Written by James Cordery
Edited by Meredith Evridge
This Thursday morning, we woke up to a 7:30 breakfast buffet accompanied by the idyllic, crystal clear waters of Little Harbor. Another day in paradise! For our Foxtrot and Sierra programs, this morning was perfect for a touch of turtling. Hoping that we would see turtles flourishing in this area, we only got to see a few. However, it was still a successful session because we managed to catch up with one of the turtles we tagged last year! It was awesome to have the chance to update our records and note how much it had grown. The more information we have on our local turtle friends, the better.
While Soxtrot was turtling away like nobody’s business, Chavo was in the midst of sailing to Long Bay. It was by no means an easy upwind sail. However, they made it to Long Bay in great time and were able to show of their sailing skills with some expert tacks. They arrived just a bit earlier than Soxtrot and had some extra time to enjoy the beauty of the pristine waters. They spent their time snorkeling and swimming about.
Meanwhile, our Delta friends spent the wee hours of the morn sailing towards Virgin Gorda to check in at customs, and then met us in Long Bay by lunch!
Once all boats were anchored in Long Bay, we all enjoyed a quick lunch before making way to shore for what would be an action packed afternoon! We were holding yet another session of Sail Caribbean Olympics! A hodgepodge of sounds greeted our ears. Campers and staff were positively squealing with excitement to be reunited with the Deltoids! They had much to catch up on. Horns were blaring as dinghies were pulled up to shore and campers spilled out. They hollered their boat name with gusto and waved their flags. Each boat lined up for the first event, as per fleet captain’s instructions.
Starting off the Olympics activities was a relay race. This involved donning snorkel gear, running down to a fender, running around it five times (awkwardly, because running in fins is awkward!) and heading back to the team, passing off the gear to the next person. It was a silly and loud event, with staff encouraging their team to go faster!
Next was synchronized swimming. Each boat had to organize some routine in the water. Each executed their aqua dance gracefully, laughing all the way. It was lovely to see how close each team was as they worked together, throwing their creative ideas out. Once we applauded so much that our hands were needing a break, we had everyone go chase down a staffmember of their choice and make sand art out of them. Campers attacked this challenge with fresh energy, even coming up with a story to share about how that person ended up as they did. Staff were transformed into an octopus, turtles, a two headed mermaid, a dinghy, and other wild things, and all had quite a story to tell the crowd around them! We got pictures of each crew and then as the staff washed off all the sand in the ocean, we had everyone gather for a tug of war. This was the final chapter of the Olympics. We had two boats against each other at first, and then all kids wanted to get on the rope so we said – half of the crowd against the other half. We could barely tell which program was on which side of the rope! It didn’t matter. They pulled and pulled, and finally, one side won in an epic final feat of sheer strength and will!
With that under our belts, we greeted the kids from YEP (Youth Empowerment Project) who had arrived for some fun in the sun. We meet up with them every program, and love this time with youth local of the BVI! Kayaks were pulled out, stand up paddleboards were claimed, the Colgates and Picos were taken out, and a variety of beach games ensued. For some, it was the first time to try snorkeling, kayaking, and wakeboarding. It was exhilarating and energetic.
Finally, the grill was fired up and everyone clustered for a dinner of burgers, hot dogs, fresh fruit, and chips. We scarfed them down and went back for seconds. A local gelato truck pulled up and that claimed the students’ attention, some ordering ice cream and others ordering milkshakes. We definitely made the ice cream lady’s day with all our business!
Heading back to boats after the sun had gone down, it was time for our students to complete their crew tests. This is designed to test our students on everything they’ve learned about being a crew member on board. Boat showers were next, and after a brief boat meeting, we all fell into bed and passed out.
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.