Each morning we have a 'cockpit' meeting to listen to the NOAA (National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration) weather forecast, take down information about the current amperage and voltage levels of the engine, have some sort of lesson i.e. navigation, meteorology, seamanship, and a daily quote given to us by Captain Jeff. Quote for today:
"I believe that only one person in a thousand knows the trick of really living in the present. Most of us spend 59 minutes an hour living in the past, with regret for lost joys, or shame for things badly done (both utterly useless and weaking) - or in a future which we either long for or dread. Yet the past is gone beyond prayer, and every minute you spend in the vain effort to anticipate the future is a moment lost. There is only one world, the world pressing against you this minute. There is only one minute in which you are alive, this minute - here and now. The only way to live is by accepting each minute as an unrepeatable miracle. Which is exactly what it is - a miracle and unrepeatable." - Storm Jameson
Today we awoke to a beautifully sunny day with wind at between 10-15 knots. Through the day the wind lessened, yet we still were able to use sailpower to get to our destination - near St. Mary's City on the St. Mary's River in Maryland. Approximately 25 miles and 7ish hours later, we set anchor in the peaceful and pristine cove in which we are at the moment. En route, students had a literature class, did some math, steered the boat, relaxed and read on deck, talked and laughed.
Time to be in the moment - we are all well.
Woo hoo! This is the life, and we are already deciding to give up on being landlubbers and take to the seas, travel the world. Meanwhile, as the adventure begins aboard Boundless with Captain Jeff and First Mate Janine, CELCers are having quite an extraordinary time!
Each day students perform jobs that enable them to learn to "run the boat". Today, Jenna served as Captain for the Day and provided us with data, including wind direction, weather conditions, barometric pressue, and our latitude and longitude in degrees, minutes and seconds. Henry, as First Mate, was responsible for starting the motor and checking the engine. Cole and Kyle on Deck Crew took care to raise and lower sails, lower anchor, and lower the dinghy. All students took turns steering the boat as we made our way from the start at Coan River to St. Clement's Island. These jobs will rotate throughout the week, and according to Cpt. Jeff, students will have it all down in a few days, enough to run Boundless on their own (for the most part!).
After swimming in the Potomac, going on a hunt for buried treasure on an uninhabited island, enjoying some R&R on deck in the sun, and devouring fine meals that we all helped to prepare, we will rest well tonight and look forward to the adventures of the days ahead. Please keep in touch as we add more photos along the way ...
Here are some impressions of the day from students:
"Today was phenomenal. We sailed and motored to an island. We are currently anchored off of the west side of the island. After we anchored, we took the dinghy to St. Clement's Island and "walked" around. When we got back onto the boat, we went swimming and climbed the anchor chain." - Henry
"Today was fun-filled with excitement. We got to drive and navigate the boat. Kyle and I put up the masts. It was very hard. Then we got to an island and had a treasure hunt for gold. Jenna and Kyle found the gold - and Henry and I helped them. Then we all had a fun time swimming." - Cole
"The highlight of the day for me was definitely climbing up the side of the anchor of Boundless and throwing out my new lure from Black Beauty." - Kyle
"The best part of my day was relaxing and tanning on the boat. Being captain was so much fun. I got us out of the hardest part - from the marina out into the channel. I can't wait for tomrrow! I am ready for dinner." - Jenna
03/23/2011, Norman's Cay, Exumas
Hi! I'm Natasha, and I'm on a sailing trip in the Bahamas. I'm from the Fulton School at St. Albans, which is right outside of St. Louis. Today, we sailed from Ship Channel Cay to Norman's Cay. It was about a two hour trip. As soon as we got to Norman's, we put on all our snorkeling stuff and jumped in the dingy. We drove over to a sunken drug dealers' plane and had a lot of fun there. After that, we went to a spot a ways from the nearest islands. We were looking for conch and lobster, but we didn't find any there. We realized there was nothing we wanted, so we moved on to another spot. This spot was jackpot. We saw all types of fish and coral. After a little while, a boy on the trip, Jordan, came up with a conch. He dove down fifteen feet and grabbed it. We put it in the boat and started our conch collection. A few minutes later, Captain Jeff speared a Nassau grouper. Those two started a marathon of finding seafood. Next, Jordan came up with a conch. Not to be outdone, Captain Jeff speared a lobster. Before we went back to Boundless, Jordan had found three more conches, and Captain Jeff speared three more lobsters.
