Early Bravo- Meet our staff

Posted Thursday, June 7th, 2012 at 5:11 pm

Eric von Aschwege, Program Director

This will be my second summer with Sail Caribbean. I started as a Mate during Early Bravo and was Captain on the Delta Program for the remainder of the season. I started sailing when I was 5 years old with my dad and the local sailing program, and enjoyed annual cruises to Maine on our 39 ft sloop. I’ve enjoyed being in the outdoors since I was little, and now share my passion for sailing and the outdoors with others. I have a BA in Outdoor Leadership (ODL) from Warren Wilson College and also studied psychology while there. In training with the ODL department, I learned about group dynamics, leadership in a wilderness setting, and took particular interest in risk management and developing new programming. I got my Scuba certification during my sophomore year of school, but much prefer snorkeling. I’m currently trying to develop a sailing program that works with active service members and veterans. I worked with several youth programs throughout my training in Outdoor Leadership, facilitated programming for local school groups, and led outdoor trips for college peers.  I grew up on an island just north of Boston, and have always enjoyed studying the natural history and marine biology of the New England area. Working with the students is a great opportunity – not only am able to become a more competent sailor and educator, but it is incredibly rewarding to watch the students take charge and sail the boat on their own. There’s nothing like taking a step back and having the students read the weather and take down sail anticipating a coming squall without my needing to say a word. As a captain I enjoyed the responsibility of running a vessel and being a role model for my students. They teach me as many lessons as I teach them. Lastly, nowhere else am I able to work with and learn from staff members of such high caliber. I’ve been Mountain Biking about as long as I’ve been sailing. I also enjoy maritime and colonial history, as well as woodworking and even building and restoring flintlock rifles on the side. Something funny you should know about me…I enjoy listening to and making puns, as well as Accent jokes… Do they have trees in Canada? Yessir, between da twos and da fours.

Maddie Drake, Mate

I went to Brewster Academy for high school and I was on the varsity sailing team for three years. I now attend Hobart and William Smith Colleges and I am majoring in Media and Society and World Religions and will possibly minor in Dance. I have taught windsurfing and sailing at a sleep away camp in Rhode Island called Camp Fuller for three years up until last summer when I had an internship with Vineyard Vines. I attended that camp for seven years and learned how to Sail and windsurf while I was there. I lived with a cabin of 12 girls at night and taught boys and girls between the ages of 7-16 sailing and windsurfing during the day. My goal for the future is to be involved with a company like Sail Caribbean or Club Med after college teaching people how to sail and windsurf. Then I would like to become a teacher/sailing coach at a high school. I love the outdoors, water sports and working with teenagers. Something funny you should know about me… At Camp Fuller I had to wear a mushroom suit for 48 hours during a camp wide man-hunt game. I hid in the woods, dressed as a life-size mushroom for 2 whole days.

Sondra Eger, Mate

My name is Sondra and I am looking forward to my first summer with Sail Caribbean! I have graduated with a BSc in Biological Sciences from the University of British Columbia- Okanagan in 2010 and for the past few years I’ve spent a year in Africa pursuing my passion of Marine Biology, Conservation and Environmental Education. After teaching Biology Labs at UBC in 2009, I realized how much I enjoyed getting students excited about learning and to appreciate the wonderful world around them. I have been involved in organizing and leading a variety of youth programs, both in and out of the water since then.  I was a competitive swimmer when I was younger, so I have always felt at home in the water and in 2011, I achieved my PADI Divemaster certification in Mozambique. I am very excited to be a part of the Sail Caribbean team this year as it allows me to continue to experience a new part of the world and do some of my favorite things: Exploring the oceans and showing others why they are so fantastic! I’m excited to learn about some new critters and meet new people who are as passionate about the environment as I am. I am a huge fan of cooking (food in general) and enjoy a good game of bocce ball. When I manage to find some free time I love to sit down with a good book or learn how to use my camera and take some photos. Something funny about me…Out of all the critters I have ever had the pleasure of seeing and learning about, I am most afraid of horses for some strange reason. Sharks, snakes, spiders, scorpions, komodo dragons, bats = cool. Horses = Eeeek.. Please stay behind that fence!


