It was completely dark, broken only by the bright light from the co-op dock. We were standing on the dock at 5:00am, staring out at the water, expecting the boat the turn the corner at any second. Waiting, talking, still waiting. The youngers were talking about the lights from Northeast harbor. "Maybe they are alien ships," they said. The teacher was talking on the phone. Finally, the dads got their own boats, since our ride didn't show. Riding over to Northeast in the dark, arriving at the dock and climbing onto the Sunbeam. "Sorry we're late," the teacher said. Finally, we left the dock. We were heading for Matinicus for IIE 2011. We settled in for the long ride. We stopped at Frenchboro, said hello then went back to sleep. We picked up the kids on Isle au Haut and left again.
Six hours later we arrived at Matinicus, seasick and tired but super excited. We walked to the school and had time to set up our tents on their playground. When we were all set up and our stuff in our tents, we had a few minutes to just hang out, then we had a circle-up. Well, it was more like a square, but whatever. We did an activity where someone pulled a name-tag out of the bag, and gave the name-tag to its respective person. That person then said something that they would bring to space that began with the same letter as their name. Some people ended up with more than one name-tag.
Then we played a game that was sort of like Sardines, but in teams. One team hid, and the first team to find them was named a certain explorer. Then we were off to our first options. There was Capture the Flag, Baking and Landscape Painting. When we came back, we had a snack break. We all hung out with our friends and caught up with what we had done over the summer. Then we had second options. Those were Variety Show Preparations, Sandcastle Making or Mural Painting.
Time for dinner, followed by the variety show. For me, the preparations for the show were more fun than the show itself. There were just a few of us, and we were all ridiculously hyper. We couldn't stop laughing at nothing in particular. It was just one of those days when everything strikes you as hilarious. We set up a computer, then we were like, "Okay. It's set up. Now what?" So we listened to music, blasting it super loud. The people setting up downstairs probably thought we had finally lost our minds. We sort of had. We were jumping around, dancing, laughing, and just being crazy middle-schoolers having fun. The time flew by. The variety show itself was a big hit. There were tons of great acts, some funny, some serious. There was dancing, singing and skits. All the schools were well-represented.
Then we went to bed. We all crawled into our tents and talked. And talked. And talked some more. Technically we were supposed to go to bed, but no one did. We were whispering, so was everyone around us. We were catching up on what had happened that summer, stuff that didn't really matter but seemed so important right then.
The next morning we woke up and were off to breakfast, then options. It was our last day. Options were Hiking, Kickball and Drumming. Only a few of us did hiking, and in a way I'm glad there weren't many people. It was just four students and a few adults. We walked through the woods and over the rocks and back through the woods. We stopped at the rocks and just watched the water. It was a misty morning, and the gray water with clouds hanging over it and land in the background was breathtaking. We didn't mind that our feet got soaked and we were muddy all over. When we were in the truck driving back to the school, we passed the kickball people. They were sliding around on the grass and yelling and having fun. When they saw us in the truck, a few of them ran after us, trying to jump in. We couldn't stop laughing.
When everyone was back from their options, we brought out the yearbooks and started the signing. It was our first year with yearbooks, and it was a big success. We crowded around each other, trying to make sure everyone signed. It was all over too soon. The youngers had to leave. We all walked down the boat to see them off. Us old peoples had to stay an extra day to plan science and social studies for this year. More on that later.