Written and edited by Allie Faulkner

Day 9

Today was challenge day! Challenge day is when the staff takes a step back allowing the students to take control of the boat. They are given the schedule for the day and the location of our next destination and are only allowed to ask the staff 3 questions. They must sail, keep the schedule, and cook and clean without being prompted. It is a great opportunity to show the students what  they are capable of and allow them to be leaders and empower each other.

So this morning the students had to wake themselves up and head to a meeting on staff boat. The skipper, mate and navigator of the day went to get the schedule, navigation instructions and notes for the day. Once they returned with the information for a successful day, the rest of the crew woke up. We had a filling breakfast buffet, cleaned up and were ready to drop the ball. We did a great job of getting everything ready to go and even dropped the ball ahead of schedule!

Once we were out of the channel, we got our sails up. The raising of the sails went relatively smooth, only having a few hiccups. We had many different crew members step up as leaders to help get the the sails safely and successfully up. We had a nice downwind sail from Oil Nut Bay to Trellis Bay. We jibed 3 times to get to our destination and each one was controlled and well timed. When we arrived at our destination the mooring ball pick-up gave us some trouble but once we calmed down and worked together as a team to problem solve, we were successful. We eventually got settled on the ball, tied a secondary and were secure for the night.

We then started to make lunch. Our crew, without being prompted by the staff, made a delicious lunch of couscous salad. We scarfed it down, cleaned our dishes and got ready to go to shore. This afternoon there was a couple different groups doing different activities. All certified divers had the option to go on a two tank dive. The remaining Foxtrot and Sierra students had the opportunity to go to YEP, a local youth empowerment program in the BVI, where they helped paint some pic-nic tables for their outdoor area. The remaining Charlie and Alpha students went on tuck tours and got to hang out on shore. After the YEP outing, the Sierra students went to Diamond reef to collect more data for their projects. We all enjoyed our different activities and were excited to share with our crew memebers what we did.

Eventually everyone returned and we started showers. We then started to prepare for Chili Cook-off! Chili Cook-off is a fun competition between the boats to see who can make the best chili. We have guest judges come around to each boat and judge the boat on their theme/skit and the taste of their chili. We all got really into it and had a blast preparing and performing for the judges. Our chili was delicious!

After the judges came around, we took down the decorations, clean the boat and gathered for boat meeting. At boat meeting we de-briefed challenge day. We talked through all the highs and lows of the day, breaking down how we could improve and why particular things went well. We talked about leadership and being confident in our abilities as well. After boat meeting we all turned in for the night, feeling very accomplished and proud of how the day went.

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