Yea, that’s where I spent my Spring Break — Blackbeard’s Backyard. Yes, I’m talking about Blackbeard the Pirate a.k.a. Edward Teach. His hideout was very close to where I spent all of last week.
If you didn’t know, I was one of the adult leaders on one of T119’s Sea Base crews. They had three overall (I think) — Two did the Keys Adventure (my crew) and one was on the Out Island Adventure. The Out Island adventure is where you spend all week on Munson Island i.e. not my idea of a good time, really. The Keys Adventure is where you spend some time sailing, deep sea fishing, snorkeling, on a beach, visiting some of the local nature preserves, in Key West and on Munson Island.
If you want to read a day to day summary of what happened throughout my Spring Break, you’ll have to click on the “Continue Reading” link at the bottom of the post.
I will tell you that it was possibly one of the best weeks I’ve ever had. I got to know the kids on the trip extremely well and was able to see them overcome some of their fears/reservations about certain activities. All of them tried something completely new at some point during the week.
Overall it was a relaxing and fun week. I was excited to leave for the trip, couldn’t wait to get home to see everyone, and now I miss it.
That’s all I’ve got for the basic summary of the week. Remember if you want the in-depth day by day description, check out the continue reading link.
Song of the Day — Somebody Told Me — The Killers
Quote of the Day — “I’ll buy you a pop if…” — Josh to us at various times throughout the week.
Hero of the Day — Thea for causing a fit of laughter over spilled staples in the IC today.
Villain of the Day — SNOW
Current Mood — — Tired
Until the next post…
The Sea Base Adventure
The first day of the trip. We met at the church at 7:30am and left around 8ish. Surprisingly I was able to stay awake on the plane the whole flight down. I read the first section of Fahrenheit 451 on the plane and the three hour bus ride from the airport to the Brinton Center. When we got to the Brinton Center, we didn’t have time to do anything but grab a snack and head right into the leaders’ meeting. After the meeting we had the opening campfire which was a combination of dos and don’ts for the trip as well as general humor and education. It was followed by a slideshow where they pointed out some of the poisonous plants/animals as well as all the protected/threatened/endangered species in the area. It was really cool. After the campfire, I crashed because I was exhausted from traveling.
Woke up bright and early for swim tests at 7:30am. We would have had them Sunday, but we got into base too late. After the tests, we got our snorkel gear and dry bags issued to us. After we had all our gear and got dried off, we went to breakfast, then packed what we would need for a night on the island into our dry bags and we were off. Today was the Deep Sea fishing day. The first spot we went to fish was pretty bad. We didn’t catch anything until right when we were going to leave when Mitch got his Lemon Shark on line. We pulled him in, wrestled with him for a bit and put him in the cooler to calm him down. The thing was pretty big, 47″ long, and I believe it took the record for Lemon Shark caught this season. Josh, our mate, sat on the cooler the whole way to the next fishing spot trying to keep the shark from throwing him overboard. Once the shark calmed down, we cleaned it, freed its pups (it was a pregnant shark) then put it back into the cooler.
The second spot was much more promising. We caught a couple endangered fish (I don’t remember what they were), threw them back, and I caught a Mackerel and an Orange Snapper. Both were quite tasty but the shark was the best catch of the day. The other crew caught some Catfish and Snapper too, but it ended up being too much for all of us to eat. Dinner ended up being really late because they were using brand new stoves and they obviously didn’t test them before bringing them out. We ended up having to wait and get another hose from the Out Island crews so we could cook. Needless to say, I was quite sugar deprived and needed something to eat to get rid of my headache. The sad news is that it never went away for the whole trip. Soon after dinner was over and cleaned up, I crashed.
Woke up with a headache… After breakfast, we walked for what seemed like forever to the lagoon and got into kayaks. Will was my kayak buddy, which about drove me nuts. His right arm is way stronger than his left, so our kayak kept veering to the left.
We went through what they call the Mangrove Maze. It’s an area of the island covered in mangroves with water underneath them. There’s only one way through the maze and toward the end, there is an area where the water is so shallow that you have to pretty much drag your kayak through using the paddles. It wasn’t too much fun, but the mud fight that ensued at the end of the maze was classic.
