Quest AdventureBritish Virgin Islands
Introduction to Sailing & Watersports with Community Service
This is your voyage if you are looking for a high-paced adventure that offers you an opportunity to give back to the BVI at the same time.
On the Quest Voyage, you will become a seasoned sailor and earn up to twenty hours of community service. The hours spent participating in projects such as turtle population studies, mangrove reforestation and beach clean-ups will satisfy any school requirement and you'll also be helping to ensure that others can enjoy the BVI for years to come.
The Quest crew sails full-time with the Vega fleet and many of the activities, skills and certifications are the same. Besides mastering sailing, you'll also wakeboard, windsurf and explore the islands. You'll sail the incredible waters of the Sir Francis Drake Channel, snorkel through the famous Coral Gardens and hang out at 'Sydney's Peace & Love' with other AQ crews from around the world.
Go Watersports Crazy!
Vixen point is the perfect place for a range of watersports, so we raft the boats Mediterranean-style to the white sand beach and get ready for two days of high action watersports fun!
Voyage Blog Entry...
Author: Gina D.
Location: Savannah Bay
Today was our first full sailing day. It was also the first time waking up to sunny clear skies. We quickly set sail and had many lessons in how to sail. Everyone had the opportunity to practice our sailing skills and to sit out on the deck and enjoy the sun.
We hove to in order to eat lunch, reapply sunscreen, and to hydrate. Afterwards we tacked across the water to Savannah Bay, where we dropped anchor for the day. To pass the time until they could ski and wakeboard the Vega students worked on broadening their scuba knowledge. Groups of three went out one at a time to wakeboard or ski. To end the day, we enjoyed amazing food thanks to Anna and Tenley. Hopefully tomorrow brings as much fun as today.
The Vixen Point BBQ & Beach Party
Alumni Author: Chance S.
The highlight of my past session has to have been the Vixen Point BBQ and Beach Party. For the first week you've been learning your new skills and growing close to your shipmates, and then at the BBQ you finally get to hang out with all of the other crews and see your friends on other boats. Start out by arriving by dinghy, getting some good food and as the sun sets, the music starts and the party begins. You have never experienced such an amazing party!
Capsizing a Pico...
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 enough 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 the trip, so you can figure out which you like best so 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...
Author: Sophie R.
Location: Great Harbor Peter
Today was race day. I honestly thought that Nick would be at the helm because he would be our best bet of winning. I was informed that this would not be the case, when I was told I had a skippers meeting at 7:30. The morning race was to Steele Point. It was an easy drag race.
I was really nervous because I didn't want to let my boat down. My morale was boosted as we readied the starting line and everyone shouted 5-4-3-2-1. As soon as the race started, Nick put on 'Welcome to the Jungle' and he started blowing his trumpet. We were all doing a sort of war dance. Then after that, we listened to the Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack. That really got us in the mood. We were on the end, so all the other boats were stealing our wind. At first I didn't have high hopes for this race, then we started gaining speed. Mary Jewell was in the lead, but we were catching up. For most of the race we were in second place. Right as we were approaching the rocks that acted as the finish line, Wicked Good snuck right in there and snagged second, leaving us with third. We had lunch at the biggest port yet. It was actually where we started, so it was kind of depressing because we know that's where we are going to end as well. After a great lunch and a bit of shopping, we all met up at the dock. Our afternoon race was canceled due to weather, so we all got to chill and take early showers. We also had an early dinner, Mexican night II. Tonight we are going to have a review for our written sail test. We'll see how that goes!
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 > >
One of the best ways to travel is to work side-by-side with the communities and environments you’re immersing yourself in. We partner with local organizations that allow us to give back to the locations we visit while learning and growing ourselves. Whether it's combating invasive species, removing garbage from the beach, or simply bringing a smile to a child’s face – service oriented travel allows you to gain a new perspective of the world while having fun at the same time!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.
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, you'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 your lines and get your first taste of sailing in paradise. Main from the Jib, Tack from the Clew, as you learn the boat, you'll practice hemming and trimming as you sail to Norman Island. 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 a program intro chat!
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 learning '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 first aid and CPR training, and then it's off to bed.
Today is a day of firsts. While the yachts we live aboard will not sail today, we will go for our first windsurfing lesson, learn how to drive the dinghy, and get out in the ski boats for some waterskiing and wakeboarding! 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 finishing up our First Aid and CPR.
Another full activity day begins early at Vixen point, with shipmates having the opportunity to build on their skills in 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 nomenclature and 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 real 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. 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 tops off the day.
In addition to more water skiing/wakeboarding 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 a ton of activities in the shallow, crystal clear, protected waters. 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. We'll also get to snorkel some of the best reefs in the BVI. The evening's activities once again focus on preparing shipmates for the upcoming sailing exam that is part of the sailing certification process with International Yachtmaster Training.
A quick morning sail to the Island of Great Dog will put us in position for another great snorkel at the always impressive Coral Gardens. This site shows us the true wonders of the tropical undersea world 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 some lunch, we again set sail for the lovely little island of Marina Cay. Once ashore, there is time to make phone calls, grab an ice cream and take a quick look around the five-acre island. 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 move a step closer to gaining certification for their seamanship skills. 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 is perfect for a full day of service as we join forces with our other teams to catch, tag and release turtles. The data that we provide is passed on to British scientist that study growth rates and migration patterns of Green and Hawksbill turtles. As the afternoon's activities wrap up, we pull anchor and head over to Somer's Beach for a cookout and the games on the beach.
Our final day at Guana Island sees us perform a windward side beach clean-up before heading out for other activities! 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. In the evening we head 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 much deserved rest.
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 beautiful deserted Island, we head back to the boats 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 snorkelling 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 briefing and story of "The Wreck of the Rhone", we embark on what may well be the highlight of the trip. In and around the fantastic coral-encrusted shipwreck, we watch first hand as all types of fish and marine life dart and flirt. Once back on board, we have lunch and head to Salt Island for a beautiful hike around the island. After the Hike, it's time to pass our Sailing exam before heading back to Peter Island for a free night to catch up with 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. 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 reach 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 that we do, 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 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. After an exciting start, the crews squeeze every bit of speed out of the vessels, sailing up the Sir Francis Drake Channel, over to a buoy off of Road Town, then 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 a 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, service, 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