Capt. Jeff here as Natasha got pulled into dinner duty! It was indeed a seafood feast tonight for dinner with 5 lobsters, 5 conches, and a Nassau grouper. Tomorrow the plan is to leave early for Shroud Cay to dinghy through the mangrove canals that crisscross the island to the ocean side. If we don't catch it at high tide we have to carry (300 lobs!) the dinghy across dried out sand flats. There is also a fresh water well on Shroud that was used by pirates in the 1800's that we will be able to have our first, unlimited fresh water shower at tomorrow!!!
Great food, awesome crew and daily adventures....
03/22/2011, Ship Channel Cay, Exumas
Hello from the Fulton School - St. Albans sailors currently anchored in The Exuma Islands of the Bahamas one day away from Nassau. Everyone made their plane connections and arrived in Nassau earlier than expected on Monday. We walked around town and visited the fish market under the bridge to Paradise Island. Ate conch salad and watched the locals play dominoes. Enjoyed our hamburger dinner on boat and got comfortable in the cabin. Went to sleep earlier than we have ever gone to sleep last night. We had some NE winds today and wanted to head in an easterly direction so we motored most of the day to our current location. The seas were calm and the passage was smooth. We took turns at the wheel and did some navigating through coral heads and into a cove that is out of the winds. Went snorkeling and swimming, cooked a big spaghetti dinner and played the Envelope Game. Some saw a green flash at sunset just when the top of the sun hit the horizon. Everyone sends their best to family and friends back at home. We are enjoying the solitude and peaceful surroundings. There is not another boat in sight. We are surrounded by a natural habitat that provides us with everything we need.
02/26/2011, Staniel Cay, Bahamas
Hello one and all, I'm Phoebe and I'm part of the St. Margaret's crew aboard Boundless. Five other students and I are on Minimester a.k.a. two weeks of educational excursions, some off campus, like this trip, and others on campus. We are well along in our journey and I, as well as the rest of the crew, apologize for not writing sooner, however, if you were aboard with us, you would see why. So far, we've chased parrot fish and barracudas, snorkeled at plane wrecks, sailed the ocean blue, learned how to steer a motorized dinghy, and gone cave snorkeling (not highly recommended for all the claustrophobic people out there). Also, we have been followed by Bill Kund, a famous photojournalist, and Vicky for the past week. He met our captain right before we left Nassau on day one and thought our trip to be worthy of an article and a photo or two for the magazine Blue Water Sailing, where he works. They were very interested in our trip why each of us individually had chosen to come. This trip is a very interesting one. In the brochure, it said that we would be learning about sailing, knots, snorkeling, astronomy, and about the diverse sea creatures that inhabit the Bahamian waters, however, I believe that we have learned much more than what was advertised. We've learned how to live in close quarters, how to bathe in the ocean, and we've also learned about ourselves a great deal. Our patience and resilience have been tested and fears have been made clear to us, although none of us fear diving deep down to enter a cave. We've also learned about teamwork and responsibility through our various boat chores. The chores that we have performed are checking the oil, cleaning the head, organizing the cockpit, bailing out the dinghy, washing the windows, sweeping the floors, getting the freshwater rinse ready for when we emerged from the ocean, attaching the ladder to the side of the boat and making sure that it's secure, raising the anchor, turning on and off the anchor light, making the meals, navigating, and leading a cockpit meeting, which is where the captain of the day tells the crew about weather conditions and how the boat is doing. This trip is unique and I believe that we did not choose the trip, in fact, I believe that the trip chose us for our individual characteristics and for what we bring and can bring to the table.
Another pro of this trip has been the weather. I know that you all have been dying inside to know how splendid the weather is. To answer your tireless pondering, it's been fabulous, absolutely fabulous. The temperature is about 75-80 degrees each day with blustery gusts, especially on the water. On land, it's quite dry and warm, not too much of that ghastly humid business that is terrible for those of us blessed with curly hair. The water temperature has been pretty nice as well. The water, as expected, was a bit cooler. The water temperature stayed around 70 degrees, a little brisk at times, but hey, it builds character!
