written by mate of I Am Free, Liz Deveau, Brought to you by the crew of I Am Free
August 18, 2015

The final day has inevitably come upon us. Everyone woke up with the sun to spend their last couple of hours in the British Virgin Islands together. Gillie, Jamie, Frankie, Emily, Cam and Jack ran around to collect their things that had been drying on the lifelines overnight. Nothing like a little last minute packing. Marshall was the first one ready to eat breakfast and have a little time to relax while Cam and Emily finished up some airplane letters.

Everyone on I Am Free passed the Sail Caribbean crew test! Cam, Ben and Jamie passed the bosun test as well! Curtis handed out the award bracelets and a much deserved congratulations went around the boat. We shuffled all of the bags, backpacks, sleeping bags and dive gear off the boat and made our way off the docks.

Everyone met at reception at 8a.m. to say goodbye and exchange all contact and social media information. They then all figured out that they were going to be on the same taxi and ferry over to St.Thomas so they would have plenty of time to say their final farewells. Caitlin, Emily, and Jamie started grabbing all the staff to take some pretty selfies with them. KB handed out the much anticipated chocolate chip and blueberry muffins and go-bars for an on the road breakfast.

We loaded up everyone’s belongings in the van and the kids reluctantly filed into the open air taxi to head to the ferry. All of the staff – Jen, Ish, KB, Will, Grace, Mobley and Curtis lined up to say their final goodbyes to the kids that they have had absolutely incredible amounts of fun with these last two weeks. Kids and staff alike waved and called out “Add me on insta!” and “See you later!” until sight was totally lost.

So many new and strong friendships were made during these two short weeks. Students tried new things they had never had the opportunity to try before. Several students got their Open Water diving certification. Some had been able to snorkel for the first time. Many saw and got to interact with a sea turtle for the first time! It was 14 days of firsts and unforgettable memories. The kids on program and the staff alike learned so many new things. They learned a great deal about the natural world, the sailing community, and even new things about themselves. It was amazing to watch this group of 24 kids take advantage of every opportunity and new experience we presented them with.

I think I can safely speak for all the staff of the Soxtrot 3 program when I say how much we loved having the chance to work with and get to know each one of the students. I sincerely hope we get to see everyone again on the high seas. Cheers and thanks a million for an unforgettable program!

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