LFA’s spring break in the Caribbean


Sandra Shaw, Op-Ed Editor

Looking back at our experience in the Caribbean, which we partnered up with Broadreach (shoutout to Kyle and Anja, our two amazing trip leaders!), there were a multitude of things that I think each of us who were on the trip took away from it, whether it was becoming an IYT certified sailor, learning how to live on a catamaran and close quarters for 11 days, or simply the adventure of cooking meals. I also think it can be safe to say that we all wish we could spend some more days in the 80º weather in the Caribbean!

Day 1-We flew out of O’hare early in the morning first to San Juan, Puerto Rico for an hour layover and then flew to St Martin. Upon arrival, we were welcomed with the warmth that contrasted with Chicago’s chilliness. We got ourselves settled in the catamaran that would be our home for the next 11 days, and went for our first refreshing swim. Although the night ended with rain that prevented us from sleeping outside and a couple of people getting seasick, the waves rocked us to sleep.

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Day 2-We had our trip orientation at Anse Marcel beach, St Martin early in the morning. Later during that day, we learned the basics of sailing and had our first sail.

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Day 3-As if time could fly any faster, it was already the third day! We left the marina at Anse Marcel and sailed to the island Ile Fourche of St Barts. There, we went for a snorkeling break–where we saw multiple sea turtles and all sorts of marine life!–and later went for an early afternoon hike up the island.

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Day 4-We woke up early because for our long sail to Gustavia, St Barts. On our sail there, we passed by numerous big yachts and even got a chance to witness an international regatta happening close by! Later in the day we learned general facts about the Leeward Islands of the Caribbean and the ocean.


Day 5-Today the first thing in the morning we went cliff jumping! The cliff height was almost 10 meters, but mostly all of us were up to the challenge and thrill of jumping off.  we enjoyed a nice break from being on the ocean and got the chance to walk around Gustavia, St Barts. In the town a couple of people went for piña coladas while some others explored and shopped for souvenirs. We all stopped by a crepe restaurant and enjoyed the gift of wifi!

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Day 6-On Friday we woke up early again to witness the sunrise and also prepare for our long sail. We spent most of our morning and early afternoon sailing to St Kitts. It was a bumpy four hour sail, but because we sailed up to a speed of 8 knots per mile, the sail was two hours shorter than we expected. The rest of the afternoon led to the night, and we heard the people on the island get lively with loud music that rang through the night.


Day 7-Hiking Brimstone Fortress, St Kitts, was the main highlight of the day. We learned about the island’s history of European occupation through the historic site.

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Day 8-We arrived at Statia in the afternoon, after a long morning of sailing. It was a really relaxing day, in which many people cooled off by swimming and paddle boarding (of which is harder than one thinks it is!).

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Day 9-At our second to last destination, Statia, we spent half of the day hiking the dormant but verdant Quill Volcano. We all saw so many geckos, lizards, goats, and other wildlife that we wouldn’t see much of at home in Chicago. At dinnertime, Kyle and Anja surprised us by taking us all to a nice dinner at one of the restaurants in Statia. Everybody dressed up, and dinner was truly a blast!

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Day 10-In order to receive our International Yacht Training certification, we took a written portion of the exam, but we also had to complete the practical part–navigating and sailing our way back to Tintemarre and finally back to our first base, Anse Marcel.

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