I know that I gave a briefing of the activities in which we've been involved earlier in this entry, but a play-by-play is the only way for you to truly fathom how much fun, I mean, knowledge we've acquired.
Day 1: After a brutally early wake up call for a 6 AM flight, we made it, fully awake of course, to Nassau around noon. We were taken by taxi to Nassau Harbour by a lovely man by the name of Luther. Along the way, we saw the beautiful architecture, the natives, and the water of various turquoise hues that almost appears to be Photoshopped. From the harbour, we traveled by motorized dinghy to Boundless. We spent the rest of the day learning about the boat, gawking at the horrors of Atlantis, and unpacking. After a hearty dinner, we played a get to know you game, invented by Captain Jeff, whose questions ranged from, "What is your biggest fear?" to "Do you like black olives?" .
Day 2: On this day, we sailed to Ship Channel Cay, which was about six hours from Nassau. We all got a shot at steering the boat and enjoyed it a great deal. The art of steering came more naturally to some than it did to others, *cough* *cough* Mary*. When we weren't trying to avoid smashing the boat into the coast, a majority of us tanned on the bow, only to be rewarded with the development of a bad sunburn later on. The only one of us who did not get a sunburn on this day was Jana because she applied SPF 60 like it was her job. The rest of us all learned a lesson from Jana on that fine day. Fast forward six hours. When we arrived at Ship Channel Key, we broke out the wetsuits for the first time. The water was fairly warm, but the salt water proved to be an obstacle for most of us, especially when some us came to the harsh realization that our masks fit poorly or when we got slapped in the mouth with a wave full of salt crystals. Our first snorkeling day was pretty good, some of us saw our first coral reef. The sandy bottom was loaded with sand dollars and conch; it was fun to dive for them.
Day 3: We departed Ship Chanel Cay and motored to Norman's Cay. On the way there, we got a chance to take a dip in the water while sailing. Boundless has a harness sort of thing that is attached to the mast and swings out over the water. Destined water submersion could be determined by the tug of a rope. It was really fun spinning around in the waves and seeing two nurse sharks along the way! Norman's Cay was one of those islands that was particularly unique because it was home to a cargo plane wreck and a drug lord's house. We snorkeled the plane wreck, a bit hesitant at first, but we soon learned to enjoy weaving in and out of the large cockpit.
Day 4: This day was our first actual sailing day! It was exciting to test our hand at actual sailing instead of motoring. Again, steering came more naturally to some us than it did to others. The wind was fantastic as well! We had the boat at full keel, even the toe rail was in the water! We enjoyed sitting at the very tip of the bow and having the sea spray hit our faces and dangling our legs over the side. We sailed to Bell Island, home of the Exuma Land and Sea Park. We experienced most of the Sea Park on this day. The natural aquarium was awesome, full of brightly colored corals and all fish big and small, the fish even pressed their narrow faces right up against our masks! Bell Island also marked our first cave dive. We dinghyed out, looking like a professional dive team, to a large island where the cave was. Cautious at first by the size of the opening, we entered an awe-inspiring cave. The inside was a greenish color and daunting stalactites dangled from the ceiling, some even fusing with the stalagmites that erupted from the ground. The inside was filled with neat little tidal pools containing mollusks and other tiny sea critters. Later that day, we went to a different site and speared fish, lobster, and conch for dinner. Annie, since this trip is for her independent senior project, helped dissect the conch.
