From the tip of Puerto Rico to the coast of Venezuela are a string of nearly 700 islands. The northernmost islands, originally called the Leeward Islands, earned their name because of their leeward position (away from the wind) to ships arriving to the New World. Because of their historical importance to trade in this area, the gorgeous islands of St. Martin, St. Barts, St. Kitts and Statia are a fascinating mix of French, Dutch, and English colonization. Although culturally diverse, the real attractions are the consistent breezes and dynamic coral reefs surrounding the islands.
This program was designed for a group of high school students participating in a leadership program. There was so much interest, that the school opened it up for two boats rather than the original one boat plan. There was one teacher and two Broadreach instructors on each catamaran. The Broadreach instructors led sail and scuba dive certifications as well as taking a lead on risk management and group development. This program has been offered every other year by the school.
This course is designed to provide a hands-on experience in diverse ecosystems of the Caribbean and give students the opportunity to complete their PADI open water scuba diving certification. The group is divided into teams to sail, cook, clean and plan the daily schedule. Through real-world problem solving we hope students will develop communication and leadership skills, while also gaining confidence, resilience, independence, empathy and openness to new ideas. By the end of the course, students should also understand Caribbean geography, be able to identify marine life and have a greater appreciation of marine ecosystems.
There are many challenges associated with traveling and learning in new environments, and the success of the experience depends on individual efforts and the cohesion of the group. Students are encouraged to assume leadership roles and become active participants in making decisions that help guide the direction of the program, while also recognizing that the amount of independence and control is reduced when working as a team in a collective group experience. All participants are active crew members on a working boat and students will rotate through chores, cook meals and help with sailing and navigation. In the close-knit community of living on a boat, above all, respect for one another and the environment is the cornerstone to being responsible team members and global citizens.
Day 1: Fly from Dayton to St. Martin. Welcome to the Caribbean! Transfer to Anse Marcel for orientations, gear fitting and spend our first night on the boat.
Day 2: Wake up early and get into the rhythm of life in the Caribbean. Complete the swim test and orientations and then start PADI dive training.
Day 3: We continue our dive training in Grand Case.
Day 4: Time to leave St. Martin on our first long sail! We finish our shallow water dive training and sail to the uninhabited island of Ile Fourche.
Day 5: Sunrise hike? Sure! After breakfast we do our first open water dive before drying off, releasing the mooring and sailing to Colombier, St. Barths. Next, we explore St. Barths with a hike to a beautiful white sand beach.
Day 6: Today is another busy day. After completing our second open water dive we motor to Gustavia for some time in town and a chance to provision all of our water and supplies. In the evening, study for the PADI exam.
Day 7: We wake up early in the morning for the longest sail of our journey. We leave at first light to sail from St. Barths to St. Kitts. When we arrive we jump in the water for a swim and then prepare for our scuba exam.
Day 8: Sail to Whitehouse Bay to complete our final two scuba certification dives on the beautiful reefs of St. Kitts.
Day 9: One of our favorite dives is the wreck of the River Taw. Now that we are certified divers we can begin to explore new parts of the underwater world. Then, we make a quick stop to reprovision before sailing to Sandy Pt. Town.
Day 10: Explore Brimstone Hill Fortress and learn about the colonial history of St. Kitts. In the afternoon we dive one of the many great dive sites nearby.
Day 11: Ready for another big sail? We gain confidence as we sail to our next port of call, the volcanic island of Statia.
Day 12: It is another early morning as we wake up early to beat the heat of the day for our hike up the magnificent Quill volcano. Relax on the sail to Saba.
Day 13: Saba has too many great dive sites to count! We learn about marine conservation and explore the vibrant reefs of Saba with multiple dives.
Day 14: Learn about the Saba Marine Park and potentially volunteer on a project. Explore the red-roofed village of Windward Side town and end another day in the Caribbean with a dive.
Day 15: Sadly it is time to begin the process of heading home. We reflect on our journey on the long sail from Saba to Tintemarre. The uninhabited island is the perfect place for some beach time, reflection and another dive.
Day 16: It’s our last full day in the Caribbean, what do we want to do? There are so many options before we leave Tintemarre. Finally, we return to St. Martin for our course closing and a celebration of our adventure together.
Day 17: We pack-up the boat, shower off and transfer to the airport for our flight home. Safe travels!
This itinerary is flexible and subject to change based on weather, group, availability of activities or other conditions. A more detailed daily itinerary will be provided upon enrollment.