Tamara Greak, Mate and Medical Officer

This will be my first summer at Sail Caribbean. I am a junior at University of North Carolina-Wilmington, majoring in Spanish and Psychology. I am the co-captain this upcoming year for our sailing team, and also the co-founder. We practice year round on 420’s or FJ’s. I have my Level One certification as well as my PADI open water diving certification. I have done some diving in the western Caribbean, including a night dive and I have also done an off shore dive in the Outer Banks, NC. I am very passionate about both of these activities, and I am looking forward to the experience to be gained with Sail Caribbean. I have worked at Carolina Yacht Club as a sailing instructor for the past three years with kids from the ages of 8 to 18. We taught dinghy sailing, and depending on the students age/experience, we instruct using Opti’s, Sunfish, Laser’s, and 420’s. We taught the basics of sailing and racing to beginners and intermediates. I am extremely excited about gaining experience on larger boats and also hoping to gain more experience diving. Also, location, location, location! I have never traveled to the eastern Caribbean and I am more than ready to explore the islands and see different cultures, wildlife, etc. I am also looking forward to working for such a prestigious company and meeting the staff. I am going into this without knowing anyone, which I am very excited about! I can’t wait to see what the students bring to the table as well. I am certain I will learn just as much from them as they learn from me. In my spare time I love sailing and diving, obviously. In addition to that however, I love reading and cooking.  I love exploring wildlife, whether it is through hiking on land or snorkeling off shore. My top five hobbies would have to be sailing, diving, reading, cooking and exercising. Well I am not very funny, so I have no idea what to say here. I do know that my awkwardness has entertained others in the past. From tripping up the stairs, to putting my foot in my mouth on several occasions, I am overall an awkward person. I have learned to accept it and laugh at myself as well. You will see.

Robb Kirchner, Captain of Monet

This will be my second summer at Sail Caribbean. I started as a Mate on Early Bravo and was a Captain on the Bravo & Charlie Programs. In the fall I will be a senior at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, pursing a degree in environmental sciences, which is mainly composed of biology and economics classes. I am the captain and skipper of the schools offshore sailing team and we compete at several regattas in the fall, including Offshore Nationals. Last summer at Sail Caribbean was amazing. While I had done a great deal of sailing before, nothing prepared me for how perfect the sailing is in the British Virgin Islands. On top of that, the snorkeling, which was something new to me, was fantastic. Along with my normal duties for SC I was also the photography mate for two of the programs. I enjoyed getting exciting and fun shots of campers enjoying their summer as much as I was! Getting to experience a totally different marine environment was also very exciting for me. I enjoyed seeing and learning about new species that are not found in the Chesapeake Bay. Sail Caribbean is a fantastic place to work. I am lucky that I am coming back for a second year. It is truly amazing seeing what a group of teenagers, who are largely strangers, can do in three weeks. They accomplish great tasks like sailing a boat on their own and cooking fantastic chili! The personal growth and development of the campers is something that I love to witness, and being an integral part of that growth and development makes it all the better. In my spare time, some of my hobbies are ultimate Frisbee, running, hiking, and photography.  Something funny you should know about me…I secretly wish I was a meteorologist.

Matt Miller , Mate and Dive Coordinator

After getting certified in the summer of 2008 in Key Largo Florida, I decided scuba diving was something I would love to pursue. My passion for the ocean is undying and continues to grow each time I enter the water! Throughout the summer of 2010 I worked my way up the ranks accumulating various certifications. After receiving my OWSI as well as my emergency first response instructor, I wanted a little more. I decided to expand my teaching to a few different specialties that I thought would be beneficial to my students. I currently hold the ability to teach Nitrox, underwater digital photographer, deep diver, wreck diver, drift diver and underwater navigation. I felt the additional training was needed to experience all aspects of recreational diving. Since then I haven’t looked back and continue to learn new things and enjoy this awesome adventure called life. When i first started teaching scuba, one of my first students was a 14 year old. Let me start off by saying kids are absolutely perfect when it comes to scuba diving. They just get it. Tell them what to do and they master it in the blink of an eye. This 14 year old was excellent and perfectly comfortable with the concept of scuba diving. Since that student, I had hoped to continue teaching kids, simply for the purpose of seeing the look on their face the first time they see something cool. This is my absolute passion. Sail Caribbean is something that peaked my interest a few years ago when I first started diving. I would read the blogs, and keep up with the summer news itching to be there. The pictures say a thousand words. The philosophy of the company is one that is difficult to find elsewhere. Teach kids to love and care for our underwater world, while building teamwork skills as well as sailing. It doesn’t get much better than that. Of course my number one hobby is being on the water, as well as anything in the water. My other favorite, cooking, is something I have done since I was four with my grandmother, or as I call her “Gaga”. She is Czechoslovakian so most of the meals were as simple as potatoes. I’ve never tasted potatoes so good in my life. As a kid I was a horrible sleep talker/walker. My parents would just smile at me the following morning and ask how I had slept. Then the stories started coming out. According to them I have had very in depth conversations about icebergs and the Eiffel Tower. Of course others include asking them to “ring my ear”. All extremely embarrassing yet funny

