Sierra 1 Trip Update Day 13 – Graham, Program Director
Docks are never the nicest places to sleep, especially after spending the last four nights in the fresh breeze with darkness and quite all around you. When we finally pushed off docks today it was a great relief. Shops are a lot of fun and it was great to be on land and among solid buildings rather then moving boats, but the beauty of the islands is lost in marinas. At least most feel that way. Provisioning came at 9:30 a.m. bringing a great deal of food and a whole new line up of meals for the next week of the trip. While students all wandered among the shops a1 nd stores, the food was all put away. When everyone arrived back at the boats we did our departure preparations, made our de-docking plan and headed off to Cooper Island.
When we got into the channel we were not met by the benign weather we have grown to love, but rather by overcast skies and 20-25 knot winds. Putting reefs in the jib and one in the mainsail, we set off on our upwind course. As we sailed along, some of the crew got to sit on the bow of the boat and hold on as it was dipped into the ocean. Waves would splash against the hull sending a blast of salty spray across the decks, drenching anyone in its path. It was lots of fun! As the sail continued, the winds picked up so we stormed the jib (put all three reefs in) then dropped another reef in the mainsail. After about 45 minutes, the winds continued to increase so we had to simply drop all our sails and motor to our destination. When we arrived at Cooper Island, we all took a minute to appreciate that the staff did not help at all with the maneuver (unannounced to the students) and the crew still performed flawlessly.
After a break, we all went ashore and learned about the big picture with marine turtles. (some of the students are doing a project on them!). The lesson talked about life-cycles, conservation and other topics as well as some local issues with them. After sitting in the sand and learning about these animals, we all jumped into the water and just hung out and enjoyed the beautiful beaches of Cooper! When we got back, Brittany and Zach finished the lunch clean that had been put on hold from being underway and Ezra and Ainsley set to making some of the best lasagna in the history of the world. And with full stomachs, we all will sleep well tonight!