Get to know Class Afloat faculty and students throughout the ages in our Alumni in the Spotlight series.
What’s your name?
Where are you from?
I grew up in Didsbury and Calgary, Alberta.
What year did you sail with Class Afloat?
I attended Class Afloat for the 2010-2011 year as a university student. We circumnavigated the Atlantic Ocean, including sailing on the North Sea, Baltic Sea, Mediterranean Sea, and Caribbean Sea.
Do you still keep in touch with your shipmates?
I keep in touch with, and get to see, a few of my shipmates regularly, and others not as often as I’d like. But with Floaties, no matter how much time has passed, we always seem to pick up again easily.
Where are you now?
I am living in Nova Scotia (currently near Lunenburg).
What have you been up to following your time at sea?
After Class Afloat I went to Acadia University and completed my degree in biology, which I began on the ship, then my BASc in ecosystem management at Lethbridge College.
I have been working in various areas of field biology (fisheries, bird studies, land management/conservation), except in the last couple of years, when I was a deckhand on the Bluenose II for 8 months and then completed a 5 month sail making apprenticeship, making four new sails for the Bluenose ll.
What impact did Class Afloat have on your life and career?
Class Afloat solidified my passion for travelling and nature, and made me more confident and self-reliant. The following summer, I was part of a crew of three that sailed from Hawaii to Vancouver in a 44 ft. vessel, an opportunity that would not have presented itself without my Class Afloat background.
What is your favourite Class Afloat memory?
It’s hard to pick an absolute favourite memory from my year at sea, but one of them is when we sailed through the Strait of Gibraltar, which lies between Europe and Africa, connecting the Mediterranean Sea to the Atlantic Ocean. This relatively narrow passage creates a ‘pinch point’ of marine life.
I remember being in biology class and our professor decided that it was too great of an opportunity to pass up, so we went aloft. It was a beautiful clear day and for miles I could see pods upon pods of dolphins, whales, and sunfish.
If you could offer your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be?
I could never have imagined where I have ended up and all the things that I have have been able to do in my life so far. I would advise my younger self to step outside my comfort zone and to take advantage of every opportunity. You are only young once. That sounds so cliche, but it is true.
Being able to challenge yourself and see the world from the safety of Class Afloat affords more adventures than you could ever accomplish, or even imagine, on your own. I could not have imagined that I would be trekking across the Sahara desert on camels and sleeping in a Bedouin tent village.
What’s was your biggest takeaway from your Class Afloat journey?
Being able to explore many countries and cultures is so valuable in ways that are hard to describe. One of my biggest takeaways is that no matter how different a culture is, at their core, people are the same. Even with language barriers, we can share the same sense of humour and acknowledge our shared interests. It made me realize that we really are part of a global community.