Alumni Sail

Posted on 21 January 2015 @ 3:10pm

Galley, Watch, Happy Hour, Lookout and 1min shower… Those strange words coming out from Floaties mouth… Those words you think you understand… But I swear you don’t until you experience them for real! Alumni Sail is the best way to get along with life at sea as a CAF member! After a week onboard, I can really and fully understand how my daughters lived for a school year on a tall ship. During night watch, I was surrounded by thousands of stars and was thinking about the wonderful opportunity CAF students get to experience every year. Also I can understand how close they get to each other over the semester as I saw impressive teamwork during this Alumni Sail!  I have no words to describe my feeling when I saw land on portside as we approached Guadeloupe… 15 hours sail, imagine crossing the ocean! Climbing aloft was also a challenging moment while at sea during this one week Caribbean Sail, but I was so proud to make it. Without any doubt, I will come back for another CAF Alumni Sail ! 

Charlotteville, Trinidad & Tobago

Posted on 7 January 2015 @ 7:56pm

Tobago has been a tropical paradise!  After arriving early in Man O’War Bay, students enjoyed their time at anchor with multiple swim calls and beautiful views.  On New Years Eve we brought in the new year with a student lead coffee house on the foredeck followed by some tasty treats.  At midnight, we continued an old maritime tradition by having the oldest person on board ring out the old year and the youngest ring in the new.  We were able to see the fireworks on the shore and sent some lanterns into the night sky courtesy of Diego.  On January 2nd, students had a full day to explore the island with many students taking the local bus to Scarborough, the nearest sizable city, while many others stayed in Charlotteville near the ship and enjoyed liming (relaxing) with the locals.  On Jan 3rd, we went deep into the oldest Primary Rainforest in the Western Hemisphere in search of some of the rare and exotic birds that are unique to the island of Tobago.  Students saw many birds, including humming birds and parrots, learned about forest ecology, swung from some vines and even ate some tasty termites!  After getting muddy and sweaty on the hike, we finished the afternoon with a dip at Argyle Falls.  January 4th allowed the students to reunite with local friends they had met and go on recommended adventures.  Some went to local houses for lunches while others went Scuba Diving in Speyside.  Overall, the beauty of the island coupled with the kindness of the people has ensured that Tobago will always have a place in the students hearts.

Paramaribo, Suriname

Posted on 31 December 2014 @ 4:54pm

On the evening of December 23, after twenty-three days at sea, everyone on board was very excited to finally see the shores of Suriname. Despite our difficulties with customs, it was confirmed that on Christmas Day at 0700h we would be able to board our buses and head to where the road ends and head into the Amazon Jungle for a three-day adventure.

After a four-hour bus ride, we boarded long motorized canoes and headed 1.5 hours up the Upper Suriname River to Menimi Eco Lodge. Once we arrived we were able to settle into our rooms and head into the river for an afternoon swim.  Later, we ate a typical Surinamese lunch of rice and beans and fresh fruit.  In the late afternoon, we divided in to four groups and went for a walk through the jungle with
our local guides.  Here we learned about which vines are safe for swinging, the medicinal properties of jungle plants, and identified creatures we came across along the way.  We also were shown a “plot” and explained how they work.  Each male is expected to clear a small area of land and cultivate it once he has a family. We were shown pumpkin, pineapple, sugar cane, peanut and many other plants being grown on the plot.  Once it got dark, half the students reloaded the canoes and went out to try to spot caimans in the river while the others enjoyed a campfire before bed.

