BVI: Session 3 - Lifeworks - Grins
Posted: Thu, Aug 15, 2013
Location: West End, Tortola
It is now the end of the session for Lifeworks BVI. Everyone spent time cleaning, packing, and doing inventory of all the Lifeworks gear to prepare to head home. I can’t describe how proud Elliot, Claire and I are of how this session turned out. We helped out at YEP, tagged sea turtles, monitored mangroves, cleaned up beaches and so much more all while sharing conversations and laughs. All of the shipmates were beyond amazing. Clovis and Anna were always willing to help out no matter what the task was. Rachael was eager to learn everything she could about lifeworks and living aboard a boat. Emry and Charlotte were always laughing and making everyone else laugh. Samara didn’t miss a beat meshing with the group and always had a smile on her face. Jack was beyond motivated every project we had and by far picked up over three bags of trash by himself at a mangrove site. Georgia and Emie could always make everyone laugh no matter what the situation was. Daniel and Jeff were always a pleasure to be around and were both in an awesome mood all of the time. Bezan had the funniest comments and jokes at best times. Sarah and Olivia made everyday more fun by making the most of every activity we did. We could not have wished for a better session with all of our shipmates. It is going to be sad to see them off to the airport but I can honestly say I loved every minute and loved having the opportunity to meet them.
Day 16 – I Was Gonna Say That!
Location: West End, Tortola
Last night, Elliot read us a story about a boy and his classmates who were deeply moved by writing little cards about the positive attributes of each others characters. Later, we wrote letters to one another which shed positive light about each other which we intend to open on the plane journey home. This morning we hiked up Spyglass Mountain on Norman Island where Black Beard used to watch for oncoming ships. We were asked to pick up a pretty rock and a not-so pretty rock on the way up. After a hard hike up, we reached the top where we could see for miles in every direction. We assigned a negative characteristic about ourselves which we intended to leave behind here to the ugly rock and a characteristic which we wish to bring home with us to the pretty rock. We proceeded to toss the ugly rock over the side of the hill, as if to throw away the negative trait about ourselves. After sharing our reflections with each other, it was obvious that everyone had gained a lot from this trip. In particular, I personally can say that my perspective and outlook on life has changed. We then sailed back to West End and spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning Grins before the closing barbeque on the dock.
Posted: Wed, Aug 14, 2013
Repair and Rescue
Location: Great Harbor Peter, Peter Island
I woke up to the constant beeping of my watch: 7 am. Our staff told me the day before that it was going to be an early wake up call. We scrambled out of hammocks, beds, and the blue lagoon, and rushed on deck to put on our PFD’s. Once we were ready, we lifted the anchor out of Great Harbor Peter and motored over to Road Town. It was a quick journey, only about 30 minutes. Once we arrived, we hopped into the dinghy and sped over to the headquarters of VISAR, the Virgin Islands Search and Rescue. They are a volunteer group of people who train to become first responders and medics, and once they complete the training, they become on-call for emergencies. They respond to all sorts of incidents, ranging from snorkeling or scuba diving accidents to boat crashes and injuries. We did a lot of maintenance around their headquarters, such as painting a huge storage container a bright orange, and weeding their driveway. After that, we went over to Slaney Point to plant and monitor mangroves. We learned about the amazing protection that mangroves provide for the roads and land near the sea. Torin showed us the difference between protected land and non protected. The protected land was intact, while the area without mangroves was starting to crumble. We added more mangroves to the coastline, and repaired and counted the mangroves that Lifeworks had planted in previous years. We wrapped up with Road Town and motored back to Great Harbor Peter. On the way there, Elliot gathered us up to the bow of our boat. He excitedly informed us that we were going to get to participate in a VISAR practice run. The plan was to have two victims, one with a broken femur, and one with a broken spine. Daniel and Rachel readily volunteered to be those victims, while Charlotte was given the role of a crazed, worried bystander. We all got into our places and waited for VISAR to come “rescue” us. They showed up within 10minutes and quickly started to diagnose the situation, then put Rachel’s leg into an inflatable cast. Daniel’s dilemma was a bit more complicated. He was inside of a cabin, so the only way to get him out was to attach him to a halyard. A halyard is a line that raises the sails, or in our case, lifting Daniel outside of the cabin. He was strapped to special padding that would restrict movement. After both “victims” were on stretchers, they were put onto VISAR’s power boat, along with the rest of Lifeworks to go for a ride. The boat zoomed in and out of Great Harbor Peter and dropped all of the shipmates back onto Grins. We were fortunate enough to have a “Q & A” with the crew of VISAR. We learned about their training, what VISAR can be used for, and how to contact their services. After they left, we got to jump into the sea and shower off. Tonight we started our Program Reflections, where we write about what we did and how it helped the community.
Day 15 – Conrad Day
Location: The Bight, Norman Island
Waking up to the wafts of French toast radiating from the kitchen, I knew today was going to be good. We were to visit the shores of Peter Island comparing the new resort to the simple dwellings of a man named Conrad and his family; sadly, Conrad passed away earlier this month. Conrad was a man who found great joy and peace in the natural earth and all it has to offer. Unfortunately, not so long ago a resort was built on the island making clear-cut differences between lifestyles. We were exploring the new resort where we were read a story that really made us think about what is truly important in life. We are mostly caught up in the material world and can forget about what things actually make us happy. This is what Conrad stood for as a man of values. We saw this attitude reflected in his second cousin Therman as we helped clean out Conrad’s house and repair his land. Spending this time on Peter Island was extremely eye opening because we realized how much we take for granted in comparison to what most of the world appreciates. Departing Great Harbor Peter we were swept up in a sailing race against other ActionQuest vessels. As an unofficial racing boat, we were all having a great time trying our best to beat the competing boats. As the skipper of the day, and having never driven before, I found this race to be intensely amusing as I maneuvered the crew to the finish line at Norman Island. To end an exciting day, we all reconvened round the dinner table sharing our favorite moments of the day passed and reflecting over the trip as a whole, knowing our time together is almost up and preparing ourselves for the best last day to come.
Posted: Sun, Aug 11, 2013
Day 12 – Trip to Great Thatch Island
Location: Sandy Spit
Today we woke up to a beautiful view of the island Jost Van Dyke. After a quick breakfast, we took the dinghies ashore to the site of a new office building that we will be painting tomorrow. We had some shore time where we met some local students who would be joining us on our sail today. Every two Lifeworks students were paired up with one other student; we showed them around the boat and got to know where each other is from. After a quick sail to Great Thatch Island we split up into three groups; group one went to a beach to clean up trash, group two went snorkeling, and group three went on a short hike. After a fun filled day out on the water, we returned to Jost Van Dyke having forged many new friendships with the students. To end an exciting day, we met up with the other ActionQuest boats on the tiny island of Sandy Spit for a barbeque dinner and bonfire.