Location: Koh Chang, Thailand
It was a mad dash for the tin foil, egg cartons, paper clips, and straws. Representatives from each of the four teams fought valiantly for supplies and then rushed back to their teams to start the design and construction. We had a countdown of 30 minutes to create a sailing vessel that could carry coins and a clay captain without falling apart or sinking. The rules were simple: we could only use the allotted materials to create a vessel with two masts, one of which must be longer than the length of the boat, a keel, and could race from the bow to the stern of Argo. The teams worked diligently, debating over design tactics and how to install sturdy masts to uphold the sails. Ten minutes in, one group (Caroline, Hunter, and Mark) made the risky decision to completely scratch their design and start over with only 20 minutes remaining. Our time ran out way quicker than I had expected, and we had to step away from our boats no matter how incomplete or awkward they were.
We then had to let the glue dry, so we jumped into the dinghies and set off for our final shore day in Koh Chang. We explored more of the island, went shopping, indulged in sweet desserts (as usual), relaxed, napped on the beach, got some amazing Thai massages, and enjoyed a light rain during our short hike back. Another stress-free day in paradise! Maybe I’ll just stay for three more months! (Just kidding family, I’ll be home soon). When we returned from shore, it was time for the race to begin! Each team had two members who were in the water – each responsible for one leg of the race and one member on deck ready to chug a bottle of water – the second leg couldn’t begin until the water bottle was empty. It was a hilarious struggle to keep the boats out of the water until go-time for fear of premature water damage and possible sinking, so the first leggers swam with the boats held above their heads. The rules included obstacles such as projectiles being thrown at the boats, and the only way to steer our boats was by creating our own waves or wind, no touching it! And with a pretty fantastic noise from Laurie, the contestants were off! It wasn’t long before it became painfully apparent which boats were or weren’t waterproofed well. I’d like to say how amazing all our boats were, but only one or two even made it to the second leg – mine being one that sunk about 8 seconds after hitting the water… The only boat to survive the final leg was, in fact, Caroline, Hunter, and Mark’s boat! The very boat that had a huge time disadvantage after scratching their original design plan. Congrats to the winners who received a giant Toblerone chocolate bar to split. At my last dinner as skipper, I asked my final squeeze question (which I thought of ten seconds before asking as usual): “If you could be any National Park or Marine Protected Area, what would you be?” I’ve got quite a list of top-notch National Parks to visit now! It was a successful last day as skipper!