On day two, students went for a swim before breakfast then got ready to divide once again into four smaller groups for our visit downstream to Gunzi Maroon Village.  Maroons are the descendents of African slaves that escaped into the jungle to find freedom.  In these villages, the people still have many African traditions such as ladies carrying laundry/food baskets on their heads and men building dugout canoes for transportation.  We were able to visit the village of ourmain guide Jozef were students were able to choose which task they would participate in for the day.  Some went to the plots to help with planting and harvesting, others went to the river to try to catch some
piranhas for our lunch while the other two groups learned to cook traditional dishes to share with the village.  During this time students got to spend the entire day working with local Saramaccan people taking turns getting their hair braided (girls and boys), playing with local children, learning to open coconuts and making jewelry from the leaves of plants.  We also helped hulling rice and preparing cassava bread.  Once all the work was done, we shared the meal we all played a part in creating with the village.  After lunch, the Saramaccans did a small performance of local song and dance and we were encouraged to join in. The evening ended with a quick swim together after the game followed by a final goodbye.  Before the other half of the students went caiman spotting, we were greeted by Jozef holding a tarantula he had found. Students were all given a chance to
hold it and get photos.

Tenerife, Gran Canaria

Posted on 2 December 2014 @ 6:27pm

After a rocky start, the island of Tenerife proved to be worth the confusion over our berth. For our port program, we drove for an hour and a half to Playa Los Americanos to go surfing! Because of a forecasted storm, the port program was changed so that all students went surfing on the same day in two shifts rather than over two days as previously planned. There were high winds, but that didn’t stop people from having a great time. For the remaining days ashore, people enjoyed going to the world famous water park on the island, hiking in the mountains, riding the gondola up the volcano, going out to see the new Hunger Games movie, and most importantly, calling home for the last time before we set sail for 23-days across the Atlantic. In preparation for the crossing, a new stay-sail was put up in place of our schooner gaff sail. Now underway, all aboard are excited for South America and the fast approach of Christmas at sea.

Funchal, Madeira, Portugal

Posted on 25 November 2014 @ 2:19pm

After our parent port, we arrived in Madeira. It is one of the most amazing islands most of us have ever been to, mainly because of its astonishing beauty. What first caught our eyes were the beautiful cliffs and the landscapes of the island in general. We were greeted by the most amazing rainbow welcoming us to a new harbor full of adventures waiting for us. That breathtaking rainbow was by far not the only one we saw, which is why for some of us, Madeira will be called “Rainbow Island.”

Cádiz, Spain

Posted on 15 November 2014 @ 8:04pm

We were at anchor the night before our grand arrival. Following our deep clean on arrival morning, we prepared the ship to arrive at 10 am. After we arrived and hugged and kissed our parents, we introduced them to our friends. It was nice to get to know the parents of our best friends.

Ajaccio, Corsica

Posted on 1 November 2014 @ 10:11pm

Arriving in the beautiful, palm tree peppered, harbor of Ajaccio, a representative from the mayor’s office greeted us. They provided us with welcome information about the city and greatly appreciated candy. After the meet and greet with the representative and an excited muster, we were released upon the city to wander aimlessly, eat more then we should, and contact loved ones back home with stories of the latest sail. Our freedom carried through to the next day where we were free to indulge our fantasies of independence until the 11 o’clock p.m. curfew. For some of us, this day of freedom meant trying to bring a taste of home’s tradition to the ship in the form of carved gourds and egg carton ghosts. We also used this day to provide the friendly and curious locals with a chance to see our home; an “open ship” was conducted between 1 and 3 p.m. with tours being led by students.

Valletta, Malta

Posted on 25 October 2014 @ 2:39pm

Malta was amazing! The walls that surrounded the city were the first thing that came into view as we sailed into Valetta. The tall sandstone walls towered over the water hiding the ancient stronghold. Valletta is surrounded by amazing beaches and breathtaking views of the island. It is the only city in the world that is still completely fortified.

Vigo, Spain

Posted on 7 October 2014 @ 2:32pm

Vigo, Spain treated us well and we had lots of fun, but now everyone is looking forward to bonding and sailing over the next 14 days on our way to Malta! We have a credo meeting scheduled for this evening where we hope to decide on a slogan for our journey.

Amsterdam and London, England

Posted on 24 September 2014 @ 2:26pm

As part of our "Class Acoach" port programming students had fun on a canal tour in Amsterdam, then headed into Belgium for 4 days of adventure and learning. We spent time in the UNESCO city of Brugge, the beaches of Ostende, the Battlefields of Ypres and Vimy, and discovered the comic culture of Brussels.