Last Saturday Toby and Rusty returned home from a week of sailing the open seas with their fellow sea dogs. It was an adventure of a lifetime and I was so glad Rusty got to experience it with his Dad.
Their crew was comprised of three other young men from Rusty’s scout troop and three other leaders, making it a solid crew of eight.
This adventure came about as a result of an awesome Scoutmaster who time after time pulls out all the stops and goes far beyond the call of duty to offer these boys incredible, skill building, character developing, life changing challenges. This was, however, an opportunity that went beyond their normal adventures. This was a once in a lifetime experience offered through The Boy Scout’s Sea Base in southern Florida.
A year ago they secured a spot for the season and Toby and Rusty signed up to go with the troop, giving Rusty a year to work and earn the money needed to fund this fun. Those twelve months flew by and before we knew it the time had arrived for them to pack their bags and hit the road.
The troop decided to drive down to Sea Base in our 12 passenger van, a spacious and dependable vessel that they soon discovered was built for high capacity not high comfort. They left on their road trip early Thursday morning and drove for 22 hours straight, allowing a few quick stops along the way, including an emergency 2:30 am stop at a Krispy Kreme Donuts.
One of the passengers in the van who was not sleeping at the time spotted the “Hot Donuts Now” sign lit up like a beacon of refuge to weary travelers. With a shout of “STOP!” those sleeping were jolted awake and this van full of scouts pulled in to claim their hot donuts from the drive-thru window…Donuts which ended up being merely warm, much to their disappointment.
By the time they pulled into the Sea Base parking lot everyone was worn and weary and ready to catch some ZZZZZs… wherever they could find them.
They were informed that they could check into the dorms at noon, so while they waited they headed over to Robbie’s, a local dumpy but delicious dive on the water. There they enjoyed a yummy breakfast on the docks. Toby said it wasn’t much to look at inside with the exception the notable décor that papered the walls. Evidently the inside of the diner was wallpapered in dollar bills that had been stapled up onto the walls over the years. Toby estimated their was a few thousand dollars worth of Mr. Washington’s papering the walls, money that he thought would have been better put to use fixing up the place.
He did say that despite the wear and tear of the building, the view was incredible.
At noon they were allowed to check into the Sea Base dorms where they, as the first crew out for the season, found they had the dormitory of 50 beds all to themselves for the night.
They were not scheduled to set sail until the following day so Friday was spent napping a little, exploring the Sea Base compound, doing their snorkeling test in the pool, and prepping their sailboat with supplies.
After a restful night sleep in the dorms they set sail on Saturday morning. Their vessel for the week was a 44 foot sailboat that would become their home away from home.
Below deck was the Captain’s sleeping quarters (which were off limits to the crew)
The galley where the boys prepared meals three times a day:
The dining room table (which converted and became Keith’s bed at night):
The head (bathroom), and a storage area for the single bag of gear each crew member was allotted:
As well as a few beds:
Some slept below deck while others spent the week sleeping out under the stars:
Others caught Zzzzs whenever and wherever they could:
Once on the boat they set sail for an adventure on the high seas.
Under the leadership and guidance of their faithful captain, Hajo, they began their training to become proficiant sailors. As they headed out of the marina they caught their first glimpse of the magical sights that awaited them. It came in the form of a sunrise that set the tone for the week and gave this crew a preview of the awesome experiences that awaited them.
Stay tuned as we look back on their week of adventure and I attempt to do justice to the stories they have shared and the pictures they captured as they sailed around the Florida Keys.