Sierra 1 Trip Update Day 1 – Graham Benton, Program Director
Sierra is off!!! We have left docks and have headed downwind to the Bight on Norman Island. This morning we continued preparing for our trip by getting some of the diving out of the way, working for about an hour in the pool and doing some knowledge development and swim tests. We continued on the Prior to First, where we went around the boat and covered all boat terminology and where equipment is located.
After lunch prep, we set to making the boat ready for departure by closing all the hatches, taking everything off the life lines, and going over the de-docking plan with Ezra, as he was the one who would helm the boat as we motored safely out of the harbor. His plan worked flawlessly, with Zach and Jen catching lines and Ainsley fending with Luca, and we slowly and safely departed the docks, entered Sir Francis Drake Channel, ate lunch, set our sails, and point a course.
Under way, we unfurled the Gennicker, the largest foresail on the boat. It is a beautiful, light fabric with patterned seams are highlighted in the sunlight. It stretches aft past the beam – or widest point on the boat – making it also the second largest sail next to the mainsail.
We arrived to the Bight exactly at 3 p.m. – right on time! We had to bail and not pick up the first mooring ball that we attempted to get because there was no float on the tether. This was fine, as we simply moved on to the next ball, redoubled our efforts and caught the second ball we tried to get. Once the motor was off we all jumped in and had a short snorkel along the northern edge of the harbor. The snorkel was an amazing introduction to our location and what we had all come to the British Virgin Islands to study. The density of coral was low, but there was a great variety of life including southern stingray, fighting conch, giant hermit crabs, sea cucumber, and feather duster worms. We were able to see a huge spectrum of vivid colors in the sponges, corals, and fish alike!
Later on we took showers and ate a delicious dinner of burritos with beans, cheese, sour cream, and a whole slew of vegetables. Such a dinner truly did deserve a tip of the hat to its creators, Zach and Kristen. Our first boat meeting on the water included a conversation about what we all want to get out of the program, as well as what each of us are really excited and eager to learn.
Tonight, we shall all rest well. Still stifled by jet lag, many of us are very anxious to go to bed early!