BVI: Session 1 - Lifeworks - Grins

Posted: Sat, Jul 6, 2013

Staff Update Day 20

Location: West End
Author: Matt D.
It’s coming to the end of session one and I have to say it has been an amazing one. After hiking Spyglass for the second time this session it is hard to believe three weeks have even gone by. The projects we have done and the times we have had together really brought the entire boat together. Helping out VISAR, visiting the schools, turtle tagging and so many more projects not only affected the group but knowing we actually helped out locals and the environment in the BVIS is an unreal feeling and I know it is going to be one that none of us will ever forget. Spending four hours painting a storage container in the sun, crawling through bushes to pick up that last plastic bottle or just chasing kids from Jost Van Dyke around the boat are the times that brought us all together and are going to be the memories we all take home with us. It’s hard to think of a time when someone wasn’t laughing or just having a blast talking to each other. We may have come to Grins as strangers but we are leaving as one big family. Sam was there to offer up some incredible fun facts or talk in an impressive pirate voice. Elliot was always phenomenal with the kids at the schools we visited and was always making people laugh. Will was obviously a natural born “turtler” and easily had the most inspiring speeches for an anchor captain. Maya was never afraid to volunteer for anything whether to carry the heavy tent or crawl into the woods to pick up trash. Katherine woke up in a good mood everyday and seemed to always lighten the mood with her singing and smiling. Mariela was constantly offering to help out others no matter how hard the task was and still was smiling and laughing the whole time. Her iPod was a clear favorite! Katie made a mean French toast even though she had no clue what it was. You could always find her in the galley helping out around meal times. I never heard Eliza say anything negative or complain about anything. She was up for anything we were doing. Gabbie made sure everyone else was having a good time and taken care of before she thought of herself. Courtney had excellent taste in music and was awesome at including everyone in activities and conversations. Ashley was determined to motivate everyone to help out by cleaning and participating in all of the projects. Colby was so enthusiastic about turtle tagging and loved playing with the local kids. I could not asked for a better first session and I have to thank every one of the shipmates for that. They have taught me more than I could have imagined.

Posted: Thu, Jul 4, 2013

Day 18- VISAR Day

Location: Road Harbor, Tortola
Author: Matt
Today was a long but rewarding day. We woke up at 7 and had a breakfast of cereal before heading over to the VISAR (Virgin Island Search and Rescue) base. There, we began many maintenance projects which all served to help keep the area both aesthetically pleasing and well organized. Because VISAR is entirely run by volunteers, we do this work so they can focus exclusively on saving lives. After clearing brush for most of the morning we broke for a nice lunch in the briefing room. Following that, we split into two groups: one which painted the shipping container safety orange and the other which dredged the channel that the rescue boat leaves from. Both were fun experiences, and many of us got a chance to switch out and try each. At around 4pm we headed over to Road Harbor to use the freshwater showers on the dock which felt amazing. A nice Mexican themed night of dinner capped off an amazing day, and I am really excited for what tomorrow brings!

Posted: Wed, Jul 3, 2013


Location: Sandy Spit
Author: Katie L (Fill in Skipper)
Today we woke up 7am to the delicious smell of pancakes wafting around the boat. Gabbie had woken up early to prepare them and was very capably cooking them for all of us to enjoy. We all thoroughly enjoyed our breakfast, it was a great boost for the morning after our late night the previous evening. Once we had finished breakfast and cleared away we sailed to Sandy Spit to help Susan, the lady that we had met yesterday from Jost Van Dyke Preservation Society, to undertake some conservation research. We were put to the task of looking for a tiny beetle that is thought to be found on a certain species of plant on the island. This beetle has not yet been added to the list of species in the British Virgin Islands and so if we could capture some that could then be sent away to experts to analyze this could accelerate the process. We returned once more to the beautiful waters and sands of Sandy Spit to find the beetle. There was slight doubt amongst us as to whether we would find it but in spite of this we remained resolute and trekked up the hill to the top where we found ample numbers of the insect. After we had captured three for a sample we took photographs for research purposes. Next we returned to the boat for lunch when we were treated to Ramen noodles and chicken salad. We then headed out to a second island called Sandy Cay in order to search for the same beetle and take more samples. We also asked tourists using the beach to complete a questionnaire about their experience of using the trail and other information they would have liked to have. We were then treated to a swim in the water which was great fun as well as some races across the sand. We returned to our boat and sailed back to sandy spit where we anchored to spend the night. This was followed by ocean showers and a dinner of Franks and Beans. Overall, it was a great day we got to enjoy two beautiful islands, panoramic views and swimming in the water. We are all ready for another fantastic day tomorrow!