We kayaked back to the lagoon and then ate lunch and packed up all our stuff. By this point, I was suffering from mild to moderate heat exhaustion, so the rest of the day was no fun. I opted to leave right away and head back to base since one of the fishing boats had arrived at the floating docks early.
We got back to base, cleaned everything up, I took a shower, we ate dinner, I played some basketball then crashed.
This was by far my favorite day of the week. Wednesday was sailing/snorkeling day. This was a great, relaxing day. We headed out of the Brinton Center as early as we could. Soon after we left the channel, we set the sails and killed the engine. The rest of the day was under sail. The boys were our captains for the day, steering the boat and learning how to tack and jibe. We couldn’t tack because we didn’t have enough wind, but we were able to jibe. It was my first experience on a craft other than a Hobbie Cat or the old Sun Bum that camp used to have. The craft was a 37′ Sloop (well, 33′ with a 4′ bowsprit) — a 37′ sailboat with one mast.
We sailed out to Looe Key — the third most dived spot in the world. When we arrived, the captain took us to his favorite snorkeling spot; however, the water was really mucky so we weren’t able to do any good snorkeling. We ate lunch there and played rodeo — jumping off the boat with a large buoy between your legs, surfacing and riding it like a bucking bronco or whatever for as long as you can — for a while. When we moved, the snorkeling was awesome.
When we were ready to leave, we actually had to practice a man-overboard drill. There was an older gentleman who drifted too far from his craft and his snorkeling gear malfunctioned. He was calling for help and we answered his plea. We dragged him back to his boat behind our sloop since the walls were too high to get him in. The people he was out with had no idea he was missing. Further proof that the buddy system works when out in water. If they had been paying attention to him, we wouldn’t have had to make a rescue.
This was the Key West day — my least favorite day of the trip. It started with a visit to an old Civil War Union Fort for a few hours of history. The fort was called Fort Zachary and it was really cool. For lunch we headed to the nearby beach where Josh bet DJ and Jess a box of Twinkies and a case of Mountain Dew that they wouldn’t have the guts to rub sunscreen into one of the “seafox’s” backs. Well, I have photos of DJ putting sunscreen on a not-so-attractive-from-the-front girl and Jess putting sunscreen on her boyfriend haha. Needless to say, they earned their pop and Twinkies. This became a game for the rest of the trip. Every time we were at a beach, DJ and Jess were back at it. They approached at least 20 individual college-aged girls who were quite attractive by the end of the week.
Other than that, there’s nothing in Key West but bars and shops. We did go to a pirate museum, which was freakin awesome. At the end of the day we went to the Sunset Festival — all the homeless people in Key West come and put on shows for donations. When it was nearing a close, we went to a place called Monty’s for dinner. It was pretty good, but some of the guys ended up with food poisoning.
Yet another relaxing day. We traveled to the Blue Hole Nature Preserve and checked out some alligators and some of the other wildlife there. We talked to a very interesting volunteer who knew a lot about the wildlife and the preserve as a whole. It was really cool.
We then headed to the Bahia Honda (Deep Bay) State Park and spent the rest of the day at two beaches, one of which has been voted Florida’s top Beach. DJ and Jess got buried in the sand, they approached quite a few more girls and even got the email address of a gal their age whom they dubbed “Oh Canada” since she was from Canada.
That night was the luau, which is like the closing campfire. DJ and I put on the Titanic skit and got a perfect 10 across the board, the highest score of any of the skits. Then we packed up all our stuff and went to bed, for we had to be awake and ready to go at 3am the next morning…
This was a trying day…
We got up around 2:30am, gathered all our stuff and headed to the front of the Brinton Center to wait on our van to take us to the airport.
3am – no van
4am – no van
4:50am – van pulls up and a very apologetic Portuguese man gets out and says “They were supposed to give me trailer, I can’t take this much gear” Lloyd, the adult leader on the trip, says “No, we’re going to miss our flight, we’ll sit with bags on our laps.”
To put this in prospective, to get to the Ft Lauderdale airport from the Brinton Center, it takes 4 to 5 hours. We left around 5am for a 9:30am flight. We were at checkin at 8am. I made myself sleep for the trip just so I didn’t have to see what was going on.
We ended up getting home and I immediately went to sleep, I was so exhausted.
That’s the story of my spring break. Hope you all enjoyed!