Location: Cane Garden Bay, Tortola
Chilltown Another day aboard Grins! The bright BVI sun woke me up early this morning as if it knew that I was Skipper for the day I was in charge of waking up my fellow shipmates at 7 am. Some were easier to wake than others. I was very excited to kick the day off because we were going to have oatmeal! One of my favorite breakfast meals. The beautiful early morning sky over Sommers Beach, where we had anchored for the night, proved a perfect backdrop for a delicious breakfast. Once everyone was up and at least mostly awake, we were ready to set sail to Brewers Bay for another day of “Turtling.” As a skipper, another one of the jobs is to steer the vessel. I was very reluctant to be put in charge of steering such a large ship with so many people aboard. Sure the staff is there to help you out, but it is still intimidating, especially to someone with virtually no sailing experience. The first few minutes were a bit rough due to the direction of the wind but once I was shown all the dials and what they meant as well as which direction would do what, I was ready to try to steer Grins. It felt more natural than I thought it would. It was almost relaxing — just wind and water. There is something extremely powerful about man against the elements and the image of the sails coming up and the wind propelling the ship will stay with me. I believe the ocean to be both fascinating and terrifying, and today more than any other, it just seemed powerful. It was also awesome watching Torin, Anna, and Matt work the sails. It got me thinking about long ago when sailors didn’t have all of the fancy equipment we do now and how difficult it must have been to get anywhere.
Moreover, it heightened my appreciation for those sailors and made me want to research more about them and sailing as a whole. Also, how interesting it must have been to those who discovered the British Virgin Islands so long ago. Today may have inspired a new hobby. We arrived at Brewers Bay around 10 am and got ready to find some turtles to tag. I hopped in a tiny dinghy with Colby, Katrina, and Kathleen along with Elliott and Claire to supervise. Colby and I had previously been in the same turtling group twice before and had no luck catching one. We were hoping to find and catch one this time.
Before diving in, Elliott had us visualize catching the turtle and as silly as it may have seemed at the time, it must have worked as within five minutes, Colby and Kathleen had spotted a turtle and were swimming towards it. It took me a minute to realize what was going on, but I caught on and swam in their direction. I cannot recall ever before seeing a wild turtle gliding through the water, and that is another image from today that I do not think I will soon forget. Colby caught the Hawksbill turtle, which she promptly named Jose, and we brought him back to Grins to take the measurements and tag him. It was very special being able to touch a wild and gorgeous animal and I was even able to help take some of the measurements and pictures that will be sent to the Department of Conservation and Fisheries to eventually help out scientists learn more about the growth and migration patterns of turtles. It is such a cool feeling knowing that you can contribute to something so much bigger than yourself. After releasing Jose and tagging a few other turtles that were caught today, we enjoyed lunch and set off to King Garden Bay, our final spot for the day and where we would spend the night. Once there, we had plenty of time to relax and hang out. A favorite activity is making bracelets, and we sure shared a bunch of laughs. Dinner was a Thai chicken peanut dish with rice, and afterward, a few of us had hot chocolate and tea. Overall today was very nice but a bit slower pace compared to others. It was well deserved though, and now it is super important to get a good night’s sleep as tomorrow is sure to require high energy as we are working with some youth camps. Love you, Mom and Dad!