July 14, 2016
We talk a lot about the wind, how it sounds from our boats and how it takes us from island to island. We’ve yet to really talk about the wind AND the islands though, how they dance together. The stone in the islands taking the lead, twirling the wind in spiraling swirls around its fingertips. How it tucks quietly into the arms of the island, wrapping in and falling to rest, only to come vibrantly alive again as it spirals back out, rounding the corner and charging out. Or how the wind pushes sprays of water onto the land, dramatic crescendo to the escapade.
This all matters to us, you see, not only because of its beauty, but because of how it demands even more from our students learning and attention. As we sailed off of the mooring ball and headed out to the channel from our tight, protected bight, the students had to account for that spiraling dance. Not only did they have to raise and trim their sails, they had to dance along, too. Constantly trimming and easing sails to catch and push the wind as it changed direction across our boat. Until at last, they caught the charge of wind sweeping around the point and they hauled their sails in and set them close for their upwind destination.
This day, our location was Salt Island, known for its long, flat salt ponds that rest in the island’s belly. The ground shimmers in pink and white crystals under the midday sun. We left our footprints strewn along the salt-rimmed shore as we played and gathered pieces of trash that have been collected by the wind. While we treaded on the land, the Open Water divers continued the pursuit of their certifications. Diving first at Angel Fish reef, where they saw turtles chewing on sea grass, cow fish, sting rays, and all other colorful assortments of fishes, and then to Rainbow Canyon at the Indians where they dove between columns of coral that were lit up spectacularly in the sunlight from above.
When the divers resurfaced and rejoined us again, we spent the rest of the evening water sporting from our boats as the sun came to rest low behind Tortola.
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.