This blog covers everything from the last post to current time, for lack of content.
The mooring field in Francis bay became our official quarantine site. We stayed for weeks, enjoying the company of friends who joined us. Dorothy Rose was the first, a thirteen-year-old boy named Tanner aboard who was the reason for us connecting in the first place. He and I are both introverts, but we managed to find a shared interest in chess. We’ve played many rounds over the last few weeks and I’m happy to report that I’ve never lost, only stalemated.
A second boat joined us; SV Hekla, our friends from our last season. They were originally in Antigua but with the breakout of COVID-19 they were forced to return to a U.S. territory and decided to join us in the USVIs. Three more boys were added to the little kid group that was slowly growing. There are a good number of children, but most of them are between the ages of six and ten, whereas I was on the brink of turning fourteen. For the following weeks I stuck with the boys from Hekla and Tanner.
In the long days that make up our social distancing we started a business. The boys from Hekla (primarily Duncan and Kenneth) decided to find a use for their Brownie Lung, an electric device that would allow them to breathe underwater for a long period of time. They wouldn’t have to carry tanks on their backs and a certification wouldn’t be required. And thus, began the creation of Smooth Bottoms Boat Cleaning.
It is important to note that before SBBC was created, the only boat I’ve ever cleaned was our own and that was only once, so I was the least experienced on our little crew. I tried to make up for it in whatever way I could, especially since I always had to work at the waterline and not do the more taxing work of the hulls and keels. I believe I have but I haven’t asked any of the boys, so I don’t know.
After our jobs we always returned to my boat to hang out. It became a tradition where we’d swim or play games or have dinner, which was hard since each of the boys had a special diet. Tanner from Dorothy Rose is gluten and dairy-free and the boys from Hekla are vegan in the loosest of terms, though they do refuse meat.
I haven’t been able to participate in as many jobs as the Hekla boys (who have done twenty a piece) whereas I’ve only completed five. The reason is primarily that at the time when we had the most jobs, I was trying to finish school for the year. I’d cracked down on my schedule, working from 8:00-2:00 instead of the previous arrangement of 8:00-12:00, and since most of our jobs were around noon I had to skip out. Even with the days I missed, I’ve still been able to rack together over a hundred dollars, plus a little extra from when I did a “camp” for one of the younger kids on Hekla.
The reason for my sudden shift in priorities to finish school was because my birthday was coming closer and I didn’t want to be worried about deadlines. So, on Thursday the 16th of April I completed my 8th grade and was able to have a birthday party that weekend.
It hardly counts as a birthday because I did most of the same things swam, chores, and reading. The only difference was that I got to sleep in, a sign with the word celebrate was hung in the salon, I received presents, and I got to eat some of my favorite foods...primarily candy.
Only two of the three boys from Hekla (Duncan and Tommy) were able to come since the third (Kenneth) had a sore throat and with everything in the world, it was better to be cautious. Tanner came over a little before the others and we enjoyed a game of chess before starting to play games with the others. For a few hours, our main source of entertainment was video games. Sad, I know, but after that slump we discovered a great place to jump off the boat and into the water...the roof. The rooftop was about eight or ten feet off the water and two feet from the side. It was semi-terrifying but we all managed to go at least once or twice. Duncan even managed to dive off.
Our time in the water led us to paddleboard wrestling. We let out a line and our paddleboards were tied to that line. We took turns crawling on top of the boards and facing competitors to see who would be the first to fall off. I surprised myself by not doing awful. I got second place, beaten only by Duncan, who is an avid surfer, so I had no issue losing to him (his balance was amazing).
Eventually the day led us to movies. Somehow (and I am still lost on how it happened) we ended up watching Twilight. You know, the movie about a love triangle between a clumsy girl, a werewolf, and a vampire? Yes, I convinced three boys to watch that movie. “It is so bad it’s funny,” were my exact words, and somehow, we were watching it and Tommy was making comments about watching the next.
Tanner left for his boat shortly after the movie and the two boys from Hekla were invited to sleep over. And so, the next day when I woke up to the sound of kids talking in the kitchen at 7:00 in the morning, I just silently growled before joining them. Reminder, I get up at 7:30 and since I was on my “summer vacation” from finishing school, I should’ve been allowed to sleep in. I was, but no one can account for me being a light sleeper so there is really no one to blame.
After I wished them goodbye, my mom and I went about signing me up for my next courses. It may make me a nerd, but I love school and quarantine is boring. No shops, no hikes, no beaches, no restaurants. So, I gave myself two weeks to recuperate before starting my 9th grade, my freshman year of high school. As of the time I’m writing this blog, my break is over, and I start my class tomorrow.