Carina AdventureBritish Virgin Islands
Advanced Sailing With Basic or Advanced Scuba
This voyage is for you if you are a certified sailor or diver looking to boost your skills and certifications while water skiing, windsurfing and exploring the islands.
Specialty instructors are devoted to these advanced-level IYT sailing and PADI scuba certification programs. Carina shipmates sail within the same fleet as the Quest and Vega voyages. You'll circumnavigate the entire BVI during this voyage, perfecting your sailing, seamanship and navigation skills. In Carina, everyone scuba dives. Along the way, you will dive at reef walls, pinnacles, spurs and outcroppings like Mountain Point, The Chimneys, Spy Glass and Coral Gardens. You will also manage to fit in some wake boarding, laser sailing and even a little beach volleyball as we take on other crews when the flotilla gets together at our beach party.
Learning the Ropes - Week 1
We're off the dock!
Week one of our BVI adventure program for teens is all about meeting new people, trying new activities and learning the ropes. Lots of sailing, scuba diving, and water sports dominate the landscape but for our students, it's the teamwork and camaraderie that is the highlight of the experience so far.
Honing New Skills - Week 2
The adventure continues!
Week 2 of our BVI summer adventure experience is all about our students honing their new skills. Dive training is in full gear as our Vega students earn their PADI open water diver certifications and our Advanced diving fleet continue their training during wreck, photography, and underwater research dives, as well as star fish and shark dissections. While our students are learning a ton both above and below the surface, they also seem to be learning quite a bit about themselves.
Certifications & Celebrations - Week 3
The final week!
We wrap up the final week of our BVI teen adventure program with the students putting their newly earned sailing certifications to the test, while still making time for some amazing diving on the famous wreck of the RMS Rhone and a trek to the top of Mt. Sage, the highest point in the BVI. Our students reflect on their experience and the amazing relationships they developed over the past 3 weeks.
First Day Out...
Now it all starts to make sense...
It's so refreshing to finally get out on the water, catch the wind in the sails for the first time and then snorkel or scuba in the afternoon. What we do and how we do it all starts to make sense... Oh, and it's sloppy Joe's for dinner... Who's the chef today?
Voyage Blog Entry...
Location: Sandy Spit
Today was a fantastic day. My shipmates and I were able to sail for five consecutive hours. Each of us had our chance at the helm, going over the practical skills for our sailing exam.
Over the past few weeks everyone onboard has learned multiple aspects and techniques about sailing. Everyone also feels much closer to each other now, and for the most part we all cooperate and work together to have fun and keep a clean ship. I'm enjoying the trip and I keep learning new things every day!
The Job Wheel
Alumni Author: Chance S.
So here's how it works aboard the AQ boats, because everyone has a job to do each day. From the second you land in the BVI your in charge of your own adventure, and the staff is there for help and guidance... but it's really you who are in charge of raising sails, figuring out where you are and how to get to where you want to go, as well as cooking and cleaning etc. So, everyday you have a new job depending on where your name is on the job wheel and how it rotates. One day you might be the Skipper or the next you could be the chef... it gives you a taste of all the roles it takes to run the yacht.
Finding the Air Pocket...
Alumni Author: Hannah L.
Rotation days were by far my favorite days while on AQ. A rotation day is a full day where you do multiple activities all geared toward expanding your horizons and all very fun. From windsurfing to knee boarding to Scuba to Pico sailing, there is something for everyone. Each activity takes place in a set time frame that is plenty long to enjoy yourself and to get something done. But not so long that you get tired. Then you have about ten minutes in between to get to the next activity location. We all get to do each activity multiple times over the course of of the trip so you can figure out which you like best so if you can expand on these activities when you return home. Yes, rotation days are by far the most energy filled exciting days of all of AQ!
Voyage Blog Entry...
Cheeseburgers In Paradise
Location: Cane Garden Bay
Today was packed with activities. It started with a long hike up Mt. Sage with the whole program. Luckily we had a long time to complete it because it was straight uphill the whole way.
