This was my second year at Sail Caribbean. After my first year, I came back home and was a completely different person. I felt more mature, more calm, and more alive. But even though this was my second year, I still know that I have changed in more ways than one in the past three weeks. I have become a lot better at understanding the responsibility of “running a household (but in our case a boat).” I am much better at cleaning after myself, because at camp we didn’t have our parents there to follow us around fixing our mess. I also have become much better at listening and leading, as one of the most important parts of being a captain was to help guide your crew, while taking their advice.
You have to get accustomed to a sailor’s lifestyle, but once you do it is one of the best experiences. One of the most amazing things I have done in my life is sleep on deck at Sail Caribbean. It is like a dream to be cradled to sleep by the rocking of the boat under the stars. Learning the responsibilities of cooking your own meals and keeping your room clean is very important. Living on a sailboat really helps you grow and mature.
It was very fun to gain all this responsibility, but it was also fun to get to share it with other people. Normally you would expect kids to hate to clean, but we had the best time spraying each other with hoses as we were trying to clean the deck. We also got the opportunity to cook with other people, which was really fun because my friends taught me their own cool recipes that I would never have tried to make on my own.
My first year, I got PADI certified at Sail Caribbean and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Seeing the worlds that exist deep in the ocean is one of the most breathtaking views. This year we did a dive off of Saba and I couldn’t believe my eyes, as laying in front of us was a giant coral-covered rock. It looked as though a volcano had been submerged beneath the water. From above, you had no idea that this whole life existed below you. Thousands of fish swam in all directions. Every few minutes I would swim over to a different friend and mime to them “mind blown.” It was absolutely incredible.
It is so much fun to do water sports at camp, because not only are you trying new things but you’re forming new relationships while doing them. I went tubing in the early days of camp so I barely knew anyone, but after flying around on tube screaming and laughing with a bunch of kids I never knew, I started to make real friendships. We all had the best time paddle boarding to different boats and knocking each other off the boards.
I learned that trying things that are out of your comfort zone can open you up to a whole new world you’ve never experienced before. I am not being dramatic when I say that going on the night sail was the best thing I’ve ever done. I loved that rush when the boat was keeling and you couldn’t see a thing around you, only the stars guiding you. I love Sail Caribbean. It has become like a second home to me. The people are so warm and welcoming, you always feel comfortable. I am so grateful for the memories I have made at Sail Caribbean.
Samantha D., age 14, Greenwich, CT
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.