Written by Riley Addison
Edited by Meredith Evridge
Not many mornings have been early ones, but today was the earliest. A 5:45 wake up, for the captain and mate only, was in order. Students had the option to wake up, or sleep in a little more. The destination was The Baths on Virgin Gorda. This is an incredible destination, rated one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Formed about sixty five million years ago by molten rock under immense pressure, resulting in the existing volcanic rock layers under a young Caribbean Sea. Over time, The Baths reached sea level, as these huge granite blocks became rounded by years of weathering.
The Baths are a unique and beautiful place to do a hikle; a hike/snorkel. The group hiked through caves and tunnels made by these massive, ancient boulders, and snorkeled around them on the way back. It’s great to leave one of the best places for the past part of program!
Back on boats, cleaning began. The students were responsible for making the boat look as clean as when they first found it. Everyone also had to pack their bags as much as possible, for it would save time the next morning. This was tedious, but was interrupted with many swim breaks and jokes. At the end, it felt satisfying to have a clean boat and accomplish yet another thing as a team.
A downwind sail with only the jib out took us to Hodges Creek. A place we hadn’t seen since day two! This meant proper showers, calls home, and a hot meal prepared for us. The meal tonight was especially well done. Ribs and mac and cheese with vegetables too. Right after dinner, those who participated in ASA (American Sailing Association) certifications, took their written exam. They did well, and it was clear they had learned a lot about taking control of the boats. Being the last night of camp, we had all the boats together for an informal closing ceremony. Some boats had prepared a skit that made everyone laugh. Lots of inside jokes made for an entertained crowd. Most agree that the skit making fun of the staff was the best one! The staff, in turn, put on their own skit poking fun at questions that students would ask them under sail. Everyone chuckled! Next came awards, for those that had attained ASA and scuba certifications. Also recognized were the winners of Chili Cookoff, Race Day, and Olympics events. It was nostalgic and sweet, gathering with the Alpha fleet one last time.
Since it would be another early wakeup, we headed back to boats for our last boat meetings. Here we reminisced of times earlier in the week, and took the opportunity to exchange contact information. Students also wrote airplane letters; a little memento of friendship that was to be opened on the plane. The lights went out and we fell asleep.
Six AM the next morning was the wake up call. A small, mobile breakfast was handed out as students climbed into trucks to head to the ferry or airport. Goodbyes rung out and hugs were plentiful. Mike, the founder, had handed out yellow Sail Caribbean flags to those that were returners and those were proudly displayed. Hoping that we’d get to hand even more out next summer, we waved these campers off. Best of luck, and thank you for making Alpha 1 a fantastic two weeks!
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.