BVI: Session 3 - Kes Kat

Posted: Sat, Aug 15, 2015

Staff Update – Kes Kat

Location: West End, Tortola
Author: David
It’s hard to believe that today, as our last group of 13 shipmates leaves the dock, summer is finally over. We finished the summer with a great group of students and projects this session. We started off the session with work on Virgin Gorda at the Valley Day School and with some beach cleanups. After leaving Virgin Gorda we got to spend a few days at Anegada working with the Conservation and Fisheries Department doing turtle tagging research. We also visited the Anegada Rock Iguana Headstart facility and learned about the animals from Anegada’s head National Parks ranger, Rondel. Our next big stop after Anegada was Jost Van Dyke where we spend a few days working with the Jost Van Dyke Preservation Society before heading back to Tortola and finishing up the session with some mangroves and VISAR.

Throughout all the projects our students were motivated and hardworking, especially Jacob, our one returning student who used his knowledge from last year to helped lead the group. Cora was another natural leader and could always be found doing something fun with a massive smile on her face. Cecilia, our resident Brit/Swede, provided us with a different perspective, as well as some great Swedish phrases and her giggle was a constant presence on board. She also pulled up one of the biggest and angriest hawksbill turtles I’ve ever seen which was super impressive. Alli also was constantly bringing smiles to our faces, whether it was with her ceaseless hard work or the brilliant pictures she was always taking. Adam, a budding young sailor, was invaluable to helping us sail the boat and he was always helping out on board. Jack was our fishing expert and every time I talked to him I learned something new (usually about fly fishing). Ally and Lydia, two girls who were actually friends from home, taught us some fun staring games and were also incredible at befriending and chaperoning the younger students from the Jost Van Dyke Preservation Society. The last girl on board was Rachel who brought her charm and humor to every project we did. She worked hard all session and one of my favorite projects was a mission with her to grab mangrove seedlings in a really shallow and tight spot. Together Rachel, Dahrius and I half-dragged and half-oared our dinghy Shadow into the middle of a mangrove forest on a quest to get some seedlings. Both Rachel and Dahrius were awesome on that project and we were successful in collecting the seeds. I honestly believe Jules was the best water-skier I have or ever will see. Thomas, despite joining the group a day late, fit right in and his jokes made the trip what it was. Him and Sam were also so hardworking and were at the core of a squad that dredged SO MUCH mud out of the front of the VISAR base. Everyone was great and we’ll miss them all. Every session we get great students but these were truly special and I hope we run into them again at some point in the future.

Posted: Fri, Aug 14, 2015

Day 16- Put The Blue Lagoon Down!!

Location: West End, Tortola
Author: Rachel G.
We woke up at a very early time of 6:25 to embark on an intense but amazing hike up Spyglass Hill on Norman Island. The view was incredible and every single second of it was breath taking! We then climbed back down to the bottom and began the cleaning process. Everyone on the boat did an amazing job! Lydia and Alli made the girls’ head spotless while CeCe and Ally cleaned the girl’s cabin to perfection! Thomas and Sam were great with the power hose and made the deck as clean as I have ever seen it. Cora was really good at finding items to take back to the storage rooms in West End, Tortola, which is where we docked. Jacob, Jack, Dahrius and I bleached EVERYTHING on the boat! It was crazy how many bleach wipes we went through! Jules and Adam were great at docking the boat and being dinghy tenders. After the massive cleanup, we had a great chunk of shore time and everyone hung out at all the shops and restaurants that West End had to offer. I hung out with Alli and Dahrius for some of the time and talked to Ally, Lydia, Cora, Jacob and Thomas. After our shore time we had an auction for the Lifeworks flag and raised $340 for the charity programs that we worked with on our trip. Then we went to a quick barbecue with ActionQuest and had a cool end-of-trip pow wow with Mike, the director, and then hung out on the dock some more. The squeeze question was “What was your favorite part of the trip?” and the answers really brought us together. We are all really sad to leave but we are grateful for our time here and we have all changed for the better thanks to Lifeworks. This is the last blog for the summer and I have got to say thank you to all of the Lifeworks staff, especially Elliot, Beezie and David for hanging out with us and making this trip one of the best trips ever!!! Also, parents, your kids will be home soon whether you like it or not lol! See you guys tomorrow and thanks for reading! 🙂

