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Meet Our Early Alpha Adventure Leadership Team

By wpdev June 8, 2017

James “Ish” Alexander
Program Director
King of Prussia, PA

Ish graduated from Prescott College in 2015 with a degree in Psychology and Adventure Education. His degree came after spending a busy four years tramping and camping around the Arizona desert and much of the western United States. Since graduating from school he has kept himself busy surfing, skiing, rafting, rock climbing, stargazing, camp firing, and dancing! Over the last couple of years he has split time between the BVI, Arizona, California, and Alaska! He is excited to return for another summer with SC before moving down to the islands full time in the fall!

Alex Polli
Program Director
Northport, NY

Alex spent the past year living in the San Francisco Bay Area working for a non-profit which provides free home repair for low income homeowners. She spent almost every weekend sailing on the bay or hiking in all of the beautiful parks California has to offer. Alex graduated from Penn State University in 2016 with a degree in Psychology. She sailed for the Penn State Sailing team for all four years and served as Commodore in 2015. Having lived on the water all her life, Alex grew up sailing since she was 7 and attended Sail Caribbean as a student from 2008 until 2012. In September, Alex starts her Master’s degree in Education with a focus in School Counseling at Seattle University.

Michael Harrington
Gorey, Ireland

Growing up in Ireland, Mike became a Sailing Instructor in 2007.  Having taught in Ireland for a few years, he discovered he could use his instructor certifications as an international passport to travel and adventure.  Since then he has enjoyed working in the US, Australia and Canada.  Graduating in 2014 with a BSc in Environmental Biology from University College Dublin, Mike decided that real jobs were for grownups and moved to Whistler, BC to become a ski instructor.  He is looking forward to seeing what the Caribbean has to offer this year!

Trevor Gardner
Ottawa, Canada

Trevor was born and raised in Ottawa, Canada and grew up on or under the water. He first took part in Sail Caribbean in 2010 as a camper and fell in love with the lifestyle. He has been living around the Caribbean for the last 5 years working as a Dive Instructor. He is looking forward to long sails this summer the most!


Emily Graf
Albuquerque, NM

Emily started diving in 2013 and quickly developed a passion for marine life. She is currently living in Tortola working as a PADI Scuba Instructor year round. Growing up in New Mexico (a state with no oceans), she is grateful to have been introduced to the ocean in such an exhilarating way! Emily obtained her B.A. in Environmental Studies at the University of Redlands in California, and worked as an environmental scientist for many years before she discovered her affection for scuba diving and marine life. She loves to travel, experience new cultures, observe wildlife, and laugh a lot! Scuba diving has become one of her biggest passions along with yoga, mountain biking, and bird watching. Emily hopes to inspire people to love and conserve our oceans by sharing what she has learned about the magical underwater world.

Erika Florian
Southington, CT

Erika is in her third year studying Nutrition & Dietetics at Montana State University in Bozeman. She grew up ski racing in the winters and sailing in the summers. Erika is a certified Wilderness First Responder along with a Rescue Scuba Diver, and hopes to further her education in the medical field. She has traveled all over the globe — from teaching English in Cambodia, to serving two months aboard a tall ship, to being appointed as a Watch Captain teaching coastal sailors the skills of offshore sailing. Her favorite motto is “Learn to live, live to learn” and is excited to share all of her experiences with you both in, out, and on the water!

Richard Thomsom
Oban, United Kingdom

Growing up on the west coast of Scotland, Richard began sailing at age 5. He enjoyed yachting trips to explore the Hebrides and a childhood that revolved around water sports, including racing with the local sailing club. Richard discovered a love for teaching sailing in 2014 when he worked as a sailing instructor in Massachusetts. He loves being around the water — a day on or in it is always a great day! He enjoys windsurfing, water-skiing and kayaking, while other (non-aquatic) interests include painting, photography and piano. In 2016, he graduated from the Architecture Faculty at the University of Edinburgh, and completed his RYA Day Skipper Sailing Certificate. He currently lives in Germany and is very excited to begin at Sail Caribbean this summer!

Addie Benthien
Provisions Manager
Basking Ridge, NJ

Addie grew up in New Jersey and graduated from Elon University in 2014. She has spent her post-graduate life pursing her biggest passions: health & wellness and the great outdoors. Addie is a certified Wilderness First Responder and has been an Adventure Guide for the Philadelphia Outward Bound School and Frost Valley, YMCA. She is also a certified Personal Trainer and is excited about the challenge of staying active while living on a boat. Time to get creative!

Courtney Sarik
ASA Instructor
Manassas, VA

Growing up in Northern Virginia, Courtney enjoys all elements of the outdoors. She graduated from George Mason University in 2013 with a degree in Psychology and a minor in Intelligence Analysis. This coming fall, she will start her journey at medical school to become a Physical Therapy assistant. Her true love for the outdoors lies not only within her own adventures but also in inspiring and teaching others. Ever since she could walk, her feet were on skis and snow, and in the summers, she would backpack and sail. As a certified ski instructor, ASA sailing instructor, PADI OW Diver, and a licensed USCG Captain, Courtney is always looking for the next skill that she can learn and teach. On days off, she will go kayaking or hiking, but truly loves to bake up some incredible desserts!

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.