Some Baker University students used the mid-year break to expand their horizons in the Caribbean. The author of this story, a junior from Wichita, was one of them.
Road Town, Tortola, B.V.I. -- A 51-foot chartered sailboat named Shibumi became a Caribbean classroom for 22 Baker University students during the January interterm.
The third of three groups of students, each of which spent a week sailing the Shibumi through the British Virgin Islands, will end their tour and return today to Baldwin.
The trip is a requirement for ``The Art of Sailing,'' a course taught between semesters by Dean Bevan, professor of English.
Students learned the basics of sailing the Shibumi in a class taught the first week in January on the Baker campus. Outside the preparation class, students were required to read four classical books on sailing and write a paper for three hours of credit.
Baker students are required to complete three interterm courses during their four years at the university. Travel interterms, like the sailing trip, give students a chance to earn credit in more exotic places than Baldwin.
``The opportunity to travel is extremely rewarding, and it's very gratifying to be able to function in another land and introduce it to people who have never been there,'' Bevan said.
Students who took the course also are motivated by wanting to learn to sail. Members of the first crew to sail the Shibumi said they discovered a new hobby.
``I learned a trade I can use for the rest of my life for enjoyment,'' said freshman Chad Jacobs. ``This is the most fun I have ever had learning.''
Bevan and his wife, Judy, who have been sailing together for 30 years, were the Shibumi's captain and first mate. Other positions on the boat, such as manning the helm, operating winches and raising sails, were rotated among student crew members.
This year's sailing interterm is the Bevans' fourth trip to the Virgin Islands and third Baker student trip there. The sailing course has been offered every three years, and the Bevans are planning one more.
The trips began and ended on Tortola, the island from which the boat was chartered. The crew members of the trips had leeway in deciding what harbors and other places they visited during their week at sea.
Although this year's trips were concentrated in the British Virgin Islands, crews also had the opportunity to explore the island of St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
In the evenings, the Shibumi anchored or docked in different harbors, giving the crew members opportunities to shop and taste local cuisine.
``I like the night life," said sophomore Jamie Parmele. "They had good party places.''