Day 5: We spent the night anchored off the coast of Bell Island so that we could explore the Land Park. The Land Park was vast and abundant with gorgeous wildlife. The only way to describe the appearance of the park was Sound of Music Bahamian style. Barefoot, we walked along a narrow sandy path to reach the beach. The beach was on the small side, but that didn't mean that it wasn't amazing. About 20 feet out from the shore were large rocks that the waves pounded against, exploding in fireworks of foam and spray, leaving the rock crevices to drain the remaining water. Walking among the rocks we found bits of sea glass and dead coral, Mary found a heart-shaped piece and Jenny spotted a lizard. After the beach and with Tevas strapped tightly, we hiked with much gusto in the rocky hills of the Land Park. At the top, we found calcium formations that had formed jagged cliffs. On our land excursion, we were joined by Bill and Vicky, who took pictures of us enjoying the huge waves and exploring the different paths. We then snorkeled in some other caves and headed back to Boundless. On Boundless, we decided to sail to Staniel Cay, the legendary wild pig island. When "wild pig" was uttered, the image that appeared in our heads was of a huge and ferocious pig with tusks. This image was only somewhat accurate. When we took the dinghy to the island, no pigs were in site. We walked along the beach for while, snorting like pigs and possibly becoming the laughing stock of the boats in range. A brave quartet consisting of myself, Mary, Jenny, and Mrs. Armor, wandered into the forest, armed with only a Ziploc bag full of lettuce. We walked about 150 feet in, snorting along the way, before we gave up hope and returned to the beach where the rest of the group was waiting. On the way out, I brought up the rear, pretty disappointed that I hadn't seen a wild pig. With one last glimmer of hope, I turned around and saw my very first wild pig. I whispered to Mary who was right in front of me, and then I didn't need to warn the others for Mary ran to the huddled remainder of the group screaming her head off. The group saw the pig and rushed toward it in a series of "Aww"s. Much to our relief, the pig did not have tusks, nor was it ferocious, at least not yet. She was large and stout with bristles of hair that were Fred Flintstone- esque. She liked getting her head rubbed up until the point that Biz rubbed it. When Biz rubbed it, the ferocious side of the pig showed itself and she swung her head angrily in my direction, attempting to nip me, which is wild pig code for "I'm gonna bite your pointer finger off!". The group scattered, even Annie who hadn't been too close to the pig. What happened in my body in the next nanosecond was remarkable. You know the fight or flight reflex? Well I decided to take flight in this instance, and fly I did indeed. It was a moment of superhuman ability due to a flood of adrenaline. Similar to those mothers who lift cars to save their kids due to adrenaline, I jumped ten feet, no exaggeration from the beach and into the dinghy in pure fear of getting my finger bitten off. The metal floor of the dinghy never felt so good.
Thank you for listening to my rants of our fantastic expeditions. Check back later on for more exhilarating stories from the Boundless crew! P.S. Father and Mother, if you ever see this, I'm having a blast! Love you both! p.p.s
01/18/2011, Coral Harbor
I hope everyone from the KCD trip arrived home safely last night and really enjoyed your looooong shower at home! :) After you left in the taxi for the airport I went back to Boundless and fell asleep! That's the sign of a great week! I wish you all could have stayed longer. There are so many more islands here to explore. Parents, thank you for sending a great group of kids and I'm sure that by now they've told you of all the adventures we had during the past 5 days. We snorkeled over coral, speared lobsters, gathered conch, saw a Nurse Shark and a Stingray, snorkeled on a sunken drug plane, and picked up several "creatures" off the ocean floor! All in all a great trip with lots of good food, laughter and exploration. I am flying home to Virginia for a month leaving Boundless here in New Providence, Bahamas. I'll be back in February to do a whole sling of back to back trips with some great schools from around the U.S. I'm already looking forward to the next KCD trip...perhaps in Maine this summer??? Keep in touch crew!!!! Capt. Jeff
If Once You've Slept on a Boat
If once you've slept on a boat You'll never be quite the same. You may look as you looked the day before, you may go by the same old name.
You may chat with a neighbor of this or that and close to your fire keep but you'll hear ship whistle and lighthouse bells and tides beat through your sleep.
Oh you can't say how and you can't say why such a change upon you came. But once you've slept on a boat you'll never be quite the same!
01/16/2011, Allen's Cay...Bahamas
Hello every one, it is Annie. Today was an exciting day. We went to a beach in Normans Cay where we did a lot. Kristin found 47 sand dollars, and I was covered I in sand up to my shoulders. After we went to the beach we came back to the sail boat and then got ready to go to Highborne Cay. On the way there we had sandwiches. The trip was about a hour and a half. When we got there we went to a coral reef called Octopuses Garden, all the coral was alive. Before we went back for the second time I couldn't get back into the boat I was trying to fight the current but then when they all saw me and came for me. After all that I had gotten pretty tired because I had been treading water for about 10 minutes. We caught two lobsters, one of them was huge it was about a foot long, but one of them was tiny. We came back from the reef and did a lot of stuff on the boat.