Posted: Thu, Aug 13, 2015

Day 15- Peter Island And The Final Sail

Location: The Bight, Norman Island
Author: Sam H.
Today we splurged when we woke up at 8:30 to a laid back day. We had a calm morning in which a Lifeworks director led us through a picture game where we still learned new things about our crew members and for some of us even a little bit about ourselves. After the activity we went to a beach that was owned by a local and his family for over 150 years. We sadly did not get the chance to meet him but, we went to his village and helped clean up his grounds. After, we took a short ten minute walk to the five star hotel that bordered the local man’s home, we sat down along the prestigious beach and had a conversation on the differences between the two beaches we saw. This lead into an in depth conversation on what the “real” BVI is and what is advertised back home. We went back to the boat where for the next few hours we relaxed at the boat and did a lot of snorkeling which was really incredible. There wasn’t much coral but, the fish life was a site to behold. We got to swim in schools of fishes that made everyone’s day. After our laid back morning we raced (Elliot’s version) Dive side up to our final destination of the day which was The Bight off Norman Island. We anchored there and the staff left to go to a meeting and left us to our own devices. When they left we turned up the music and all hung out before we had to make dinner for ourselves. Everything was going right until we were confronted with cooking the rice. The staff came back and had a quick laugh at us then helped us finish cooking. We had a nice dinner with our “friends” who had anchored on top of us which didn’t give us much leeway between the two boats. After dinner we had a nice evening program.

Posted: Wed, Aug 12, 2015

Day 14- Four Fingered Cora

Location: Great Harbor, Peter Island
Author: Ally S.
Lifeworks woke up bright and early to the sun shining, boat swaying and the smell of home made French toast made by David. Shortly after breakfast and a sail to Brandywine Bay, Tortola, 13 full bellies and wide smiles packed into the dinghies and were on the way to measure and plant mangroves. When we arrived we were surprised to see an octopus in a mangrove pipe. Taking the octopus out of the pipe was quite a sight and putting it back in the water was even more exciting, as we were able to see the octopus ink. Students then switched from play mode to research mode without even noticing and were able to measure 135 and plant 70 mangroves. We learned how important mangroves are, as they protect the land from the sea, the sea from the land and 80% of the fish we eat spend most of their lives living in them. After a few hours of hard work we sailed to Road Town and enjoyed smoothies, shopping and ice cream on shore. Next, we sailed to Peter Island anxiously waiting for what was going to be a popular event for the day. After working so hard with VISAR (Virgin Island Search and Rescue) yesterday, they trusted us to use our boat and some of the students on it for a training scenario. Cora played the girl who had her hot dog of a finger chopped off in the winch. Ally C played the worried sister and I played the skipper. Ally C and I flagged down the VISAR boat as the team jumped on to help Cora. Cora’s screams and Ally’s cries of worry made the scenario seem real. The VISAR team helped Cora onto the rescue boat and Ally, Cora, the rescue team and I were off driving faster than any of us have ever gone on a dinghy. After the actors in the scenario went, the rest of the boat had their chance of driving in the rescue boat. When everyone had finished their turn, we all sat on the deck and had a Q and A with the rescue team. We talked about the volunteers’ lives and we learned that one of the volunteers was 14 and was the youngest one sitting on the boat. Lifeworks can’t wait to see what adventures come tomorrow and as we approach the end of the trip, we fear to blink for we might miss a moment.

Posted: Tue, Aug 11, 2015

Day 13- Surprise!!

Location: Great Harbor, Peter Island
Author: Cora A.
This morning all the girls woke up on the most comfortable blue lagoon with the smell of blueberry muffins for breakfast. I was especially excited for the day because I was going to be skipper! After a long night for the staff of unclogging the girl’s head (toilet) we all felt bad and wrote them a thank you card with a bunch of hilarious poop jokes. We all finished breakfast and sailed through some rough waters to go help out Virgin Island Search and Rescue with several miscellaneous things they needed help with to get ready for remodeling. Lydia, Rachel and I got lucky working in the air conditioning sorting out the inventory while everyone else had to carry out furniture in the hot sun. When it came to lunch time, I was especially excited to see that we were having my favorite meal of Mac & Cheese and Pringles. After lunch we split up into two different groups to go monitor mangroves and replant them. Then the other group went to dig up dirt from the bottom of the entrance to VISAR to make sure it was deep enough for their boats to get through. All the girls and I went to go monitor the mangroves first, which was a lot more specific than I expected, you have to write down their specific location, height, tag number and anything strange about them. All the mangroves were planted by earlier Lifeworks groups by taking PVC pipes and hammering them into the ground and filling the tube with soil and water to then plant the seed in the tube. After we took a survey of 30% of the mangroves in that section our group went back to switch jobs and dig up soil. This job was surprisingly a blast. After a long day we jumped in the cold water and none of us minded that we were shoveling up mud. My group often got a little distracted though because we were surrounded by all our friends cracking jokes every second, this was definitely the best part of my day. After we were done, we raced back to the boat hearing of some surprise the staff were mumbling about and found out that we were going on shore to take warm showers and get pizza for dinner!!! Everyone was in shock and grateful for the surprise. At the end of the night all 16 of us had no problem scarfing down the 6 boxes of delicious pizza and Gatorade. Today was another amazing day in the BVI and I’m loving every second of it not wanting to leave this beautiful place.

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