written by Foxtrot/Sierra captain, Liz Deveau
July 27, 2017
We started the day with a lovely 8a.m. wake up and a hearty breakfast. Right after breakfast, the crews fit in some last minute shopping at Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor. Most of the kids came back with deliciously cold ice cream goodies. After the sweets were enjoyed and the pre departure checks were completed, we dedocked the boat and made our way to the Chimneys on Great Dog.
Everyone gathered on Spyglass to learn about our invertebrate friends that live on the reefs. After our lesson, we went for a snorkel around the reef at the Chimneys and the Sierra students were able to collect more data for their research projects! It was a particularly hot day so everyone enjoyed some last minute splashing around and jumping off boats before we had to leave. We made lunch while we were at the Dogs and ate before we dropped the ball to set sail towards Bitter End Yacht Club.
The sail over was smooth with a nice breeze. Everyone participated in the sailing activities and several students shared the role of helmsman. We have quite a few students who are actively working on checking things off of the bosun practical checklist! All of our boat’s moored perfectly on time and everyone started swimming over to Prickly Pear Island for a sea grass lesson and some playing around in the warm mud. After washing off the mud and heading back to boats, Hully Gully had a special tarpon lesson led and taught by a student who is quite a big fan. We all learned a lot about the bug silver fish we see all the time and then had the opportunity to go to Saba Rock to watch the tarpon feeding they put on. A few students even got to hand feed some pretty huge tarpon at the Saba dock. It was really cool to watch and hear their reactions when the tarpon came over to grab and pull at the meat they were dangling over the water.
After the tarpon feeding, we all went back to boats to shower and start on dinner. Dinner was taco salads and everyone devoured it. After dinner and after the boat was cleaned up, we all got dressed for a social ashore on Saba Rock! The fleet headed to shore where dozens of desserts and frozen drinks were ordered. We spread out on the couches and chairs and everyone enjoyed some time to relax and chat over amazing treats. We went back to boats around 9:30p.m. to have boat meeting and do some stargazing. Bed time was fairly early in preparation for our Bitter End day tomorrow, so we had no problem setting up our bed stuff and getting cozy in our various sleeping spots. Everyone has heard about and been anticipating Bitter End day and it’s finally on the horizon!
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.