Sailing in the British Virgin Islands

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by Gabby Gomez

This summer marked the first time Ansley Lyon, a current senior, had parted from home to delve into unfamiliarity. With ActionQuest, a summer adventure group, she explored the British Virgin Islands (BVI) with eight other students and two staff members, sailing every day–and even some nights–on Sabamba, the group’s sailboat, for three weeks in July.

After hiking rough mountains and doing extensive swim tests through strong currents on the second day, Ansley was uncertain of how the next two weeks of the trip would unfold. However, she now proudly recalls it as one of the best experiences she has ever had and is always quick to share memorable stories and unfortunate mishaps from the trip.

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“On the second day, we were hiking on a super rugged trail with sliding rocks. There was this one rock beneath the dirt that I didn’t see, and I tripped over it. I ended up grabbing a cactus for support, and the spines covered my entire arm,” She reflects now with a laugh, though the present moment had been incredibly painful. “We went back to the boat and pulled them out, but I definitely didn’t have the worst injury story.”

Although the transition from Spartanburg to the BVIs was difficult at first, Ansley adjusted and quickly bonded with the students around her, enjoying shared music, being a chef and making dinners of quesadillas and pasta, visiting the Baths, and running into Tom Hardy, though she adds, “The best part of the trip was scuba diving and swimming through the Rhone, a wrecked ship beneath the crystalline blue waters.”

The summer has now faded into autumn and school has occupied Ansley, but she’s already optimistic to sail again next year. “If you like the ocean, marine life, hiking, or community service, I definitely recommend a trip like this. I met so many cool people I wouldn’t have met otherwise–and it gives me a really great excuse to travel!”

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Photos by Ansley Lyon

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