Written by Jack Delaney
Edited by Meredith Evridge

Day eight of the Earlies program began at 6:45 in Little Harbour on Jost Van Dyke. We awoke to a superb sunrise that engulfed the harbour in the early hours of the morning. The day started with a breakfast buffet, set out on the salon table and ready for hungry crew members to prepare for the day ahead.

We conducted our pre-departure checks before dropping the mooring ball and leaving the harbour. We raised sails off Jost Van Dyke and headed for the cut between Guana and Tortola, practising our upwind sailing skills along the way and revising some of the right of way rules in our floating classroom. We made our way through the cut around midday before picking up our mooring in Trellis by 1 o’clock.

Lunch consisted of freshly made grilled cheese sandwiches. They were consumed rather quickly as half the boat gathered their scuba gear for a fun dive. The remaining students headed for shore to check out the ice cream scene and have an open-top truck tour around the whole of Tortola.

The students who dove came back with very exciting stories about the sharks they had seen as well as the healthy coral on the reef they dove. Our rescue diver did a fantastic job going through the practical skills needed to complete a rescue scenario. As for the truck tour, apparently the roads around the island of Tortola are certainly not for the fainthearted! Steep hills and dazzling summits made for a few beautiful photos and conversation points.

Dinner on day eight was certainly a special occasion, with “Chili Cook-off” the order of the day. Farallo decided to use the theme of ‘Hollywood’ for their cookoff, complete with a red carpet, paparazzi and  security guards on the door. The chili went down a treat with the judges from out of town, with the plop test the least favourable test of the event, where the judges held the chili 3 foot above the table  before dropping it to test the consistency and density of our wonderful chili. Bonn-Aire decided to focus on the theme of a boat wash (like a car wash), Paso Doble went with a pool party, Gingembre chose to lead a rousing game of Jeopardy followed by a few students singing Riptide by Vance Joy with a guitar accompaniment, and Poms D’oh had an American theme. Fun was had by all, and the chili on each boat was truly delicious. The judges were impressed by everyone’s creativity, to say the least!

The evening ended with a quick boat meeting followed by Farallo’s phenomenal rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody, loud enough for the whole marina to hear. More excited than ever for the days ahead, the happy campers headed to sleep.

Editor’s note: Due to the Chili Cook-off taking place later in the evening, pictures were unfortunately not in the best lighting. I posted just a few to give you a taste of what the judges experienced!

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