Today was a very exciting morning for our students pursuing their open water diving certifications as they completed their last day of courses and officially became PADI certified open water scuba divers! After breakfast, all of the other students went ashore to Pirates Bight to take a hike to the helicopter pad at the top of Norman Island. From the pad, everyone would see a full 360 degree view of the whole island and the ocean surrounding it. The hike wasn’t very long and everyone was happy to jump into the water back at the beach before heading out for their sail to Nanny Cay. Alex B, Edwin and Zak left a little early to start their basic keelboat training at Nanny Cay. As we motored into the marina, we saw the three of them zipping around in small boats, doing their lessons. Liza John son of Patricia J did a great job being skipper of the day, calling out all the correct positions for raising and lowering the main sail and unfirling the jib! She also beautifully maneuvered her way into one of the toughest docking spaces at Nanny Cay, successfully completing one of the most difficult and often most stressful aspects of sailing. Once on the docks and after cleaning inspection, the kids were set free to explore Nanny Cay, a nice enclosed marina with some lovely shops, an ice cream store and some of the most luxurious showers you will ever take. For dinner, the kids worked together to make a delicious veggie stir fry, which everyone eagerly gobbled up after such a big day. Dinner was followed by a soda social on the beach, accompanied by a Marine Biology talk, led our resident expert Mike, who talked about sharks using dressed up staff as examples. The staff then became the sharks in a fun game of sharks and minnows; a perfect way to burn off the soda’s sugar before bed.
After a great night’s sleep on the docks of Nanny Cay, the kids woke up early to prepare a delicious pancake breakfast before setting out for their longest sail yet! After boat cleanup and departure check, the program directors of Bravo and Charlie; Claire and Cli, walked up and down the docks listening to a massive uproar coming from the fleets. A competition between the boats had been started and the crews who cheered the loudest were granted first permission to dedock and drive back into the Sir Francis Drake Channel. Just like yesterday afternoon, Patricia J was caught in a really tight spot close to the shallows and right between another boat and the dock, but after being the first to have her departure check ready and after cheering out to Cli before the competition even officially started, PJ’s skipper of the day, Julia, dedocked beautifully and headed out to open water to raise sails. The sail from Nanny Cay to Bitter End was a long one, beating upwind from almost one end of the BVI to the other. On the sail, the students were given lots of opportunity to practice tacking and more time was spent learning parts of the boat and sail. As about three, all boats were moored at Bitter End. Julia, Emily, Jordan and Nick did a great job mooring, working quickly and on their feet when a gust of wind blew them away from the mooring at the last second. Then everyone headed to shore to the Bitter End Yacht Club, a famous resort known to be one of the world’s best sailing destinations. For the afternoon, the kids enjoyed the beach and were given the opportunity to shop and have some snacks before returning to their boats to shower and make lasagna for dinner. Tori, Elizabeth, and Chris were especially proud of their delicious lasagna, Tori proudly proclaiming it “her life’s work!” After dinner all of Sail Caribbean’s divers were sent to shore to speak to Molly, Charlie’s dive coordinator, about furthering their dive certifications and taking certain electives. After receiving their homework, everyone returned to their boats for bed. Today was Edwin of Venture III’s birthday! Before bed, his boat was surprised with a cake and hot chocolate and his whole crew all got together to write him a nice birthday card. I certainly couldn’t imagine a better way to spend a birthday, on a boat with a bunch of friends, sailing in the Caribbean!