AORE Partner News March 2018 - Page 4

8

PhoNorth Face global athlete Dylan Bowman teaches about packing a backpack at an Every Kid in a Park event. Photo credit: National Park Trustto credit: National Park Trust

4

These reflections by students about their Bahamas sailing adventure sum up the reaction of most of our participants: The experience is life changing.

The 6-day live-aboard adventure takes place in the Abaco Islands, the northernmost chain in the more than 700 islands of the Bahamas. Groups fly to Marsh Harbour on Great Abaco Island to board one or more of the sailing vessels in our fleet. After a brief orientation, they set sail over the brilliant blue hues of the Sea of Abaco to explore the nearby barrier islands.

Students Become Part of the Crew

Participants of Sailing Adventures in the Bahamas become part of the crew and, guided by the captains, help raise the sails, navigate, and take the helm. They help prepare meals and participate in daily tasks to keep the boats shipshape.

Days are filled with sailing, trolling for local fish off the stern, snorkeling the reefs, and visiting different island settlements. Each night, the boats anchor in a sheltered bay. Evening is the time to watch the sun set over the horizon, prepare fresh meals, share stories, play games and eventually drop off to sleep under the stars.

Discover Bahamian Culture on Island Settlements

The Abaco islands offer treasure troves of opportunities for exploration and adventure. Hope Town on Elbow Cay is home to one of the last manually operated working lighthouses in the world. A climb to the top of the 150-year-old lighthouse offers magnificent views of the island chain.

Man-O-War Cay, an early British Loyalist settlement, is renowned for boat building and canvas works. The longest cay in the Abacos, Great Guana Cay has a spectacular stretch of beach with a barrier reef just offshore on the Atlantic side. Treasure Cay boasts a picture-perfect crescent beach that has graced many top-10 beach lists.

The Abaco islands also offer a boundless array of walking trails and white sandy beaches. Each island settlement has its own personality – and nothing beats the fresh seafood you can sample at local restaurants.

Teamwork and Leadership

Teamwork is essential as students take on leadership roles. We encourage everyone to move a little bit outside of their comfort zone to come away from the experience with a sense of personal growth and accomplishment.

For many, jumping from a boat into crystal clear water is a new sensation. While at anchor students kayak, paddle board and swim to the beach. There are daily reef snorkeling opportunities where they witness the marine habitat with its endless variety of sea life – from sea turtles to fish to colorful coral creatures.

The Fowl Cay National Park, for instance, offers several biologically rich coral reefs to explore – and hides a special surprise in an underwater cave in one of the reefs.

Tailored to Your Group’s Goals

The trip is an experiential learning adventure that can be tailored to meet specific goals. While each trip has a basic itinerary, the Sailing Adventures in the Bahamas program can accommodate courses that offer academic credit. We are happy to coordinate with professors or study abroad coordinators in advance. The trip lends itself very well to the study of topics such as marine biology, astronomy, film and media, photography, cultural studies, art and ecotourism.

Ellen Sokol and Lori Gudmundson, Sailing Adventures in the Bahamas

A Live-Aboard Adventure in the Bahamas – Sail, Snorkel, Explore!