Delta 2 Trip Update Day 1 – Eric, Program Director
The Delta Staff awoke early this morning, excited to meet the students of Delta 2. Captains Hannah and Katie Cole-Kelly (KCK) readied their vessels, Patricia J. and Arwen, for the voyages ahead. Mates Rob and Holly drove to the airport to meet the first group of students, while Program Director Eric pulled together some last minute supplies in Marigot. Our first students arrived at their base of Anse Marcel, in the Northern tip of French St. Martin around 1:30 p.m. and had lunch of deli meats and fresh French baguettes picked up from La Sucriere in Marigot. They helped Hannah and KCK finish prepping their vessels, while everyone else arrived in Anse Marcel with Rob and Holly around 4p.m.
Despite early mornings and long flights, everyone was excited to see their boats, meet the staff, and make new friends. After skyping home, everyone walked to the beach to play some games and get to know each other better. PD Eric brought back pizza for dinner tonight, and then gave the “Mike Talk” to brief everyone about what Delta program is all about. During the talk we were all surprised by a sudden rain squall that came through and sent us looking for a drier location! After an introductory boat meeting with their new Captains and Mates, students prepped for bed. The great thing about rain in the Caribbean is that it also makes the air that much cooler for sleeping – students and staff alike will sleep well tonight.
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.
Robb Coffey, Mate
I have a BA and MSC from Trinity College, Dublin, but my real education has been through the outdoors. I’ve spent the past eight years as a lecturer on the Shackleton Outdoor Adventure Program in Dublin, a three year college course based around experiential learning through the outdoors. My main background in the outdoors is in whitewater kayaking. I participated in many expeditions all over the world, to places like Ethiopia, the Himalaya and Iran. Over the past few years I’ve spent more time kitesurfing and surfing. I have a passion for watersports and the outdoors in general. My work has entailed teaching adventure sports to young adults. Through my work I’ve seen first-hand the positive impact adventure sports can have on someone’s personal growth. Apart from working as a lecturer in outdoor sports I have worked in adventure travel companies in Africa, Asia and Europe. My first adventure sports job was working as a raft guide on the Zambezi River in Zambia! I love watersports- surfing, kitesurfing, kayaking, sailing, diving. I’m also passionate about the mountains and snowboarding. I’m recent convert to yoga and Brazilian jiu jitsu. Something funny your should know about me…I’m scared of bats.
Hannah Leonard, Captain
I have just finished a higher national diploma in Outdoor Adventure Management in Coláiste Dhúlaigh, Dublin. The course is also known as “Shackleton” and covers the technical, leadership and team working skills required to work in the outdoors. As part of the course I have become a senior instructor in windsurfing, sailing and powerboating, a kayaking instructor, a beach lifeguard and a surf instructor. I hope to continue my studies in this field and go on to do a BA in Outdoor Education and Leisure next year. I have worked in the Outdoor industry for a number of years, teaching watersports. I first developed an interest in the activities as a student in a residential watersports centre and have gone on to work for them for the last four years. During this time I also taught windsurfing for a season in Greece and worked for various other centres in Ireland. Working for Sail Caribbean interested me because I thought it was a unique opportunity to develop my own sailing skills and help others with theirs. I admire their ethos and focus on experiential learning and hopefully I’ll learn a lot from the experience! In my spare time I enjoy windsurfing, surfing, sailing, kayaking, running and kickboxing. Something funny you should know about me… I can’t whistle…at all! But I can touch my nose with my tongue
Katie Cole-Kelly (KCK), Captain
This will be my third summer at Sail Caribbean. I was on the Delta program as a Mate in 2010 and 2011. I graduated from James Madison University in 2009 with a degree in biology and stayed for an extra year and received my Masters in Secondary Education. I am at teacher at Thoreau Middle School in Vienna, VA. I am currently teaching 7th grade life science. I just finished up my first season as a varsity girls lacrosse coach at JEB Stuart High school. I am currently an advisor to the Student Council at Thoreau Middle School. I have always had a passion for science and teaching, and Sail Caribbean allows me to do both! There are so many things I love about Sail Caribbean. There is such a positive atmosphere, the staff are so much fun to be with, and what really makes the experiance so wonderful are the campers! I love watching them grow and develop in such a short period of time. The students become so confident in themselves and their peers in just three weeks. I also don’t mind living on board a boat in the Caribbean, it’s pretty much the ideal job! Some of my hobbies include baking, lacrosse, hiking, snorkeling and traveling. Something funny you should know about me…My favorite thing about Sail Caribbean is peanut butter and Nutella.