Once we got to the top we got to take pictures of our accomplishment and the beautiful view, and drink refreshing smoothies while shopping for souveniers. Eventually we all had to make the walk back down, but fortunately it was mostly downhill. When we arrived at the bottom we headed for the restaurants to have a cheeseburger in paradise. Everyone was able to make calls home and update their parents. Soon it was time to head to another nearby island for a sand castle competition between all of the boats. Our boat made an awesome sea turtle that was elaborately decorated with materials found around the island. Our turtle came in second! We sadly had to leave our turtle and the beautiful island behind to head to an exciting night at Sidney's Peace and Love for a BBQ. The night ended a little later than usual, and we all headed back to our boats for a great night of sleep.
Just you, your shipmates and the power of the wind. Now, with the breeze in your hair and the helm in your hands, you realize how far you and your teammates have come. No longer passengers, you are crew – shipmates, staff and adventurers united for this awesome voyage...MORE > >
Submerged in a completely different world - a world where 'exotic' doesn't begin to describe what's in front of your eyes, that's AQ scuba. Through crystal blue waters with incredible visibility, you'll come face-to-face with spectacular marine life like hawksbill turtles, queen angelfish and schools of mirror-like silver sides...MORE > >
Can't picture yourself actually skiing, wakeboarding and windsurfing? Think again! As you carve through the water, you'll feel the speed, the wind, the exhilaration and the accomplishment of doing something you never thought you could. You'll be grinning for sure...MORE > >
ActionQuest visits some of the most incredible places on earth - the perfect settings for watersports, cultural expeditions, hiking and exploring. The sights you see on an AQ voyage vary according to the destinations you visit, and all are extraordinary.MORE > >
Other Cool Stuff
Think that's all we do at AQ? No way. Along with the beach BBQ's and reggae dance parties in the BVI, you'll learn to drive a dinghy, tie knots, splice a line, sail a laser and even cook for 15 people at a time! While the Galapagos and Ecuador voyages are filled with unpredictable, priceless moments of cultural exchange, service learning, and adventure. You’ll see striking scenery, improve your Spanish, taste new food, and make friends for life as you immerse yourself in an entirely new culture. Every moment of every day will be jam packed with cool stuff to do, see and experience...MORE > >
IYT International Crew
The IYT International Crew course is designed for students with limited previous experience, who want to become competent crew and helm on a yacht. You'll learn about yacht and personal safety, rules of the road, buoyage and, most important, keeping a look out! These are are just some of the elements taught aboard by our instructors.
IYT VHF Operator
Every crewmember needs to know how to operate a marine radio. This course covers general rules for the use and operation of VHF Radios, what to do in the case of an emergency and an introduction to other marine communications equipment.
IYT International Watchkeeper/Basic Flotilla Skipper Certificate
This is a certificate of excellence for students who wish to take command of their own yachts confidently and safely or for those who wish to safely charter a smaller yacht for a family vacation. The theory and practical modules are aimed at increasing a students' nautical knowledge sufficiently to be a watchkeeper on board a bareboat yacht, or a flotilla skipper in fair weather, in daylight hours within sight of land.
PADI Adv. Open Water
The PADI Advanced Open Water Diver Course is the next step up from Open Water, and will increase your knowledge and safety while diving in different aquatic environments. Two of the five areas are required topics; the Deep Diving and Underwater Navigation, and we add three more topics such as Night Diving, Wreck Diving, Boat Diving and Underwater Naturalist. Experience real adventure and be one step closer to Master Scuba Diver - the ultimate non-professional certification in recreational diving.
PADI Boat Diver
Whether you've never made a boat dive or you've logged dozens, the PADI Boat Diver Specialty course can benefit almost every diver because different boats in different parts of the world do things differently.
PADI Fish Identification Specialty
Gain hands on experience looking for and identifying the fascinating fish you see underwater. You'll learn how to identify characteristics of local fish families and species, and local fish survey techniques and strategies. Once you learn the main fish families and characteristics, it will help you decipher the species you see all over the world.
VOYAGE ITINERARYPrevious Next
Throw your toothbrush in your bag and head to the airport! You'll start to meet our staff and other shipmates as you connect through St. Thomas on the way to Tortola. As soon as you arrive, it's straight aboard the boat where you'll meet your staff and choose your bunk. After that, change into your swim gear and take your first dip into the warm blue Caribbean water! You'll spend the rest of the afternoon getting to know your shipmates until it's time for all of you to prepare your first dinner aboard! Strangers will become fast friends as you end your first day chatting under the stars on board your new home.
