Location: Savanna Bay, Virgin Gorda
In the morning, we got up and had a hearty breakfast of cereal and milk. Then, we were finally able to take off our arrival wristbands, which was a great relief to many. After we finished that, we began a lesson on plastics. The lesson was wide-ranging, from manufacturing processes to environmental impact – we covered it all. Plastics can be a heavy topic for some people, but we were able to keep it lighthearted at times, too.
We then proceeded to pile in our dinghy (Shadow/Phantom – which the crew has begun to call Phadow) and went to shore. After a brief delay to make sure everyone was onshore, we departed for our first real hike of the trip. We took a brief stop halfway through to admire a salt pond. Salt ponds used to be harvested for salt until their importance as a habitat was discovered. Although some of the salt from a nearby pond was given to the queen of England, it looked quite unappetizing to me.
When we finally arrived at the other side of the island, we were in for a surprise. While the leeward side of the island we had been on was made up of sandy beaches and bays, the windward side of the island was a rocky shore with constant waves. It was also, no surprise, much windier than Savannah Bay, our temporary home on the leeward side of the island. The biggest surprise was the garbage – massive hills of fishing nets above the sea of plastic and trash. Perhaps a slight hyperbole, but it was disheartening to see. We then spread out around the beach and set to work cleaning it. Much to my chagrin, the task proved too much. We could not carry it all back, let alone dispose of it on the boat. We decided to be more strategic with the trash we picked up. We had noticed a lack of red trash on the beach and were told that the reason for that was that sea creatures often mistook it for food. I think that made a lot of us quite sad; needless to say, many of us went on a frantic search for red plastics.
Upon returning to the beach, we got word that we could head to a place called The Baths. It was certainly one of the most unique places I have ever been, but getting there proved a challenge. We needed to keep medical supplies safe, and the responsibility fell on Em and James to get the supplies to shore safely. Due to the swim-only zone surrounding the beach, they were also not able to use the motor. Our trusty Skipper and Mate decided to paddle through the area surrounding the beach to ensure the safety of our supplies. Believe it or not, rowing a dinghy filled with medical gear is not an easy task. It was decided that simply swimming the dinghy was faster. As miserable as that sounds, they must have had some fun because James picked it as the best part of his day.
Eventually, we were on the beach, and we departed in groups. My personal group had a fairly chill time. We hardly got lost at all. We managed to make it to the beach, ominously named Devil’s Bay. That named seemed to be a serious misnomer as the beach was calm and sandy with crystal clear waters. My group had ventured in first, and when we wondered if we had gone too far, we were saved from this worry by the arrival of more of our crew. After a solid half-hour of splashing about, we ventured back through the caverns as a large group. Dara guided us to a large jumping rock on our way back to the beach. The journey to the rock was far off the beaten path and involved some serious exploration to get to. Once at the top, there was little hesitation before leaping into the crystal waters below. We then got back on our dinghy and returned to the boat. We promptly returned to Savannah Bay, set anchor, and had a relaxing dinner and night.
Today was one of the most fun days yet, and we all got to see some new things and have new experiences. Today was pretty great.