Foxtrot 3 Trip Update Day 1 & Meet Our Staff
Welcome Foxtrot 3 students! By this evening all of our new crew had arrived at Hodges Creek Marina, excited for sailing the Caribbean for the next two weeks! Upon arriving, they met their captains, Mieles and Shandy, and their mates, Sondra and Forrest, and were welcomed aboard Da Vinci and Van Gogh, the two catamarans that will be their home for the duration of the program. After some time to shower and meet new friends, the crews enjoyed a tasty dinner of chicken, rice, and slaw before hearing the Mike Talk from Mike Liese and settling in for the night. Everyone is thrilled to get off docks tomorrow!
Graham Benton – Program Director, Medical Officer, Dive Coordinator
This will be my 4th summer with Sail Caribbean. I have been Mate, Captain, Fleet Captain, Medical Office, Provisions Manager, Office Manager, Operations and Program Director. I have worked Foxtrot, Sierra and Bravo and this summer will be the Program Director for Sierra. I received an Undergraduate Degree in Environmental Science and Adventure Education from Prescott College. I have achieved my Instructor level Scuba certification from PADI. I worked in a couple of courses working with youths in Prescott AZ. I took the Sail Caribbean ECHO Internship as my first sailing experience. I have worked for Sail Caribbean from the time that I was in college and two years after I graduated. I really like the people. Working here with the friendly staff and the wonderful students makes it so rewarding to be working as an educator. In my spare time I love mountain biking, skiing, riding a motorcycle, baking bread and eating scones. Something funny you should know about me… I have made out with the tallest land mammal!
Betsy Flournoy – Provisions Manager, Fleet Captain
This will be my second year as a staff member for Sail Caribbean. I have been a Provisions Manager and Mate on the Bravo and Charlie programs. I’ve been sailing with my family since I was 3 or 4. I graduated from the Rocky Mountain School of Photography in 2010 and started doing professional photography three years ago. I am currently in my third year of working on a studio arts degree concentrated on photography and digital arts. My background with teens primarily comes from working at the Springer Theatre Academy in Georgia as a teaching assistant, intern, and office assistant. I also attended Sail Caribbean for 3 summers and completed the Sail Caribbean Echo Leadership & Advanced Sailing program when I was in college. I love working for Sail Caribbean because there is no other job like it. I love living on the boats and traveling with the fleet. The BVI is one of my favorite places in the world– it has beautiful scenery, great diving and snorkeling to explore, perfect clear water, and great sailing weather. I love being provisions manager because it gives me a challenge and it involves great food. I also really enjoy teaching students how to sail and spread the appreciation of the sport. In my spare time I love rock climbing, sailing, snowboarding, horseback riding, diving & hiking. Something funny you should know about me… I have pet hedgehog named Alfred Bruce Quillis.
Amelia Ballisat – Captain, True Course Coordinator
This is my first year at Sail Caribbean. I am currently a final year student studying Marine Biology with Oceanography at the University of Southampton. I have been sailing and windsurfing since my late teens, and on my gap year I finished my watersports instructor qualifications, and from then on I have worked on the water every summer. I have been a watersports instructor for 4 years, teaching in the UK and Minorca, everything from SUP’ing to keelboats and a variety of ages from 4 – 78!! On the marine biology side – I have been involved with cetacean surveys in the Irish Sea as well as many, many boat days as part of my degree, normally involving lots of mud in the Solent! I want to work for sail Caribbean as it allows me to combine both my passions – marine biology and watersports, all in one job. The sunshine is also definitely a bonus! My hobbies mainly revolve around watersports! I am a keen windsurfer and sailor, and have been kitesurfing since I have been at uni…although it still has much to be desired!! Off the water I play netball and have been known to do the odd endurance obstacle course. Something funny you should know about me, despite studying marine biology… I can’t stand the smell or taste of fish!!
Sondra Eger – Mate, Marine Biology
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!
Forrest Wortham – Mate, Photomate
Originally from Memphis, Tennessee, I am currently a senior at the University of Colorado at Boulder majoring in Economics with a minor in Philosophy. I am a 3 time returning student at Sail Caribbean, having completed the Foxtrot, Charlie, and Echo programs. After a short tenure at Best Buy in Boulder this summer, I came to Sail Caribbean to fulfill a lifelong dream of sailing in the Caribbean, teaching and improving sailing skills with teenagers, and wrangling sea turtles. I have spent 5 years life guarding, and in my spare time I enjoy yoga, hiking, swimming, diving, skiing, and of course sailing. An interesting fact about me is that I’m ambidextrous!
Shandy Buckley – Captain
I grew up in New Zealand and on a 39 foot cruising boat, sailing around the world with my family. I started racing sailboats at the age of 8, and i have since loved racing in college and sailing internationally. At the University of Hawaii I majored in Environmental Science, and I just recently received my Marine Science Masters from Moss Landing Marine Labs — working at Sail Caribbean is my reward to myself for graduating! I am moving to Oregon from California in September, and I’m looking forward to doing more work communicating science. I love working at Sail Caribbean; from helping teenagers realize their abilities and learn about the world around them to just living aboard boats, it is an extremely rewarding experience. One thing you should know about me is that one of my dreams is to own my own boat someday and sail around the world.