Location: West End

As skipper of Tanis Marie, I’ve had the pleasure of watching these eleven shipmates, all former strangers (except cousins Grace and Emily of course!), develop into a fully functioning and capable crew that has passed all of the sailing and scuba diving courses that they set out to complete a mere 3 weeks ago. What I’ve also witnessed are more individual and personal achievements. So many shipmates are so far out of their comfort zone and doing things they had never considered before. In doing so, we’ve all learned about each others strengths, weaknesses, and many hidden talents. Paula, who is from Basque Country in Spain, had little to no sailing experience and has blossomed while also battling a bit of a language barrier. We managed to get her wakeboarding for her first time and is now carving across the wake and jumping while giving the boys a run for their money. Mathis, from Paris, who speaks very little English, blasted through the language barrier with help from our whole crew. His favorite part of the day was usually the salt water shower where he would leap from the transom of the boat into the cool waters of the BVI’s and grin from ear to ear until hopping back aboard for the freshwater shower. He also surprised me while waterskiing by doing the “Macarena” dance routine behind my ski boat. I’m still trying to figure out how he came up with that! I have had the pleasure of enjoying the company of 3 returning shipmates. Jared, Max, and Izzie all completed ActionQuest programs last summer and returned to get advanced sailing and scuba certifications. I had this crewman the helm for some practical testing the other day, and we were going through our sailing circle drills and practiced heaving-to. While doing so, Jared’s parents sailed by on a catamaran, and it couldn’t have been a perfect time for the family to watch what we do out here, as all the drills were at nearly race speed. I even caught their hired skipper smiling, and think there was a touch of jealousy because maneuvering a 53-foot yacht in such a manner is, in so many words, a good time! I mentioned those hidden talents and can’t ignore Emily’s impersonations of other crew, which was world class. Her cousin Grace has a talent for laughing at my jokes which are not altogether funny! Much appreciation there, Grace! Sophie has a knack for somehow discovering and then sharing the trends from Cosmopolitan magazine, something I never expected to learn about while sailing in the BVI’s. She also leads the way on the jib sheets during the races!

Jared, after weeks of perfecting his knots, has created a new hammock knot that makes it easier for its users to get out of the hammock in the morning because it’s almost a guarantee that the hammock will be on the ground! Jackson’s super-human strength and lifting ability have been invaluable when I need to raise certain parts of the boat’s boom, for example! Martin, from France, has such perfect English that he’s managed to translate everything for Mathis, which would have otherwise been difficult for any of the staff or other crew. Shipmate Billy has turned from a beginner sailor to a rigging machine as he’s learned how to rig and work all the running rigging aboard which has been a huge help to this skipper! It’s impossible to summarize our whole session together as a crew aboard Tanis Marie. There have been thousands of laughs, a few tears, and memories to keep us going after we set our sails for the final time. We had a crew meeting last night, and the realization that we would soon be going our separate ways start to settle in, and there were a few tears shed. I can only imagine when all finally have bags in hand and fly back home, it will be a sad moment. These shipmates have done so much in a relatively short time. It makes me wonder where life will take them after ActionQuest, and I can only hope that we’ve influenced them in some small way to take chances and make positive decisions. To get out of their comfort zone, take challenges head-on, and discover new things and places that will ultimately shape their blossoming personalities. The experiences I shared with this crew, including my first crew dive aboard the RMS Rhone, will stay with me forever. Thank you to all the friends and family that have supported these shipmates in their decision to join us at ActionQuest for summer 2013. I promise every moment was worth it!