It's up early with the roosters, and after a quick breakfast, we'll start off an action packed day. After swim tests are finished up, everyone will get together on the dock for the big program introduction. Next thing you know, it's time to slip our lines and set sail for Norman Island, refreshing our sailing knowledge as we go. After you drop anchor and enjoy lunch, there is a snorkeling adventure through the once treasure-filled 'Caves' on Norman Island. You'll spend your evening anchored beneath Spyglass hill, and after dinner, you have your first SCUBA chat! (classroom introduction to advanced SCUBA diving and PADI Specialties).
The trend of waking up early continues as we get an early start for a fantastic training sail up the Sir Francis Drake Channel. We'll break half way for lunch and a quick swim, and then set sails again, rotating positions so everyone has a turn at each job aboard as we work through refreshing 'man overboard' and the points of sail. As the sun begins to dip, we drop anchor off the sugar white beach in Savannah Bay. The chefs of the day will begin to create our evening meal as the rest of the crew tidies up from our sailing adventure. After dinner, we gather for our second SCUBA chat, looking forward to the excitement of diving the following day.
Time for our first full activity day. While the yachts we live aboard will not sail today, we will go for our SCUBA review dive, have a windsurfing lesson, learn how to drive the dinghy, get out in the ski boats for some waterskiing and wakeboarding, and get an advanced lesson in anchoring and docking! Lunch comes and goes in a blur of activity, and as the sun starts to set, you finally begin to wrap your head around all you have done in this very busy day. After another wonderful meal, courtesy of yourself and your fellow shipmates, it is time to get together with a number of other boats for an evening of interaction and discovery that is part of the Lifeworks Forum.
As we make passage out of Savannah Bay and around the infamous 'Whale Rock Point' we begin to see The Baths in the distance, one of the British Virgin Islands' true natural treasures. We spend the morning climbing, swimming and exploring this amazing formation of granite boulders before pulling up anchors and heading for our first port of call in Spanish Town. Spanish Town offers a chance to call home, grab lunch & an ice cream ashore, and pick up any odds and ends needed. Once back out on the water, we have a high energy sail up past the eastern tip of Virgin Gorda and into North Sound, where we will spend the next couple of days. With the entire fleet rafted up, the usual meal preparation and shower time take an entirely more social turn. The evening finds us again meeting in small groups to work on our knowledge of SCUBA diving and the underwater world.
Another full activity day begins early at Vixen point, with shipmates having the opportunity to build on their skills in SCUBA diving, water skiing/wakeboarding, windsurfing and basic seamanship. Gorda Sound also offers the perfect conditions and equipment to further our small boat sailing skills using Laser Picos and Hunter 19s from The Bitter End Yacht Club. The evening's activities see the crews really putting a focus on mastering the advanced theory behind the science and practice of sailing. By reinforcing the lessons learned on the water that day, everyone is beginning to feel like a high level sailor.
Day two at Vixen Point sees the same flurry of activity as the day before and shipmates begin to really solidify the skills they are learning. For the second day, Gorda Sound provides the perfect winds and calm water coupled with the right mix of sailing craft to really give shipmates the feel for sailing. In addition to advanced SCUBA diving instruction, shipmates have now had enough instruction in water skiing and wakeboarding that they are making the move to try the slalom ski or starting to catch some air on the wakeboard! As the late afternoon approaches, focus turns to the excitement of the beach barbeque and the D.J. that will be spinning tunes at the private beach party for our last evening in Gorda Sound. All the favorite beach barbeque staples are prepared and ready, and for the first time during the trip there are no dishes! The evening begins with a wonderful sunset and ends with dancing to the sound of the island beats!
Sails are set and we are off to Anegada! It is just seven miles away but unlike the rest of the BVI's, this reef encircled sandy island cannot be seen until we are almost upon it. Once we reach the western tip of Anegada, it is time to run and swim on miles of deserted beaches before packing up and setting our sails for the fast reach back to Mountain Point. After a big day of sailing, we find ourselves anchored under the towering rock formations off Mountain Point. A great Mexican night meal is followed by an adventure in night diving to explore the nocturnal underwater life.
