Another beautiful calm morning into the BVI as the sun arose to students all geared up and ready for their turn to tackle the hot dog tube. Nothing says good morning quite like a salty spray of ocean water to the face while laughing uncontrollably on an inflatable shaped like a hot dog!
Breakfast was consumed after our hot doggers returned victorious over the dog. In one fell swoop, breakfast clean and pre-departure checks were underway and we had dropped the ball on our way to Lee Bay, Great Camanoe. Three boats: King Lewis, Hulk, and Haxter Baxter ventured on a quick detour to Hodges Creek first to top off their water up tanks before following the heard onto Lee Bay. While filling, those students had the change to check out our Sail Caribbean Divers shop. Students could be seen walking back down the dock with arms full of new gear, such as, dive watches, stickers, and a few fun shaped floats!
As quickly as boats were docked they de-docked and were on their way to our next location with everyone else. While those three boats were detoured, everyone else had a head start on their upwind sail. An important lesson students heard on the sail was about navigation. The use of tools such as compass, parallel rulers, and an introduction in to celestial navigation introduced students to the importance of understanding your intended path through waters. Hazards like shallow reefs, submerged rocks, or even wrecks can all be easily avoided if you know your route ahead of time by looking through and studying the nautical charts (ocean maps) before you even depart!
Before we reached Lee Bay, boats dropped their sails and motored their way in as we prepared to anchor in the Bay. Withe vessels securely on anchor, our Foxtrot and Sierra students were joined by loving-marine scientist and dear friend of Sail Caribbean, Laura Harrington for a lesson on Stoney Coral Tissue Loss Disease (SCTLD).
Stoney Coral Tissue Loss Disease is a relatively new coral disease that first appeared in Floridian waters but has unfortunately made its way to the Caribbean waters such as USVI and BVI. Laura has worked over the past few years to better understand SCTLD and ways to prevent or stop it’s spread. She’s received a generous grant form the UK government to ensure this vital research is conducted.
Following Laura’s lesson, students went on a snorkel in Lee Bay and sadly discovered the beginning stages of SCTLD affecting a number coral heads on some of the reefs in the Bay.
While our marine scientists were learning about SCTLD, Bravo, Charlie, and Delta students had another chance to conquer the hotdog tube! With snorkeling and tubing finished for the day, it was time to wrap up the evening same as always. Showers, dinner, and boat meeting. Following boat meeting, some vessels joined together for some more hot chocolate socialization before bed.
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.