June 27, 2011 / Day 2 for Troop 1 from St Helena, CA
Pop tarts and cereal are how we often start the day on the Conch Pearl. Sea Base sets the menu and provisions the boats—I am not to blame! And that is how this day began. The menu is designed for easy preparations and mass appeal (to teenagers, woe to us old farts). Everything tastes better out on the water anyway, so there is little complaint about the food aboard from our guests. Tim has said this many times in the day he has been aboard. Unlike other high adventure experiences, this is not the one where your fellas will come home having lost weight!
After breakfast we hoisted sails and departed our mooring ball off Fleming Key. Last night was pretty uneventful, considering what the radar looked like before we went to bed. We headed out to the reef line south of Key West. Winds were SE around 15kts, so a little bouncy. By the time we made the reef,we had one guy succumbing to seasickness. Mitchell ended up sitting out the first dive at Eastern Dry Rocks because he just felt too queasy. Unfortunately the bonine wasn’t working. He was looking a little pasty. Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day for him, maybe someone will find some Dramamine for him to try. Visibility was around 30ft, not awe-inspiring, but not bad, either. And did I mention the water here is warm?…
We had lunch on the way to Sand Key Lighthouse, which is west of the previous site. Our favorite mooring ball there has a huge boulder coral nearby, in about 30 ft of water. The guys liked the spot very much. Will gets the enthusiasm award for the week, so far (though closely followed by Tim). As he comes up the ladder after a dive, Will seems to always spit out his regulator to tell us about his wildlife sightings! It does my heart good to see guys enjoy themselves so much! We did a third dive on another ball at Sand Key then motorsailed back into Fleming Key anchorage. By 5:30 we were tied up, and the kids were itching to go swimming—though it was more really jumping, diving, and the occasional belly flopping! Priceless! Even the adult leaders got in on the action! After they began to run out of steam, bait fishing became the activity of choice—a little less physical effort involved. But still, they fished with enthusiasm, just less splashing! All in all, it was a good day.
And our crew leader, who has heard me rant on “washing dishes—the lost art”, outed himself to me this evening. Apparently he works part time at a catering job, so he is pretty good at cooking and clean-up! He was very kind in not withholding this information until the last day! So, Chris, I’ll have high expectations of you this week! Actually, my expectations are usually pretty low, because often I must ensure that the galley crew washes their hands—it’s not an automatic reaction to showing up to handle food. Usually I give a little lesson on how to use a can opener (not the fancy “no sharp edges” opener my Mom and Dad sent me to keep scout fingers safe—that one is WAY TOO complicated). Often I stand guard against keeping the dish towel safe and sanitary—“no, it is not for wiping your brow as you stand befuddled with the confusing can opener!” As I said in a post last week, my standards are not high! But I do try my best to convince the scouts every week that knowing your way around a kitchen will only do you good in life, and besides “girls like it” when a guy can cook. Makes a fella downright irresistible, right?!?!?
So we finish out this day with a baited line in the water, a live fish wiggling, trying to lure up a small shark. These boys LOVE to fish. If we catch a shark, I think Will might spontaneously combust! Up in a puff of smoke, he’ll be so thrilled! Hmmmm, I wonder how I’d deal with the paperwork on that…….
Signing off, Holley Whitley, Senior Damage Control Coordinator of Conch Pearl’s galley