Deja Vu

Location: Road Harbor, Tortola
Author: Eliza Q.
Today started off as just a regular day , when in fact it ended as just the opposite. I began my day by rushing to get ready to be the catamaran’s skipper, in which I helped Torin sail from Green Island to the west end of Tortola, where our trip first began. When we got to West End my shipmates and I all experienced a pleasant taste of deja vu. It was amazing to think that for the past two and a half weeks we have been circumnavigating the British Virgin Islands and loving every minute of it. Both of the Lifeworks boats were split up into two groups, one that would help out at the botanical garden and another that would plant new mangroves. My group helped out at the garden by clearing out dead leaves and large tree debris, we also learned how the compost the debris into new rich soil. We all worked together with rakes, wheelbarrows, and other gardening utensils to get the gardens looking pristine. We all ate pizza for lunch which was a great treat. After lunch we continued to clear out the natural debris until we were able to go back to the boats and get everything together for shore time in Road Town, the capitol of the BVI. A group of my shipmates and I ate gelato on shore and browsed through stores to see if we could find anything new to wear for the final barbecue which we are all dreading. It will be very weird to not see 9 of my good friends everyday. After shore time we came back to the boats and were prepped by the staff about our upcoming visit from VISAR, Virgin Island Search And Rescue. When VISAR arrived on Grins we had our chosen shipmate actors assembled to act as injured patients so the VISAR could practice rescue scenarios using us as “victims.” It was very cool to see how it all played out. Afterward a few of my shipmates were able to take a ride in the VISAR dinghy which was very cool. Tonight we ate Mexican food and took fresh water showers at the marina. All in all I would say it was a great day.

Posted: Mon, Jul 1, 2013

All Aboard

Location: Little Harbor, Jost Van Dyke
Author: Katie L.
Today we woke up bright and early at 630am in preparation for another fun filled day. After a quick cereal breakfast we started to set sail to our destination. Jost Van Dyke where we were going to take some of the kids from the Jost Van Dyke Preservation Society sailing on our boat. We arrived on shore for our 10am meeting and were lucky enough to meet Foxy beforehand. Susan, the lady in charge of the activities gave us an introduction to the Societies work in the community as well as showing us the 32 foot yacht that they were building as part of a project. Next we met all of the kids and after an icebreaker we were given a talk about sea bird conservation and tagging. This was to be the focus as we were sailing. The kids had binoculars and we identified any seabirds we saw whilst sailing. Everyone from Lifeworks was given a buddy from Jost Van Dyke who they were to look after all day, making sure they were safe on the boat, entertaining them. We all then headed for the two boats, it was a little bit of a squeeze but that just added to the fun and it was great to see how excited all of the kids were. We set sail for Sandy Spit which is a tiny beautiful island that looked exactly like the deserted islands described in the movies. After a lunch of hot dogs and sandwiches the kids were all desperate to have a swim so they jumped into the water around the boat with us. Everyone had great fun even if it was a little crazy to begin with. Next we took dingies to the perfectly white sand of the island so we could swim in the shallow water that surrounded it. After some time swimming and playing at the beach we headed back to the boats. This was followed by a five minute period to jump off the boat. Then we headed back to Jost Van Dyke to drop off the kids before we had about half an hour of shore time to explore the island. This was followed by fresh water showers. We all thoroughly enjoyed our refreshing fresh water showers and prepared for the barbeque. We had a delicious meal, enjoyed some live music and explored the shops. At 11pm we headed back to the boats for some well deserved sleep. Overall, it was a brilliant day, it was very special to share our boat with the kids so they could experience life aboard. We are all ready and raring for the final part of the trip.

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