It's organized madness on the dock of Tsehum harbour marina in Sidney BC, as 30 grade 9 students pile off of the bus and onto our 2 ships. These Calgarian students have just visited the Royal BC museum and our good friends at the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre and now join Captain Martin Pepper, Captain Pete and myself aboard the 52' wooden ketch A Fine Madness and Captain Mike Hobbis on the 70' wooden ketch Duen.
For the next 5 days these students and their brave, committed, and enthusiastic teachers will call these ships home as we explore the waters of the Salish Sea!
After loading the gear, after the safety talk, after the ever-so-important discussion about marine heads we depart the marina en route to Tod Inlet in Saanich Inlet. The students get the run down on how we set the anchor and we all hop in the zodiac for a nature hike in the stunning Gowland-Tod Provincial Park. Our knowledgable guide Krista, mate on Duen, explains everything from how to tell trees apart, to historical uses of Western Red Cedar by first nations people, to the history of the Buchart Gardens and the concrete plant that once operated in the park. Then we hit the snake and kayaks for an intro to paddling!
Phew! No rest for the weary at SEA Programs! We're up and breakfasted and ready to weigh anchor. Captain Pete leads us in a demo of how to tie turks head bracelets until all of a sudden the winds fills and we're ready to sail. We teach the students how to raise the #1 jib and cruise leisurely onwards to Musgrave Landing on Saltspring Island (see photo above).