August 5, 2016
This morning, our crew awoke on anchor at Long Bay, excited to take on the last day of program. As students rose from their slumber, we started on breakfast preparation and filled up on cereal and yogurt. The morning was spent doing a deep clean of Rioja, where the crew packed up their cabins and worked together to make our dirty boat a clean one.
Taking a break from our sweeping, scrubbing and sanitizing, the students assigned to lunch fed everyone some delicious pesto pasta. Lunch completed, we got back to work until the boat was in good shape. After, we all had a bit of time to relax as some took advantage of their last day in the gorgeous BVI waters and some hung out in the salon, chatting and making friendship bracelets.
As it came to be mid-afternoon, it was time to get underway to the day’s main activity: a trip to the Baths on Virgin Gorda! Once motored over to the famous Baths, we picked up a mooring ball and snorkeled ashore. On the beach, we gathered our crew and began the short hike through the massive granite boulders, taking in the sights as we climbed through the caves. Done with our hike and exploration, the crew hopped back in the water to snorkel over to Jump Rock, where everyone got the chance to jump off one of the boulders into the beautiful water below.
All jumped out, we then headed back to the boat, and got underway back to our Day 1 location, Hodges Creek Marina on Tortola. As we motored over, the whole crew reflected on the trip and enjoyed the last moments on Rioja as a group. Once in the marina, our skipper of the day executed a perfect docking, after which the crew jumped into final cleaning and organizing. With the boat looking good, everyone grabbed a plate of ribs and mac n’ cheese, a Sail Caribbean tradition on the last night of program.
During dinner, staff and students split up to plan our skits for later in the evening. With dinner cleaned, it was time to gather with the rest of mega-fleet to go through the last night ending ceremony. From recognizing new ASA and diving certifications to an epic slideshow of photos and videos from the whole program, students looked back on the past three weeks and all of the things they accomplished during them. After the slideshow, Delta split off to do staff and student skits, hilarious displays where we all poked fun at one another and remembered some of the many funny moments on program. Our night ended with writing airplane letters to one another and enjoying the last few hours together on Rioja.
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.