up for another mooring ball pick-up at The Bight. Once all were safely secure, sandwiches were made for lunch and dinghied our next round of divers ashore for their afternoon dive in addition to retrieving our morning’s bubble-blowers. In that group of afternoon divers were our Discover Scuba Divers who many of which, went diving for the first time ever!! With divers swapped, those who weren’t on an afternoon dive, took a short hike up to the Heli-pad and played some games. Once back from the hike, an afternoon on the beach awaited everyone! Some competitive games of beach volleyball and wiffle ball took up most of the afternoon; in addition to some more tubing, wakeboarding and water-skiing, colgate sailing.

Once our afternoon divers returned and had some time to enjoy the beach day as well,  it was back to boats for all to shower and dinner prep a delicious lemon zest pasta! With the last exhale of satisfaction from dinner, crews knew the routine and began the evenings boat clean. Following boat clean, students were once again dinghied back ashore for a social with the whole fleet! Many students reflected on how fun it was to meet more campers from other boats. Towards the end of the social, a wave a yawns were spreading through the crowd to signify the message it was time to head back to boats for a quick boat meeting then a swift power down for the evening.



Day 10

Written by Tim Caruso

Another day at the Bight. Today reflected similarly to yesterday, with a swift morning wake up and pancake breakfast, as a group of divers was slated for a dip in the big blue! Among the morning group of divers, was our next round of Discover Scuba Divers (DSD). Many of which, this was their first time diving!

With our divers ashore, the rest of the late morning was spent relaxing onboard, until it was time for lunch. Following lunch, everyone was once again, dinghied ashore for another beach day! Spending another day ashore was a good stretch for our sailor’s sea-legs. Wakeboarding, water-skiing, wakeskating, and tubing were the water sporting activities our students could partake in. Another round of beach volleyball and wiffle ball was quickly started once campers feet hit the sand.

Those students enrolled in Sierra, tuned into a water-quality testing lesson. But perhaps the best part of their lesson ashore was the squid dissection. Students each had their own squid, and staff talked them through the anatomy and proper direction techniques. With scalpes and scissors in hand, students had a hands on experience learning about one of the oceans interesting underwater creatures.

With the afternoon light quickly fading and divers returned to shore, it was back to boats for dinner as chili cook-off was about to start! Each boat created their own special chili recipe as 4 judges made their way around to determine who in fact, engineered the greatest pot of chili on fleet. The judges are still deliberating and a verdict is eagerly being awaited by the crews. Following chili cook-off, students had social ashore before a quick boat meeting and lights out to prep for tomorrow.

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.