In addition to more water skiing/wakeboarding, SCUBA diving, and small boat sailing, today will see our crews getting more time on the helm of the 50ft monohulls with close quarters maneuvering and 'man overboard' skills being mastered. Mountain Point provides the perfect place for our first underwater naturalist specialty dive. These dives focus on vertebrate, invertebrate and undersea plant identification and try to answer all the "what was that?" questions we have. After dinner, and a wonderful Mountain Point sunset, the crews once again break into small groups to take part in the Lifeworks Forum.
On the water early again today for another full activity day! Sailing relay races are on the agenda as well as learning some of the fundamentals of coastal and ocean navigation. Today's second underwater naturalist dive concentrates on identifying the different types of relationships sea creatures have with each other. We will try to find examples of preditor/prey relationships as well as examples of different types of symbiosis that occur in the underwater world. The evening brings more sailing instruction.
A quick morning sail downwind to the island of Great Dog will put us in position to dive at the always-impressive dive site called Coral Gardens. This site shows us the true wonders of the undersea kingdom and, if the conditions are right, we may even get to check out the wreck of an airplane that was placed in the sand beside the reef for the filming of a movie. After a great dive and some lunch, we again set sail for the lovely little island of Marina Cay, where we get ashore to make phone calls, grab an ice cream and take a quick look around the five-acre island. Fresh food arrives again today and the boats are rotated on and off the water dock to make sure the tanks get filled up. Just after dinner aboard, the entire program heads ashore to get together up on the highest point of the island for another installment of the Lifeworks Forum.
Sailing skill development is the order of the day, as crews set out from Marina Cay and transit the small cut between Tortola and Camanoe Island to access the pristine sailing grounds to the north of Tortola. Practical sailing skills are evaluated as shipmates challenge the requirements for advanced sailing certification. As the afternoon light begins to fade, we bring the vessels into the cliff lined cove of Muskmellon bay and anchor amidst the diving pelicans and circling Frigate birds. After dinner, it is time to whip up some brownies and popcorn for movie night aboard.
Muskmellon Bay once again provides us with a place to get all the equipment out for another full activity day. With the ski boats pulling skiers and wake boarders outside of the bay, the inside of the bay gets divided into two areas for more small boat sailing and SCUBA diving. By this point, we are now polishing our diving skills and really appreciate the near-perfect wall structure that the south side of Muskmellon Bay provides. The cliffs below the sea rival the beauty of those above and provide a wonderful backdrop for the bustling sea life that surrounds us. As the afternoon's activities wrap up, we pull anchor and head over to Somer's Beach for a cookout and games on the beach.
For our second day of diving at Muskmellon Bay, we will be dropping off the wall and heading for the deeper part of the bay to log our deep dive. For the deep dive, we will observe additional safety procedures while testing ourselves with a timed skill exercise to investigate the potential effects of nitrogen narcosis. After a quick tow behind the ski boats and some instruction in making monkey's fists and turk's heads out of line, it is time for a great sail down the northern coast of Tortola to the famous Cane Garden Bay. Tucked into Cane Garden Bay for the night, we enjoy a great meal aboard and break into small groups for more of the Lifeworks Forum before turning in early in preparation for the big hike the following day.
The morning starts in a flash as we find ourselves standing on the dock at 7am, water bottle in hand, ready to make the hike to the top of Tortola. As we approach the summit, we are wrapped in the lush greens of the Mt. Scenery National Park with views of the entire British and US Virgin Islands. The trip down is much quicker than the way up and by noon we are enjoying a "Cheese Burger in Paradise" in the very spot that Jimmy Buffet is claimed to have written his song for. Quickly following our burgers and ice cream, we depart for an inter-boat sandcastle contest on the deserted beach of Sandy Cay. We make a quick move over to Sydney's Peace and Love in Little Harbour, Jost Van Dyke, as "the busiest day in ActionQuest" continues with another catered barbecue dinner ashore and a live reggae band to get us dancing. As the band plays the last note, we are all ready to call it a night and get some rest before another big day.
