Day 15: Challenge Day

Posted Sunday, July 31st, 2011 at 10:52 am

 

Sierra woke up extremely early this morning due to heavy rains that collected through the night. Laurie heard the stampede of students as they sprinted from their sleeping locations to the salon. In a sleepy haze they all fell onto the floor where ever they could find space. Before we knew it, the alarm was going off and it was the official time to wake up. As the students wiped the exhaustion from their eyes, Laurie and Franco prepared a big breakfast of bacon and eggs. Most students enjoyed the meal but poor Nikola and Keenan did their best to consume the meal due to their dislike of eggs. As the breakfast was cleaned it was time for challenge day! Graham and Laurie turned the boat over to Sierra and it was up to them to sail us safely to Salt Island. Keenan showed off his skills by navigating a great course for us to sail. Franco was on the helm and gave very clear instructions to the crew how he would like to leave the mooring field and which positions each student was to take. Sierra embraced challenge day with arms wide open and took over the ship as if they had been doing it for years. Once out of the mooring field, Caroline and Keenan took the lead in sailing. Franco stayed on the helm but Caroline and Keenan manipulated the sails to catch the most wind while staying on the course plotted earlier that day. Ginny made the decision early in the morning that she wanted to be extremely active in the sailing process and volunteered to pull all active/difficult lines throughout the day. She told the group that she wanted to build muscle before she went home! After about 2 hours at the helm, Franco asked to be relieved so Caroline and Keenan agreed to take over for the last 3 hours. It was a very long sail but everyone stayed active and conscious about safety. When it was time to drop the main sail everyone took their favorite positions. Emily and Anne were on reefing lines in the cockpit while Liza eased the main halyard. Ginny, Nikola and Kristin went up to the bow to act as monkeys. Alex was on reefing lines at the mast did not tangle and the group work like a well oiled machine to bring down the sail. Once at Salt Island, Sierra had a quick lunch and then got prepared for our last 2 dives. Dale, Alex and Nick (Anne’s new love) showed up promptly to pick up the students. There were intentions for all but surface support to go diving but due to sinus issues, Nick was unable to dive. Anne was a bit heartbroken however she knew that he would be waiting on the surface and joining us for dinner. The dive could not be over fast enough in her opinion but as she ascended from the water to see him looking off into the distance she knew her evening was going to be one full of magic. Sierra had a dinner of veggie stir-fry and then had to prepare for their night dive. All of the students were excited but we were a little nervous about Nikola. He had a tough time with the night snorkel so we wanted to get him in the water at sunset so that it was a little easier of a transition for him. Keenan and the dive instructor stayed close to him to make sure he was ok and he did surprisingly well. His nerves were a little on end but that is completely natural. The dive went very smoothly and the students saw tons of interesting nocturnal animals. Liza, Keenan, Nikola, Kristine, Anne and Emily spotted 2 nurse sharks, a sleeping green sea turtle, a huge puffer-fish and invertebrates everywhere. Anne followed close behind a large squid that inked all over her as it noticed her behind him. When they got back onto the boat the group was divided on who loved the dive and who preferred day dives. Caroline and Liza loved diving at night while Anne and Emily did not enjoy it as much as some of the others. Once dry, it was time to celebrate the graduation of half Sierra to Advanced divers! We had a box of cookies and milk while dancing around the boat. All in all we had an amazingly productive day full of excitement and achievement. This group is going to go down in Sail Caribbean history and one of the best groups we have ever had!

 

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