written by Bravo/Charlie mate, Megan Lundequam
July 29, 2017
We started our morning with a staff motor before the crew woke up so we could get an early start on our sail over to Anegada! Although they were allowed to stay sleeping for a bit, the rest of the team woke up soon after we were underway so we rose sails and had our skipper of the day on the helm sooner than we had anticipated! We had a navigation lesson last night in preparation for the sail because this is the only sail we do on program where you can’t use landmarks to navigate. We had only our chart and compasses to rely on to get there so we found our compass bearings and marked our waypoints the night before.
The other thing that makes this excursion unique is that Anegada is very unlike the rest of the British Virgin Islands. The rest of the BVIs are part of an oceanic volcanic arc that formed millions of years ago when the Atlantic plate subducted beneath the Caribbean plate. Their volcanic origin is responsible for their tall and steep shape and basaltic igneous bedrock. Anegada on the other hand literally means the “the drowned land” because it was originally a coral reef that has now extruded this 10-mile-long island with its highest point only reaching 28 feet. The island is surrounded by the 18 mile-long Horseshoe reef which stands as the largest coral reef in the Caribbean and the fourth largest in the world. This reef makes the island beautifully exciting but makes navigation very difficult.
We had to have a team of spotters rather than the singular spotter we usually have when we came into the channel this morning to be sure we wouldn’t run aground. With as little as 6 feet under our keel, we cautiously made our way into the mooring field and successfully picked up and secured a ball before lunch time.
After a meal of leftover chili and sandwiches, we shuttled to shore, loaded up in trucks and drove to the north-west side of Anegada over to Cow Wreck Beach. We started our afternoon with a lovely lesson on elasmobranchs, the scientific name for the class of cartilaginous fish including sharks, rays and skates, which coincidentally included a visit from a real-life ray friend swimming by just off the beach! For the next few hours we relaxed on the beach, snorkeled around the surrounding reef, ordered snacks at the bar, played a bit of soccer and basketball with some of the local kids and simply enjoyed exploring and learning about an entirely new and unique place.
At around 5p.m., we started to head back to boats and from there our evening proceeded on as usual with showers followed by dinner and a final boat tidy. We fell asleep that night under some of the greatest stars we had seen thus far.
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.