Location: Great Harbor Peter, Peter Island
I woke up to the constant beeping of my watch: 7 am. Our staff told me the day before that it was going to be an early wake-up call. We scrambled out of hammocks, beds, and the blue lagoon, and rushed on deck to put on our PFD’s. Once we were ready, we lifted the anchor out of Great Harbor Peter and motored over to Road Town. It was a quick journey, only about 30 minutes. Once we arrived, we hopped into the dinghy and sped over to the headquarters of VISAR, the Virgin Islands Search and Rescue. They are a volunteer group of people who train to become first responders and medics, and once they complete the training, they become on-call for emergencies. They respond to all sorts of incidents, ranging from snorkeling or scuba diving accidents to boat crashes and injuries. We did a lot of maintenance around their headquarters, such as painting a huge storage container a bright orange and weeding their driveway. After that, we went over to Slaney Point to plant and monitor mangroves. We learned about the amazing protection that mangroves provide for the roads and land near the sea. Torin showed us the difference between protected land and non-protected. The protected land was intact, while the area without mangroves was starting to crumble. We added more mangroves to the coastline, and repaired and counted the mangroves that Lifeworks had planted in previous years.
We wrapped up with Road Town and motored back to Great Harbor Peter. On the way there, Elliot gathered us up to the bow of our boat. He excitedly informed us that we were going to get to participate in a VISAR practice run. The plan was to have two victims, one with a broken femur, and one with a broken spine. Daniel and Rachel readily volunteered to be those victims, while Charlotte was given the role of a crazed, worried bystander. We all got into our places and waited for VISAR to come “rescue” us. They showed up within 10minutes and quickly started to diagnose the situation, then put Rachel’s leg into an inflatable cast. Daniel’s dilemma was a bit more complicated. He was inside of a cabin, so the only way to get him out was to attach him to a halyard. A halyard is a line that raises the sails, or in our case, lifting Daniel outside of the cabin. He was strapped to special padding that would restrict movement. After both “victims” were on stretchers, they were put onto VISAR’s powerboat, along with the rest of Lifeworks to go for a ride. The boat zoomed in and out of Great Harbor Peter and dropped all of the shipmates back onto Grins. We were fortunate enough to have a “Q & A” with the crew of VISAR. We learned about their training, what VISAR can be used for, and how to contact their services. After they left, we got to jump into the sea and shower off. Tonight we started our Program Reflections, where we write about what we did and how it helped the community.