Activity really kicked into high gear today here at Hodges Creek Marina as the Sail Caribbean staff woke up early in the morning to provision and tidy up the finishing touches on their boats, eagerly awaiting the arrival of their campers, who were due to start coming in later in the afternoon. Without fail, as the day continued, kids from all over the world set to begin their adventures on the Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Foxtrot and Sierra programs arrived in waves from San Juan and St. Thomas. Everyone was happy and maybe a little sleepy, but very excited to meet each other and get settled onto their boats.
After their first family-style dinner on their boats, the students attended a famous “Mike talk,” led by the founder and director of Sail Caribbean, Mike Liese, where he warmly welcomed the students to the British Virgin Islands and outlined the rules and way that Sail Caribbean programs try to work as a family. Pretty tired from their trips, everyone set off for a relatively early night, in order to be ready for the real adventure that begins tomorrow as we cast off from the docks and sail off into the BVI.
After a morning of settling into their boats, the Bravo fleet set out for their first day of sailing. Even after having never sailed before, Alex “Al Capone” Horne beautifully skippered Venture III out of the docks of Hodges Creek and into the Sir Francis Drake Channel. Once in the open ocean, the kids learned how to raise the main sail and the jib and even practiced tacking on their way to Cooper Island, one of the many islands that lies directly across the channel from Tortola. Once at Cooper, the kids learned how to pick up mooring balls and every boat successfully secured themselves in the harbour by two in the afternoon. The tough job of mooring often takes boats several attempts to successfully complete, but not even the giant steering wheel got in the way of pint sized Tori, who managed to easily steer her boat onto a mooring on only her second attempt!
Once at Cooper, all of the certified scuba divers and those working to become certified went out for a dive or started their certification process with Sail Caribbean Divers. Everyone else either played games on the beach or went for a great snorkel led by Mike, Frazer, Joe and Emma around Cistern Rock.
Once everyone was back on the boat at the end of the day, everyone had snacks and helped one another with making and cleaning up a delicious burrito dinner. After their first big day on the water, everyone was ready for a quiet night on board to get a good rest before whatever adventures lie ahead for tomorrow!