Sierra 2 Trip Update Day 19 – Graham, Program Director
This morning was like no other morning on the program. The staff woke up and dropped the ball at 5:30 a.m. and then started to motor toward the Baths. The distance of two miles, which took us 30 minutes yesterday, took us an hour and a half to travel today. Once we cleared the point of Great Camanoe and passed the airport, our ability to move forward decreased even more. With winds blowing upwards of 45 knots, it was a fight to even hold position. The boats we use are not made to motor, and in these winds you should not sail unless you absolutely have to; for this reason, we tucked into Marina Cay and holed up there for a while. As we were on the ball we made breakfast and and hung out, playing cards and other games. At around 10:00 a.m., we reassessed the weather as the clouds were breaking and the wind was now down to a steady 20-25 knots, strong but manageable. Multiple weather sources pointed to a several hour lull in the storm, which was exactly the break we needed. With our original course taking us to the Baths and then to Cooper, we had to make the most of our opportunity and get straight to Cooper. We motored for a good two hours through large swells and gusty winds, arriving at Cooper safe, a little wet, and full of respect for mother nature. Since we were here earlier then we anticipated, the afternoon was more laid back. Water sports started soon after we ate our lunch, with students enjoying wake boarding, skiing and tubing. Everyone got a chance to make a rotation on all the different toys. In between we worked on our projects, taking what we learned over the course of the last three weeks and applying it to something that brought all the pieces together. Some students made little books while others created posters and drew diagrams. At the end of the day each person had put together some amazing work. When we finally all got through the water sports, we all reconvened with Foxtrot and Tango for a social. Unannounced to us, it was a soda float! Some clever person once discovered that a carbonated soda will float in salt water, which makes for a fun afternoon treat as students floated around, getting sodas tossed to them from the staff. Eventually we all made it back to home boats, showered, made dinner, and hung out. Boat meeting for tonight consisted of two pieces: staff evaluations, and knowledge evaluations with crew, bosun, and mate certification tests. The tests are comprehensive, but most people did better then they expected! Tonight, we all settled in to bed for our last sleep at sea before heading to Hodges Creek tomorrow afternoon.