written by Early Alpha mate, Erika Florian
June 10, 2017
Today started out a bit gloomy as far as weather is concerned; it rained all night and pretty much on and off all day, which is really unusual for down here. We had a buffet breakfast on board with bagels, cereal, yogurt — the works! Then we had a fleet meeting with Mike Liese to introduce the staff and talk about some do’s and dont’s.
All of the scuba diving students got their photos taken at the dive shop, and then had an official introduction to their new homes, their boats! We did a crash course on what to call everything above and below decks, even how to check the engine. Then, we finally headed off docks by noon!
We sailed over to Cooper Island Beach Club from Hodges Creek Marina. All of the students got to learn how to raise the sails and the designated skipper of the day got to steer the boat at the helm the whole way! Once we got to Cooper, we all worked as a team to pick up a mooring ball, and all the divers got to head to shore for their first lesson.
When one of the mates showed everyone how to tie a secondary on the mooring line (which entails tying a bowline under water on the mooring chain and connecting it to the boat), we saw a sting ray just hanging out at the bottom! He was so cool, about three to four feet wide. We also saw a huge super old green sea turtle when we were picking up a mooring so that was really cool for all of us.
Once everyone got back to the boat, we all got to go swimming and have some bonding time with our boat. Things got a lot more laid back and all the students are getting much more comfortable with boat life. We did a Rose Bud Thorn with Oreos for our nightly boat meeting to spruce things up a bit, and then played some card games to end the night.
Overall, we have an amazingly great group of students, and all of the staff are very excited to teach them all more about sailing, to go scuba diving with them, and just getting to know them all in general!
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.