Location: West End, Tortola

This morning, we awoke naturally to our own clocks as the sun rose, and we remembered our raging dance party from the night before. We taught each other dances, J-rob taught us the line dance steps to Footloose, and we laughed and danced in the fairy lights.

We had a slow cereal breakfast underway, and as we finished, we found ourselves motoring into a beautiful anchorage beneath a beautiful steep peak. This was Spyglass hill, which is named after its history as a lookout for pirates and even the British as they defended their fleet and the islands. We ferried ashore to a little dock in the corner of the anchorage and followed the road as far as we could until we found a tiny trail that cut up the side of the mountain. The trail was overgrown and had not been hiked by GoBeyond for a couple of years, so it was a totally new adventure as we rediscovered Spyglass together. It was a tough climb; cacti, rocks, and steep slopes set us out of breath by the top of it, but upon reaching the peak rock, we were breath taken by the beauty of the islands.

From here, you could see a full 360° view of the British Virgin Islands. We reflected on all the beautiful experiences we had while circumnavigating the islands, which we could now finally see all together in one view. It was heart-wrenching and eye-opening. We reflected on the bittersweet beauty of life and the fleeting nature of every moment. You never know what is coming your way in terms of sorrow and the time we and our loved ones have on this earth — but you also never know the beautiful adventures that are headed your way.

To reflect and compare our answers to the same exercise from the first week, we wrote down three words to describe ourselves and three things that make us happy. We noticed many differences between the first time we wrote these lists on day 3 and writing them now. We have experienced growth and new adventures, and we have a lot to take away with us. On the way up the mountain, we had collected a rock we liked and a rock we didn’t like. We shared with the group one thing we wanted to leave behind on the mountain, and we tossed our unwanted rock away to symbolize this letting go. For the good rock, we named what we wanted to take with us from this figurative and literal mountaintop. We kept these rocks safe and took them home with us to forever remember the growth and experiences we’ve had.

After taking the last moment to take pictures and enjoy the view, we descended towards our boat. We motored back home to West End and did a “boat appreciation” deep clean while underway. Soon we turned the corner into Soper’s Hole, where we began our journey three weeks ago. We took our final ocean showers, followed by lots of funny photos. Then, we divided our GoBeyond flag into 16 pieces, one for everyone on board, and passed them around to sign. We ended the evening with a BBQ picnic on the bow and a final squeeze, where our skipper of the day asked, “what was your favorite part of the trip?” It was a sweet way to reminisce, practice gratitude, and share laughs.

It’s hard to believe that travel day is just a few short hours away. This group of students has been an absolute pleasure, and we’ll miss them so much!

– Em, Dara, and James