Saving the coral

On Saturday, a Beaconite attended a meeting where scientists and a community outreach specialist explained to an attentive crowd their efforts to combat a disease that has devastated a large swath of Caribbean coral. Though there have not been any confirmed cases of the disease in this territory’s waters, it has arrived in the United States Virgin Islands. There, scientists have developed a simple, comprehensive system through which residents can inform researchers of potentially sick corals, which the scientists can then examine and treat if necessary. Though the treatment currently used is not a cure-all, it seems to be quite effective, and studies are being done to devise one that is more permanent. To proactively guard against the disease’s potential damage in this territory, scientists here are trying to duplicate the practice being used in the sister territory. Throughout the meeting, residents asked pointed, intelligent questions and seemed genuinely concerned about how to prevent the disease from spreading. Government officials in attendance seemed to share this sentiment. As leaders on the world stage continue to take insufficient steps to mitigate the increasingly severe threats stemming from climate change, it was heartening to see politicians and other residents react with reason and strategy to a daunting environmental disaster.


Age of Coronavirus

On Sunday, a Beaconite found herself in Trellis Bay, waiting to catch a ferry to Scrub Island for a dive trip. Since she was there early, she decided to walk over to the airport, grab a coffee, use the restroom and get cash from the ATM. While there, she realised that, suddenly surrounded by passengers from dozens of countries, this was her first big test of living in the Age of Coronavirus. Washing her hands for 20 seconds and using a paper towel to avoid touching any surface in the restroom, she felt she did the best she could. Of course, since she is flying to the United States this week, travelling through multiple airports and public places in a country with hundreds of diagnosed cases, the real test is yet to come. She just wishes every store in the VI weren’t already sold out of hand sanitiser.


Surf’s up

A Beaconite recently got her first taste of surfing around the same time that she viewed her first Virgin Islands House of Assembly session, and she can’t help but draw parallels between the two experiences. After the initial wave of information crashed in, there was a scramble to get sorted — but then a sense of accomplishment in finding her footing. However, she believes her efforts to cover government were more fruitful than her current record of 0.2 seconds standing on a surfboard. Despite the serene setting of the sun-bathed beach at Josiahs Bay that afternoon, the Beaconite was very much pushed out of her comfort zone. But the swell was mild and inviting for a beginner. She borrowed a longboard twice her size and, in the company of supportive friends, paddled out among the waves. As a complete novice, she has a few pointers for readers looking to explore the sport. 1) Give yourself plenty of time to simply get comfortable sitting on, lying on and falling off the board. You’re going to fall off many (many, many) times, so don’t sweat it. 2) When paddling, dig as deep in the water as you can reach, cup your hand and pull hard. 3) While ducking under a wave, don’t forget that there’s a large, buoyant board attached to your ankle. The reporter doesn’t want to make a habit of having her leg pulled. 4) When you feel the indescribable rush of all the right elements finally coming together for the wave to catch you, don’t overthink it — let yourself enjoy the ride. The reporter looks forward to chasing that feeling again on future adventures. On a side note, she is encouraged to hear from the speaker of the House that he hopes to make the HOA sessions paperless before the end of the current administration’s approximately four-year term. Besides better facilitating the flow of information, this move would be an excellent sustainability measure that she would applaud.