BVI: Session 1 - Distant Drums
Posted: Sun, Jul 7, 2013
Staff Update Day 20
Location: West End
The end of program is always bittersweet. It’s thrilling to reflect upon the growth of our shipmates and the development of such close friendships between them. One the other hand, it’s sad to think that, in less than 24 hours, Distant Drums will be bereft of one of the finest crews I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with. I truly cannot say enough good things about the funny, kind, caring individuals I’ve had the pleasure of sharing a home with throughout these past few weeks. It’s a wonderful and rare thing when even we as staff members feel like a real part of such a cohesive team, and I’m happy to have had that experience this session. Throughout it all, our shipmates never ceased to impress. Pando was always up and helping out on deck and after meals, even with an injured thumb. Rachel took to every new activity like a fish to water, never saying no’ without giving something a try. The same went for Kat, who jumped headlong into every dive and sail with quiet enthusiasm. While Julien became an impressive sailor through spending many voluntary hours at the helm, Ella and Jess honed their dive skills to the point that, when they each turned 15, they were finally permitted to start diving without the help of an instructor. Jack displayed his prowess in the galley each time he was called upon as chef, even turning out a special bean casserole of his own creation on Mexican Night. Whether in the galley, on deck, or below, Simon and Andy’s witticisms and one-liners had us laughing so hard our cheeks hurt. None of us smiled as wide as Kelly, however, whose infectious smile and laughter always managed to bring up the crew’s spirits. Brooke worked hard this session to become a self-sufficient diver, learning how to safely set up and haul her kit without outside help or commentary. That said, self-sufficiency can be a hard thing on a boat like Distant Drums, especially when one bumps into Jimmy at every turn, who always offers a helping hand. Help was particularly appreciated on race day, when the four dive side cats raced from Road Town, past Great Harbor, to the Bight at Norman Island. Cole, our skipper, revisited his racing roots and kept us steady at the helm all the way to the end. Today we’re back where we started from, on the dock in West End. Although the scenery is familiar, so much has changed since we were here last. 21 days ago we boarded Distant Drums as a group of strangers. Today we feel like family. To my shipmates and fellow staff: you have all been a joy to work with. Best of luck to all of you: safe travels, stay in touch, stay awesome.
Posted: Sat, Jul 6, 2013
A Bittersweet Day
Location: West End
Today we woke up bright and early. Immediately we knew what was coming. We realized that today was our last full day. After a shipmate group hug we started breakfast. After a great breakfast we went to the Indians to dive. We all went down together because sadly it’s our last dive. What was good though it was a great dive. The coral and fish were amazing and it was fun to play around underwater. After all going down as one giant buddy group we came back up and started cleaning. We had to clean the boat for the next session, but because we worked together as a family we made quick work of the job. Then we went to get lunch at Pusser’s which is always good. After lunch we took showers and got back on the boat for a final meeting. After that we will have a BBQ and a dock talk with Mike. All this time we are smiling because we’re in a great place. But we are also sad because it’s all over. Regardless we can all agree that this was one of the best experiences of our lives and we will never forget one another.
Posted: Fri, Jul 5, 2013
Close to the End
Location: The Bight, Norman Island
Today was another extraordinary day on Distant Drums. We kicked off the day with a morning dive at the sunken RMS Rhone anchor. The anchor was cut off after becoming stuck on a coral reef during a hurricane in 1867. The RMS Rhone later sunk, killing all of its passengers. After this fun dive, we sailed across to Road Town, the capital of the BVI. We anchored there for 1.5 hours. We grabbed a quick bit to eat and bought a few souvenirs before shuttling back to Distant Drums to prepare for our race. All of the dive side cats line up, then raced all the way to the Indians. We didn’t win, but we finished the race with smiles on our faces and the satisfaction of beating Mahi Mahi. After we found a mooring spot, Tina, Ben, and Marina left for a staff meeting while we cooked dinner. We demolished the cheddar broccoli and cornbread before the instructors got back (but we did save enough food for them). After a quick cleanup, we started our final night activity during which we wrote cards to all of our friends, shipmates, and instructors at Action Quest. It was lots of fun, and everyone is very excited to read these cards tomorrow.
Posted: Thu, Jul 4, 2013
Location: Great Harbor, Peter Island
All the shipmates woke up today expecting a fourth of July celebration – only to forget that the British are not exactly fond of this holiday. After a brief sail we geared up for a dive in shipwreck alley – home to four wrecks! We even saw an amazing four foot stingray. We then ate lunch and swam (or for me, got thrown in by force) and then dove shipwreck alley again. The wrecks were amazing – one had even been sunk upside down! Finally, after a relatively uneventful sail, we sat down to breakfast for dinner in Great Harbor Peter where we’ll stay tonight as we present our group research project that we’ve all been working on over the past three weeks.
Posted: Wed, Jul 3, 2013
Location: Great Harbor, Peter Island
Today started off great. When we woke up at 6:30 it was raining pretty bad but after about 5 minutes it stopped and we saw an awesome rainbow. It was actually a double rainbow and it went all the way across the sky. Then we saw Marina coming back from her early morning dive and she was so excited because she saw her first manta ray. We ate oatmeal for breakfast and then headed off for West End where we started our trip. When we got there at around 9 we had until 11pm to walk around. We all went for another breakfast at some little coffee place and even though it took a while it was still pretty tasty. I bought gifts for everyone in my family and Pando bought food for everyone. After we left West End we raced Mahi Mahi to Great Harbor Peter where we are now. We drew, and plan on racing again two days from now. We are now on Mahi Mahi because we had dinner with them and it was a lot of fun!