Sleeping in is not something that usually happens in the world of ActionQuest, but we give it a shot and try to sleep as long as the sun will allow. After a big breakfast, we set sail for our final sailing skills review day. With fun races between the boats of the flotilla scheduled for the next day, everyone is motivated to make sure they have the skills needed to make their boat the best in the fleet. After a great day of sailing, we anchor in behind the most photographed island in the BVI's, Sandy Spit. After some time ashore this deserted beach paradise, we head back to the boat for a meal under the stars and our final Lifeworks Forum.
Our first "Race Day" has arrived! The goals of the day are to use our newfound skills to compete in friendly competition with our peers. Our first race takes us from Sandy Spit to West End, where we stop for lunch, provisions and water. The second race of the day starts in West End and skirts the south coast of Tortola before crossing the Sir Francis Drake Channel to arrive in Great Harbour, Peter Island. With a big day of sailing behind us, the knowledge we need to pass the sailing exam the following morning is bubbling over, but it never hurts to review. After a quick sailing review, we turn in ready for our exam and really looking forward to the diving adventure we will have on the Wreck of the Rhone the next day.
We start today with a motor over to Salt Island. After a dive briefing and story of "The Wreck of the Rhone", we embark on what will be the highlight of our diving career. In and around the fantastic coral-encrusted shipwreck, all types of fish and marine life dart and flirt. With any luck, we will be able to find parts of the marble floor, ship's tool box and even the shiny bronze port holes. Lunch and a walk around Salt Island follow our dive. Once back aboard, we take some time to pass our sailing exam before heading back to Peter Island for the night. Tonight is a free night in the schedule that we can use to catch up with our friends on other boats, or just relax under the stars.
No trip to the islands would be complete without a trip to the small capital of the BVI's, Road Town. After a quick opportunity to get one last time behind a ski boat, we make the short sail over to Road Town. With an hour or two to explore, buy a souvenir and maybe grab a bite to eat, we are ready to hop back onboard and have a very relaxing sail down to Norman Island, the very first place we anchored on our first day of the trip. The last evening at anchor is really all about wrapping up our voyage together. The closing program gives each shipmate a chance to reflect and express what the voyage has meant to them and allows the crew to solidify the bond they have developed.
An early breakfast and then the skippers' meeting is held to determine the course and starting procedures for the final race today! Crew morale and spirit are running high as chants and cheering echo through the anchorage, while vessels are prepared for the big event. Using their new advanced sailing knowledge, the crews squeeze every bit of speed out of the vessels sailing up the Sir Francis Drake Channel. The course takes us over to a buoy off of Road Town, then back to Great Harbour, Peter Island, for the exciting finish. After sailing back to West End, a BBQ at Pussers Landing with a reggae band playing island tunes is the perfect setting for our final night. A final wrap-up with the entire flotilla takes place on the dock and is followed by the re-telling of the tales and adventures we have all had.
The tears start flowing with the first taxi departing before the sun rises as shipmates say goodbye and depart for the airport. Departures continue with the final group setting off for the ride to the airport in the early afternoon. Students arrive back to friends and family and begin to reflect and tell the tales of the sailing, diving, adventure and new friendships developed during their time aboard.
Having said that, when on program we follow strict guidelines as to when students may use their cell phones. The environment we strive to create aboard relies heavily on each individual remaining focused on the group and our experience. Being tied to the modern world of "instant communications" can, in certain circumstances, be a hindrance to the personal and group processes aboard. We feel that there is ample opportunity to make calls during personal time ashore.
Please be aware that ALL cell phones (this includes iPhones, Blackberries, camera phones etc.) will be collected upon arrival to the program and held in safekeeping. Cell phones will be made available to students at times designated for making phone calls when we are ashore.
We encourage our students to call home when they have the chance, however, we do not require this, as our staff are usually busy with other activities such as stocking the boats with fresh food over this time. The old saying "you can lead a horse to water..." comes to mind, as some shipmates call home every time and some never call! In the BVI, there are ample opportunities, and the phone service is pretty reliable.
FLIGHTS & TRAVEL INFO
To learn about student travel to and from the British Virgin Islands, please click HERE to visit our Student Travel page
Here you'll find:
> Contact details for Leah Hernandez, our student travel coordinator
> Options on how to get to the British Virgin Islands
> Info on how we accommodate early arrivals or late departures
> What you should consider in terms of passports and visas