We are now on St. John, after completing a fantastic time on The Roseway. It is so clearly a transformational experience for our students. Jenna reports “It was life-changing; I learned that I can contribute to being part of a team.” Similarly, Charlie said “It was a once in a lifetime experience; it was different and all-new to me… I realized I have more resilience than I thought, like with losing access to my phone and focusing on food and drinking water.”
The theme of teamwork came up often for our students, and that was one of our 3 core values that they came up with (the others being respect and communication). Nikhil talked about how pulling up the sails were a significant challenge for him, but “the good part is that we were all pulling together.” Adam said “The experience of over time being able to come together as a team, as a crew, was really neat.”
Chores were a regular and ongoing part of their days, which included not only raising and lowering, and furling sails, but also boat checks, swabbing the decks, cleaning the heads (toilets, that is), helping raise and lower the anchor (a very dirty business for whoever went below to deal with the muddy anchor chain), setting up and cleaning up meals, getting up in the middle of the night to do night watch, and generally being ready and willing to jump up and offer help whenever asked. Nick said what he came away with is the realization that in spite of the challenges, “at the end of the day I was able to accomplish everything I was asked to do.” Eventually they did tasks without being asked; they just noticed what needed to be done and asked if they could help. Trust us, they worked very hard; those sails are incredibly huge and heavy. We have minimal ability to download pictures unfortunately, but here are some:
But we also got to do fun activities on board and off, including snorkeling at Norman Island (the basis for Treasure Island), hiking, going out on the bowsprit and climbing up the shrouds up the main mast. Sushila said the mast climb was the most exciting and challenging for her, and noted “the view took your mind from thoughts of fear of heights.” Alyssa also said climbing the mast was one of her favorite parts. When she went out on the bowsprit she actually lost her footing and fell through the netting (she was tied in to a safety harness), but she smiled and said “I was calm and fine and they helped me back up.” Sometimes just getting to know the boat better was fun. Ian was particularly intrigued by the engine room below, and noted that while “it was cramped, it’s a whole other room, almost seemed like a different ship.”
We are now staying at Cinnamon Bay Campground, and found once we got there that the wifi is temporarily out of service while they upgrade. Needless to say, this makes things a tad difficult, especially writing a blog (which I am now doing near a restaurant in Cruz Bay). Consequently, our blogs are going to be few and far between I’m afraid. I am going to have to end this one as it is time to meet the students and head up to a local grocery store to get food for making our own meals at the campground. Also my (Meg’s) phone doesn’t work there, and Sophie’s phone was dropped in the drink when we were getting loaded onto Roseway. Our students have been able to communicate with their parents, luckily, so we will just make do.
We did laundry today then toured at a sugar mill ruins, and tomorrow we hike up into the hills above our campground. It is gorgeous down here, and nice and warm.