Today was a bit of a change of pace for our Bravo fleet. Those sleeping up on decks were woken up pretty early by a squall passing through Long Bay. But after coming downstairs, we all fell asleep easily until 8 a.m., it was a nice late sleep-in for Sail Caribbean.
After breakfast and boat cleanup, the fleet headed out for a circumnavigation of Guana Island, a small island near Tortola that is surprisingly one of the most bio-diverse islands in the world. The sail ended up being a great opportunity for the crew to practice their sail raising and lowering. It was also a great exercise that taught everyone to establish more initiative to complete tasks on board quickly and efficiently. As the boats were hit by more squalls during their circumnavigation, it was certainly an exciting sail but everyone pulled through wonderfully all the way until we pulled up to the mooring at Nanny Cay.
After a big grilled cheese lunch, where towering mountains of grilled cheeses were brought up on deck for the crew to enjoy, the students pursuing their Advanced Open Water dive certification went on land to Marina Cay. Here they went over the knowledge reviews that they had been working on for past few nights. These reviews were a prerequisite for starting their Advanced Open Water certification which would allow them to dive deeper and at night, as well as teach them how to navigate underwater. With the certification, students also have the opportunity to choose two other specialization electives. Other electives may include things like wreck diving and Peak Performance Buoyancy.For non-divers, the rainy weather made for a quiet afternoon on board. Many students opted to play cards and drink hot chocolate. Philippine and Alex of Venture of Tortola taught their crew how to play the fun French card game “President”, and Captain Charlie and his mate Ali played guitar in the salon with students.
The squally weather let up for a while in the late afternoon and everyone had a chance to jump in the water and have a nice swim before beginning dinner preparation. After a delicious chicken, rice and vegetable dinner, all the boats went to shore for milkshakes and another marine biology talk taught by Mike, who discussed reef development and different kinds of coral. The stormy weather continued into the night and kids went to bed relatively early. Even though the weather for the day definitely wasn’t the best, I think it was a great, much needed opportunity for everyone to get rested and re-energized for an action-packed 4th of July tomorrow!
Today was set to be a beautiful 4th of July from the get-go! The Bravo fleet woke up in the morning to beautiful sunny skies after the storm passed over us and left during the night. To begin the celebration of the day, the crews were treated to a delicious French toast breakfast in the morning, which everyone excitedly gobbled up before departing for the day. The Captain of Venture of Tortola, Charlie, a self-proclaimed “food snob”, later raved about how Alex and Philippine, our two Parisian students, made the best French toast (or “pain perdu”) he had ever tasted. Students pursuing their basic keel boat certification (Alex B, Edwin and Morgan) left early to go to Nanny Cay for the day to continue their courses. After breakfast, everyone else set out for a sail to the Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbour, the main docking area in Virgin Gorda, the BVI’s secondary mainland.
After another big cleaning inspection and a delicious taco salad lunch, students were brought to the big field next to the marina to play lawn games such as egg-in-spoon relay races, dizzy bats and a great game of kickball. For the late afternoon, the kids were free to roam the shops around the harbor and take refreshing mainland fresh water showers. Dinner tonight was potluck style, each boat preparing enormous portions of either burgers, hotdogs or macaroni and cheese, to serve the whole fleet back on the same field where the lawn games had taken place earlier in the day. After a fun, long get-together, the boats again split up to have boat meetings before bed. Happy Independence Day!