Location: Phi Phi Don, Thailand

Today was our first attempt at true sailing. After a couple of days of struggling to memorize the names of every standing rigging and sail component, we were ordered to sail at a broad reach on a port tack, learning in the same fashion as a child being thrown into a pool before knowing how to swim. Well, except for Richard because he’s spent more time on boats than the rest of us, meaning more than the past seven days. After a couple of hours of easing the sheets and tacking in the wind, we began to grasp the concept of how the sails could make the boat move. Just as we grew comfortable with our roles as crew members, our crafty Captain called out, “man overboard!” for our first drill underway. Most of us scramble about the deck and wait to be given a job; it was really like a scene out of Despicable Me, including the hysteria of the minions. It took us seventeen minutes to complete our efforts, but at last, the precious flotation device was safely returned to the comfort of the midships. We discussed what we did well and what could use improvement, and we will undoubtedly improve our time for the next drill.

After a full day of sailing, we now all sport matching blisters, which your parents will be happy to hear, will replace the need for matching tattoos. In addition to our growing callouses, we are developing upper body strength, some of us for the first time ever. After these coming 83 days, you will be the proud parents of tan, top-heavy sailors. Our marine biology instructor Carolyn led some daring girls in a Zumba lesson on deck for all of Phi Phi Don to enjoy. It was bloody brilliant.

The night ended with a pot of Laurie’s infamous chili and Kris’s cornbread. We watched the sunset while discussing which song we would like to play every time we entered a room. The results included Earth, Wind, Fire, Nappy Roots, Queen, Justin Timberlake, and more. Guess which artists were chosen by students versus instructors.

We are all excited to continue our diving certification tomorrow and explore more of Thailand’s coastline.