Hi, This is Elinor again! So first we went to a little beach cove it was awesome. Eleanor, Leah and I made a shallow hot tub. Kristin was a beast she found 47 sand dollars. Anne tricked Leah and I that she buried herself standing and well we believed her. After that we headed to Highborn Cay. WE went to a coral head named Octopus Garden. It was filled with life colorful it was unbelievable! There was purple, orange, blue, gray, and pink coral. The fish was magnificent too a variety of colors. We caught this huge lobster. For dinner we had yummy food made by Mrs. Pollitt. Have a GREAT day!!!!!! From, Elinor upon Boundless
Its ELEANOR Today was awesome! We hung around a little island that had a beach and then went back to the boat and had lunch/ sailed to octopuses garden and snorkeled through/ over coral reefs. Mrs. Pollitt and I found 2 HUGE lobster and 1 smaller lobster but we got 1 big one and the smaller one also. And we JUST finished eating them ! They were so amazing! And we had spaghetti and garlic bread and chocolate cake for dinner and dessert. We are now watching a movie and eating lobster and popcorn. Have a nice night.
Hey guys, it's Leah Typing for the first time ever. YAY! Hey Mom and Grandma what's up. Ok so today we were chillin on the small beach. Elinor, Eleanor, and I dug a big hole in the sand, which we called a hottub. It was AWESOME. Then after that we went snorkeling in octopus's garden the current was so strong, but the coral was soo beautiful. So that was basically our day so YAY YAY YAY
01/15/2011, Allen's Cay...Bahamas
Ahoy everyone... Capt. Jeff here! We have an awesome crew on board Boundless this week! With the amount of laughing and screaming going on it's hard to believe this is an "educational" program. Every day before starting the diesel engine on board Boundless, one of our crew (your daughters) checks the oil before going through the 3 step process to start the engine. Then, each one takes a half hour "watch" at the wheel as we sail to our next destination. I've got a great group of steerers on board and we only do a little bit of zig zagging as we travel! I'll let them tell you more details below but thanks for sending such a great group to Boundless!
Hey people! It's Eleanor and today we did many cool things! First, we woke up around 8ish and had cinnamon raison rolls with cream cheese and hot chocolate . Then we got our wetsuits on and hoped into the dinghy to go snorkeling on some coral reefs. But it was so rough and the current was so bad that we had to go back to the boat and start sailing again. We took about 2 hours and then arrived at Normans Cay. ( pronounced key) and we got into the dinghy and started to ride to these islands on Normans and it go SOO shallow we had to pull the boat without the engine through the water ( which was only about 6 inches to 1 foot of water ) and then finally got to the coral reefs. We saw many neat things, lobster ( we speared and just finished eating it along with the conch we made into conch fritters which were delicious ), and a nurse shark ( DON'T WORRY DAD, I DIDN'T GET ANYWHERE NEAR IT). We also snorkeled through a wrecked plane that crashed in Normans around 20 years ago. We saw a sting ray and lots of little fish there. Now we came back and showered and cracked conch and cooked the lobster, had dinner and now we are watching beetle juice. Tomorrow, we will snorkel a little bit in the morning then head back to Nassau ( SP?) which is about 5 -7 hours to get back there, then go out to dinner, get back on the boat and go to sleep. The next day we will hang around Nassau Harbor and walk around/ shop ! We will keep you posted! Eleanor on Boundless
Hey, This is Elinor typing to you yet again! Today we woke up and stuff. We were going to go see a big coral head but it was to wavy/choppy. So we went to Normans Cay it was awesome! We saw amazing coral heads and fish etc. There is a crashed airplane from 20 years ago. When we were heading back I saw this gargantuan sting ray. Of course I freaked and started yelling! Then Leah and I swam as fast as we could! So yeah pretty awesome day. Well have a GREAT day!!!!!!! From, Elinor upon Boundless(in Normans Cay)
Hey, everyone on land! I this trip has been awesome we have snorkeled, used the dinghy, and today we even drug the dinghy through a shallow spot. Today the water was so blue. Every island looks like a picture perfect! Okay well I think everything has been said earlier. Annie!
