July 6, 2016
Rise and shine and get-a-movin’! We were up early for a hike on Virgin Gorda that took us up through sunshine pouring through sheets of light rain, something one could only fully describe as magic. After we descended from the peak, we allowed ourselves a little window of time to spend a few last minute dollars at the shops. But not for too long! Because today was CHALLENGE DAY! The long-awaited day classic of Sail Caribbean during which the staff step back and hand over all controls – yes, all of them! – to the students, feeling fully confident that they have all the tools needed to be successful. Each boat elected a leadership team of 4 students who were in charge of acquiring the schedule from the staff boat early in the morning and for making sure that all items on the schedule were attended to on time and fully.
Upon getting back onboard the boats, the students were in charge of dropping the mooring ball, exiting the North Sound channel, raising and lowering sails, and arriving safely on anchor at Long Bay. It was a long downwind sail that demanded their full attention to all that they’ve thus far learned about points of sail, sail trim, navigation, and anchoring! Challenges were faced and overcome throughout the day, proving the strength of our teamwork.
Challenge day ended as soon as the anchor was set into the shallow, sandy strip of seafloor in the protected bay. Once set, our students all celebrating by sharing the rest of the day with the Youth Empowerment Program (YEP) from Tortola. 15 YEP students joined with our 15 Sail Caribbean students and spent a day under the sun playing on Pico sailboats, stand up paddle boards, kayaks, and the infamous Poparazzi. As any great team does, we ended the day by splitting bread together as a whole big group. Enjoying a barbecue of hamburgers, hot dogs, and vegetables on the beach as the day came to a close, wrapped in a sky of pink over blue, blue waters.
The greatest challenge during the program was staying entertained during the quarantine period. Not being able to leave your boat and not having a phone, which was a crutch against boredom, it was difficult at first to stay entertained.