BVI Scuba Organisation President Kim Huish and educators from Green VI were busy leading students from Ivan Dawson Primary School as they combed the beach at Cane Garden Bay for trash the morning of Feb. 14, telling them the importance of maintaining the health of the territory’s waters and reefs.
“Everything is so interconnected,” Ms. Huish explained. “You can’t think of anything on the ocean without thinking about everything else.
“When it comes to a beach clean-up, if the trash is not cleaned up, then it affects the corals, and what affects the corals affects the fish.”
Community members have been welcomed to join in diving excursions, beach clean-ups, quiz nights and more, and organisers ended with a bang on Feb. 18.
Wreck Week kicked off with a pirate-themed brunch party at Hendo’s Hideout on Jost Van Dyke on Sunday, and Ms. Huish said organisers appreciate everyone who has come out to enjoy the week so far.
Attendees included international guests, such as United Kingdom-based photojournalists. Ms. Huish said Wreck Week organisers hope the return of the event will be a boon for the VI at global events like the Diving Equipment & Association expo.
“In the past, the BVI has really marketed itself as a location where you come and, maybe, while you’re here, you go for a dive. We want to change that,” she added. “We want to say, ‘Come to the BVI to dive and enjoy the other aspects as well.’”
Marine adventures were planned throughout the week, but there were plenty of land-based activities as well.
During the Feb. 14 clean-up, students joined other community members in picking up trash at Cane Garden Bay.
Ducking under decks, weaving amid beach chairs, and navigating some prickly grasses, the determined crew collected more than a dozen bags filled with trash and recyclable items.
Green VI Outreach Officer Sunita Raghunath said the organisation is glad for the new collaboration with BVI Wreck Week. She noted that the cleanliness of the territory’s beaches and reefs is intertwined with the health of the community, and said that involving young people in the stewardship of the territory’s natural resources is important.
Ms. Huish said BVI Wreck Week organisers are glad to work closely with groups like Green VI to promote the best interests of the territory.
Three main events followed for this year’s celebration.
On Feb. 16, Virgin Gorda’s Bitter End Yacht Club hosted a movie night showing “The Deep.”
Experts from their in-house dive operator Sunchaser Scuba also shared their experiences about diving in the territory in a live-streamed forum.
Beyond the Reef is took the lead on Feb. 17 with an Anegada-based day of activities including flamingo watching, a stop at the conch pile, a beach clean-up, and a visit to Anegada Beach Club. A final end-of-the-week party took place on Feb. 18 at Nanny Cay, starting at 3:30 p.m. at Peg Leg’s beach area.
Offerings included a demonstration of how to safely fillet the invasive lionfish while avoiding its venomous fins; educational presentations on the VI’s oceanic history, Tortola sloops, and Salt Island; and live entertainment from the BVI Heritage Dancers, steel pan bands, moko jumbies, and more.
For more information about the annual event, go to www.bviwreckweek.com.