01/14/2011, Allen's Cay...Bahamas
This is Annie F. from the ship Boundless. I am with a crew for Kentucky and this our second day at sea. Yesterday flew into Nassau at 12:30, we took a 45 minute car ride from the air port and finely reached Nassau Harbor. We took a dinghy to the boat. After we got into the boat we went over some rules. We then took off to an island called Athol . After we dropped anchor we got into our bathing suites on and went snorkeling. While snorkeling, Kristen Y. dove down and picked up a Conch, Furry Sea Cucumber, and a Star fish! We came back in and took a shower by putting shampoo in our hair, jumping back in the water, and then coming out and rinsing off with fresh water. After we had hamburgers for dinner we got ready for bed and watched Ramona and Beezus. Then we went to bed and woke up in the morning. We set sail again for five hours for the Exumas (That is where we are at the moment). We went to Leaf Cay, which is only in habited by Iguanas and found Conch while snorkeling around the inner part of the cay. We found tons of Conch and plan on making Conch Fritters tomorrow and through a few back. Tonight we are going to have BBQ chicken for dinner!
Hey Everybody! Its Eleanor and today we arrived in the Exumas! Since Annie already told you what we have done, I will tell you what we are going to do tomorrow! We will wake up around 7 (blah) and eat breakfast ( oatmeal ) then get dressed and hop into the water to go explore some more. For Lunch we will have some conch fritters and ham and turkey sandwiches. Then we are going to go snorkeling in some coral reefs and spear lobster and maybe have it for dinner?!! But if that doesn't work out , it will be spaghetti. From, Eleanor on Boundless
Hello, This is Elinor typing to ya! Today we took a five hour ride to the Exumas! We also made it there. We went to Leaf Key where there is old iguanas! Then we also went snorkeling caught some conch and we might eat some tomorrow(yummy)! Tomorrow we are going to try to spear lobster and seafood! Well have a great week!!!!!!!!
From, Elinor upon Boundless
Hey, It's Kristin from boundless! Just letting you know what's going on. On the first day we rode to just outside Nassau we swam and I caught a starfish, conch, and a FURRY SEA CUCUMBER. It was squishy and slimy in my hand, how disgusting. Then we sailed for over five hours to the Exumas islands. We went to an island where there were endangered lizards. They came up to two feet away, it was AMAZING. We then found a couple conchs. We are going to make fritters out of them tomorrow. We are also going to spear lobster and fish. We will also grab some more conchs. Well I have to get ready to sleep so I can catch some seafood bye
Boundless is in Nassau Harbor waiting the arrival of 5 students from the Kentucky Day School in Louisville, KY along with their amazing teacher Megan!!! They will be here for 5 days and tomorrow we will leave Nassau and sail to the Exumas. Sailing, snorkeling, lobsters spearing (I hope!), and putting our feet in a sandy beach are all scheduled.
The wind should be NNE at 15-20kts for the next couple of days which is perfect sailing wind for Boundless!
Conch and lobsters here we come...
4 am in the Richmond airport and on my way back to Boundless! :) Snowed a bit here yesterday so, a nice contrast awaits me. A group arrives Thursday so hope to send updates as we sail the Exuma island chain. Watch out lobsters and conch...here I come!
Can't believe I'm in a Starbucks in Nassau! I've been stuck on Boundless for two days in Nassau Harbor due to high winds and waves. It blew 30 kts with gusts to 40 kts for two days. Boats were dragging their anchors all over Nassau Harbor and some crashed into one another in the middle of the night. Boundless and crew were safe as I anchored at the head of the pack of anchored boats so, no one was in front of us should their anchor let go. At 30-40 kts though we couldn't even get off the boat as the wind would have flipped our inflatable over with us in it! One of my favorite quotes is "Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all" I guess you have to live your quotes! :)
It's good to be in the islands even with bad weather. I especially love the Bahamian people and even in the few days we've been here there have been so many acts of kindness shown to us by everyone around. I feel more at home here than at "home".
Today the winds finally dropped to 15 kts and I took the chance to get off Boundless. Hope everyone one stateside is well and looking forward to a new year ahead...