Sierra 3, Charlie 3, Foxtrot 3 and Alpha 4, Days 1 and 2: Arrivals and first sail to the Bight!
Written and edited by Allie Faulkner
Hodges Creek Marina (Sail Caribbean’s home base) was hustling and bustling early in the morning getting ready for the much anticipated arrival of our newest crew members. It was organized chaos as all the boats were cleaned and made ready. Provisioning arrived and snacks were made for our soon to arrive students.
After a long day of travel, the first half of the students arrived to their new home for the next two weeks. We have four boats this program; Pom ‘Do, Parsifal, La Boheme and Ormindo. Each boat has a mixture of four programs on them. All the students mingled and got to know each other as we waited for dinner to be served. We all had a traditional Sail Caribbean meal of chicken, rice and veggies! The second group of students finally arrived and joined us for dinner. After cleaning our dishes and continuing to get comfortable and familiar with our boat and fellow crew members, it was time to get ready for the Mike talk.
Mike, the founder and director, gathered everyone to welcome us, set expectations and get us excited for all the adventures that were to come. He informed us on the rules, talked about the unique experience we were going to have and our connection to the islands.
Feeling extremely excited for the next two weeks, we all headed back to our boats for our first boat meeting. We played a couple ice-breaker games and our captains went over some rules. We then turned in for the night to rest up for our first sail tomorrow!
After a long nights rest, we woke up full of excitement and energy for the first full day! Jumping out of our sleeping spots, we checked the duty roster to see what our jobs were for the day. The people on breakfast prep put out all our delicious breakfast items; bagels, cereal, yogurts, oatmeal and PB&J! We all had a relaxed breakfast while chatting and talking about the day ahead.
After putting breakfast away and cleaning our dishes, we got ready for our rotations for the morning. Each boat got to go to the dive shop, had their boat photo taken and was walked through a prior to first. At the dive shop, the divers got checked in and were able to meet some of their dive instructors. We all also had the chance to look around and shop in the dive shop! We all smiled for boat photos afterwards and then were given the prior to first. A prior to first is an orientation to the boat, going into in depth explanations of how things work and safety protocols. With our new understanding of the boat, our captains gave us a de-docking lesson. The skipper was then instructed to take their new knowledge and come up with a de-docking plan for their boat. The energetic fleet captain came around to all the boats to hear their de-docking plans and help cast their lines. It didn’t take long before all the boats had given their plans and had smooth, successful de-dockings. Everyone was bearing big smiles as they had just accomplished a difficult and successful manoeuver on their boat. We motored out of the channel and were ready for our first sail!
The first sail of the trip was a downwind sail to the Bight on Norman Island. It was a relatively light wind day but great for learning! Our captain and mate taught an abundance of lessons while we were underway including, raising and unfurling the sails, downwind sailing and gybing, and lowering and furling sails. We all enjoyed the calm sail and took in the beauty of the sparkling blue water. Once sails were lowered and we were close to the mooring field, we were taught one more lesson of how to pick up a mooring ball.
We entered the mooring field and chose the perfect ball to stay on for the night. Once secured on the ball, we had a nice afternoon with many different activities to do. The fun divers and advanced open water divers got to go for a fun dive, while the discovery scuba divers and open water divers had briefings on the shore. The rest of the non-divers had the option to go wakeboarding, small boat sailing, snorkeling or to just relax on the boat.
Everyone returned to their home boats for the evening and starting getting ready to make dinner. The people on dinner prep prepared a wonderful meal of burrito bowls. All the food was quickly devoured after our eventful day!
With our bellies full we cleaned up dinner and cleaned the whole boat top to bottom. We scrubbed the decks, washed the dishes and tidied all our belonging as we are going to do every night! With boat clean done, it was time for boat meeting. We all gathered in the cockpit to talk about how our day went. We talked about the upcoming day and cleanliness and called it an evening. Everyone headed to their sleeping spots for the night and closed their eyes after a fun, new and exciting day.
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.