Frazer Milton, Captain of Venture of Tortola

This will be my second summer with SC. Last summer I started working for Sail Caribbean as a Mate for the Bravo 1, Tango and Charlie 3 programs. I currently have my open water scuba certification, and hope to keep working my way up. I have just finished the class room portion of my Captains License course through the Sea School, and aim to take my exam sometime this upcoming Fall. I have had a lot of volunteer time working with elementary to middle school aged kids doing anything and everything from coaching youth soccer teams, to going on mission trips to Central America to helping teach underprivileged kids to read. Aside from being the coolest summer camp job ever…I am returning to SC because of the incredible sense of community that I felt present last summer. A few of my favorite hobbies would have to be : Backpacking/camping/hiking, sailing & fishing. Something funny you should know about me…When I was younger I really wanted to grow up to become a horse, so my mother bought me a horse mask & from then on I walked around on my hands & knees neighing.


Jeff Pollock, Fleet Captain

This is my sixth summer at Sail Caribbean. I have worked on the Bravo and Charlie programs as a mate, Fleet Captain and Operations Manager. I attended UT Dallas – Class of 2010 and earned my B.S in Business Administration. USCG OUPV PADI Advanced Open Water. I come back to Sail Caribbean each summer because I have a real passion for teaching students how to sail. Teaching them how to water-ski and wakeboard is a great bonus. Each summer I have enjoyed working with both students and staff from different parts of the world. Some of my hobbies are Sailing, water skiing, Wake-boarding, Scuba diving, Snow skiing and Photography. Something funny you should know about me…The first year I worked at Camp W.A.D.E I was not old enough to participate in the course but I was allowed to teach!

Desda Sisson, Captain of J Phaurom

I am currently a student at Humboldt State, working on my degree towards marine biology and scientific diving! I am really passionate about marine invertebrates and their interactions! While diving in the north coast I have had the opportunity to see a lot really cool species! I am a certified master scuba diver and just completed my rescue diver course this year! Along with diving I of course love to sail. My experience began when I was little, sailing with my dad on a small Sunfish. As I got older I was sailing bigger and bigger boats in places such as San Francisco, Oahu, Humboldt Bay and San Diego Bay. Previous jobs I have held included working with kids teaching swimming. I was thrilled and amazed by their desire to learn and was learning new things myself everyday! On the north coast I became part of an organization REEF Check California. We went out and performed underwater surveys, recording invertebrate species, fish species and algae species. By taking these surveys, REEF check can then monitor the health of the species and make decisions about California MPA’s. (Marine Protected Areas) REEF Check is non-profit and rely on volunteers to survey the coast! I am excited to be working for Sail Caribbean because of the experience they give the students who attend the programs! I think it is a very positive and exciting learning opportunity for young teens and I want to be part of that! I have always loved the ocean and everything that comes with it, scuba diving, sailing, marine life, snorkeling, and of course the sun! I want to teach young teens about the marine life in the Caribbean and hopefully they will learn and enjoy it as much as I do! When I’m not working or studying, I like to go to the tide pools and find sea creatures! I also like to bike ride and explore new places on my bike. Another interest of mine is finding and/or creating new recipes to cook and sharing them with friends! Something funny you should know about me…One year for Halloween I dressed up as a present and wore a box that i could fit inside of! I surprised all of the houses we went to when I popped out as a life size present!

Rynn Steck, Mate and Provisions Manager

This past May, I graduated from Hamilton College where I concentrated in environmental studies. I spent a semester abroad in Madagascar studying biodiversity and natural resource management. Highlights definitely included studying rural fishing communities and marine protected areas for an independent study project. I have been snorkeling since I could swim and received my first scuba certification in 2009. I started sailing when I was 7 years old and fell head over heels in love with the wind and the water. I spent my summers sailing at camps and later became a sailing instructor and camp counselor. While attending Hamilton, I hiking, camped, kayaked, and canoed my way through the Adirondacks as an Outing Club Officer and a pre-orientation, outdoors trip leader. In past summers, I’ve lead hiking trips in the Berkshires and in Colorado and now I can’t wait to make my way down to the Caribbean! My experiences sailing as a teenager were some of the most transformative experiences in my life; conquering the wind and the waves can make a girl feel fearless! I hope to inspire others to challenge themselves and experientially develop a love of sailing and the environment. I am thrilled to work for Sail Caribbean this summer because I am confident that each program whether through sailing, diving, service, or science; fosters personal growth and provides the opportunity for the adventures of a lifetime! My interests include photography and art, watching documentaries, rollerblading, and growing sprouts.  Silly fact about myself? Although I’m a huge fan of fruit, it took me 21 years to get over my irrational fear of bananas. I had my first bite last year and now, I eat them all the time!


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