Written and edited by Meredith Evridge
Jost van Dyke was the first sight that greeted our eyes, with a gorgeous rainbow stretching across the channel. The rain was in the distance, and we enjoyed our breakfast and pre-departure checks with dry decks. Today, we’d have some new friends from YEP (Youth Empowerment Program of the BVI) joining us. We greeted these new faces from Tortola, delighted to have some locals to get to know for the morning!
We gave tours of our boats to the new fellas and ladies, and then zipped and clipped our life jackets. Engines on, we dropped the ball and motored out a bit. We raised sails, making sure each person on board had a position, and we enjoyed teaching our new friends how to help with the main and the jib. It was a truly lovely day out on the water with the rain taking a break. This was the last long sail of our program. The breeze felt great and all were happy on board our fleet.
Pizza bagels were prepared with a flourish. Some boosted the meal by making spaghetti bolognese. By 12:30, we were on anchor at Long Bay. We waved goodbye to our YEP pals, wishing them well, and then we all headed ashore for Olympics. Each boat had decorated flags and some had also decorated their faces and other body parts to reflect how loyal they were to their boat. The Delta Fleet received a lot of hugs as they were warmly welcomed back! The music played as we all gathered into lines for the first event: the relay race. Wearing snorkel gear, campers had to run from their group to their waiting captain who had a fender. They had to run around it five times and then return to their group, passing off the gear. It was loud and silly with everyone cheering each other on.
The next event was a synchronized swim, with the audience full of hollers and applause as each boat showed us their aquatic masterpiece. Following this, every boat had to chase down and tackle their captain or mate and bury them in sand, making them into something new. Everyone was extremely creative. We saw mermaids, we saw snowman frat boys, we saw a turtle being tagged and released, and other sand art that we’d never seen before.
Once the Olympics came to an end, the rain began to fall. Everyone was already in the water and smiles got huge at the sudden change in weather! Instead of people getting bummed out about the rain, we made the best of it! Some played imaginary baseball, some went innertubing and wakeboarding and on the Poparazzi, and some took the Colgates, Picos and kayaks out for a spin.
It was a blast. It did end up getting a bit chilly around five, so we huddled around the grill. Burgers, hot dogs, veggie burgers and portobella mushrooms were up for grabs, with chips and fresh watermelon as well. There were seconds, and there were thirds. We replaced those calories we had used on that fine beach day.
The sunset was incredible as we headed back to our boats for the evening. Every time we looked back at the horizon, the hues had changed. What a beautiful day at Long Bay! Boat showers and boat meeting followed and we fell into bed, exhausted.
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.