written by Foxtrot/Sierra mate, Liz Deveau
August 12, 2017
After waking to a delicious breakfast buffet, set up by our breakfast prep crewmates, we jump started the day with a mangrove lesson and mangrove clean up in order to give back with service. Everyone gathered onshore for a lesson on these special trees that we cohabitate this beautiful area with. Then, we had a fleet wide competition to see which boat could gather the most trash from the mangroves. Everyone got really into it and it was the best results I’ve ever seen for a trash clean. Most of the boat teams needed more than one trash bag! One boat even had to grab a wheel barrel! It was great to see the kids get so excited about giving back to a place that they’re truly falling in love with.
After the clean up, we went back to our boats for a lesson on sea turtle watch and broke up into groups to have a turtling session. We snorkeled around the mooring field looking for turtles for two hours in two different shifts. We saw two turtles but they were unfortunately too swift and wise to be caught. After turtling, we went back to our boats to make lunch and drop the ball to head to Sandy Cay.
We went to shore at Sandy and started the short hike up the back side of the island. The views are incredible and everyone appreciated the cool breeze at the peak. After the hike, everyone jumped into the water at the beach, marveling at how crystal clear the water was and how white the sand was. We swam around for a while playing human knot and throwing around a ball. We also started a tournament of crab wrestling. Almost everyone signed up to participate. It was absolutely hilarious! We went several rounds with staff going up against other staff until we had a staff winner and a student winner. It was a lot of fun!
After crab wrestling, it was about time to head out for our next spot, so we all swam back to our boats and prepared to drop the ball to make moves over to Little Harbor on Jost van Dyke. Little Harbor is a favorite spot because of Sidney’s Peace & Love, the restaurant there that we have a huge buffet style dinner at. As soon as we got on the ball, everyone jumped in the water to shower and get ready for the night.
Once the boat was clean and everyone was in their social attire, we made our way to shore to join up with the rest of the crews. A lot of students jumped at the opportunity to have their hair braided and corn rowed. The line snaked on for ages and everyone got some kind of beads in their hair with the braids. They then flooded the shops and came out with the classic Sidney’s t shirts, tank tops, hats and belts. We all sat down for dinner which was devoured in enjoyment. We had a massive dance party shortly after dinner complete with a DJ and the whole fleet dancing away! It was clear we all danced our hearts out. No one wanted to leave when it was time to go, but as it became later, it was time to head back to boats for a boat meeting, and power down, settling in for the evening.
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.