written by Foxtrot/Sierra Captain, Liz Deveau
July 17, 2017
The day begin with the sun rising and the roosters crowing. All of the kids were awake and ready to get the day started right away. We had a breakfast buffet with our usual variety of choices and then we jumped into the day! The divers all went to the dive shop and presented their hard-earned work on PADI eLearning and had their photos taken for their dive courses.
When the divers got back, everyone did a prior-to-first sail lesson on their boats where they learned how to live on a boat, safety and parts of the vessel. Provisioning came shortly after the lesson and a bunch of students jumped up to help divide up food and put food away on their boats. The teamwork was amazing and hugely appreciated! After provisioning was put away, we did a de-docking lesson to prepare for every crew’s departure from the marina on their new boats. All of the brand new skippers of the day de-docked their boats flawlessly with confidence! I think we have quite a few natural sailors in this group!
Our destination for the day was Manchioneel Bay on Cooper Island. While underway, the crews unfurled their jib sheets and got a taste of sailing in the BVIs for the first time! As soon as we were on a mooring ball at Cooper, everyone jumped in the water — we could not wait to get swimming. We did a crew swim test and then ate lunch and made our way to shore. The fun divers on program went to Ginger Steps for their first dive and ended up seeing a shark! Our Open Water students went to shore and worked on confined skills with their dive instructors. Non-divers had a super fun and relaxing beach day. They had the opportunity to go out on stand-up paddleboards and kayaks. Some student munched on ice cream, smoothies and other delicious treats.
When the divers were finished for the day, everyone started heading back to their home boats to get dinner prep underway. Before dinner started, everyone learned how to shower on the boats and enjoyed their first ocean shower. While we were splashing around, we saw a turtle in the mooring field! It was the first turtle sighting of this program and it was only day 2! Everyone jumped in the water and started swimming alongside the marvelous creature.
We later enjoyed our first dinner crew-cooked onboard and it was delicious! Two students made teriyaki chicken stir fry. After dinner and clean up, we all held our second boat meeting and played games to get to know each other. Everyone was super tired after such a long and fun first day on the water, so we went to bed pretty shortly after boat meeting. The stars were shining so brightly overhead and we all fell soundly asleep in anticipation for the day ahead.
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.