written by Bravo/Charlie mate, Megan Lundequam
July 24, 2017
We woke up around 7:30a.m. to a light sprinkle followed by a beautiful rainbow casting its colors over Little Harbour. We had breakfast of bagels and cream cheese, yogurt and granola and cereal as divers packed up their things and the non-divers of the day went through pre-departure checks and prepared to drop the mooring ball and head to Mountain Point. We had a nice two-and-a-half-hour sail over to the northwest side of Virgin Gorda. While underway, we used that time to practice our navigation, work on sailing to a compass heading and refining our sail trim.
We arrived at Mountain Point around noon and once we picked up a mooring ball, we began preparing lunch and then chowing down on some quesadillas before hopping in the water and snorkeling the Kodiak Queen! The Kodiak Queen was originally a fuel supply ship of the US Navy and until April of this year, it stood as one of only 5 surviving ships from the Japanese attack on Hawaii’s Pearl Harbor. The ship now stands as an artificial reef, a science lab, an incredible piece of art and beautiful dive site due to Sir Richard Branson, non-profit organizations in the BVI, teams of artists and divers – including Sail Caribbean Divers – coming together to lead or lend a hand to this project. As if the story isn’t stellar enough, attached to the stern of the vessel is an enormous kraken made from steel rebar and wire mesh, with tentacles wrapped around the ship, large enough for divers to swim through and sculpted to be perfect habitats for large species of sharks and groupers. The dive site is absolutely breath-taking and this afternoon our students were able to experience this underwater treasure.
After our snorkel, Poparazzi – the infamous Sail Caribbean tube – made an appearance at Mountain Point and our Operations team took out a few brave souls for a ride. Once everyone’s arms were sore from holding on to the tube, we began heading back to boats to shower and enjoy some dinner. After our meal, it was time for our divers to get their dive stuff together again for a night dive on the Kodiak Queen!
Once they returned to boats, we all met them on the transom to have a quick lesson about bioluminescent plankton. These dinoflagellates float about in the water and use photophores to light up upon activation as both a defense mechanism and a form of communication. Mountain Point is notorious for being an excellent spot to view these microscopic organisms so we all stood at the stern of the boat waving our deck brushes around in the water, watching as a trail of lights lit up behind it. After we all had a go, it was time to wind down and head to bed. We all finally took to our sleeping bags and hammocks and fell asleep under the countless stars that filled the cloudless night sky.
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.