BVI: Session 2 - Therapy
Posted: Mon, Jul 28, 2014
Staff Update Day 20: Three Phenomenal Weeks
Location: West End, Tortola
It’s surreal to think that, just three weeks ago, we were uniting on deck as a crew for the very first time. Time moves in strange ways at Action Quest: while in some ways it feels as though time has flown, I can’t help but feel as though I’ve known my shipmates and fellow staff for far longer than the 21 days that we’ve spent together so far. We’ve had some incredible adventures — diving with sharks, rays and mantas, sailing through squalls, climbing mountains — and so many fun times. Whether we were dance party-ing, jumping into impromptu drum circles or sharing life stories on the bow, we’ve been having an incredible time and learning loads along the way.
I’m so proud of my Dolphins and all of the hard work they’ve put in. Throughout the program they’ve earned their night, digital underwater photography, research diver and naturalist specialty certifications. They recently completed their science research projects as well, presenting their findings to the whole Dolphin program. Sam, Max, and Aria researched the inhabitants of conch shells, attempting to determine whether there was a relationship between inhabitant type, depth and substrate composition. Nick, Marcelle and Hannah compared nitrite and phosphate levels in harbors and ports in an attempt to determine which location was more suitable for coral growth.
Cat’s Neptune’s have been hard at work as well, putting in a lot of time underwater while finishing up AQ’s most dive-intensive program. Throughout the past three weeks, Maddie, Lucas, Cole, Alan, Chloe and Natalie have attained not only their Advanced Open Water certification, but also their night, wreck, boat, fish identification and equipment specialty certifications. It has been a pleasure to watch all of them grow and improve as divers.
In or out of the water, our shipmates have stepped up to the plate as one of the most cohesive teams that I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with. Maddie keeps us smiling with her bubbly, joyful attitude, acting as counterpoint to Lucas’ lighthearted jokes and easy sense of humor. Once they get Alan laughing, the rest of us are sure to follow: Alan’s laugh (and sick dance moves) can keep us in stitches for hours. Marcelle is wonderfully and unabashedly goofy, sharing herself and her laughter with the crew and motivating others to open up and do the same. Chloe is right there with her at the center of the fun, inventing schemes and activities for the crew to do together while Aria acts as the voice of reason, keeping things in order and making sure the practical jobs are taken care of before the goofing off starts to happen. Sam, the flo-mingo, is one of our boat’s greatest motivators, always up for an awesome time and inspiring the rest of the crew and staff to jump in right alongside him. Natalie, however, hardly needs any motivating at all: she’s always the first one up and at the ready whether it’s for a dance-off, dive or dish cleaning. Hannah, too, is always at the ready both underwater and at the helm as our #1 coxswain. Nick, in the mean time, can be found turning his detail-oriented focus to finding awesome and unique creatures underwater. Max has excelled underwater, for which I’m very proud: as his open water instructor I’ve seen him grow from a first-time diver into a confident and competent underwater explorer. Last but certainly not least Cole has shared his genuine love and appreciation with the rest of us, helping to put the amazing experience we’ve had in perspective with his wise words and well-considered ideas.
It’s most assuredly going to be difficult to say goodbye to this crew on the ferry dock tomorrow. Never have I had a group of shipmates so dedicated to sharing and expressing their truest selves with both students and staff alike; this group is one of the kindest, wisest and most accepting that I’ve ever had the pleasure to live and work with. Thank you parents for giving us the opportunity to get to know the fun-loving sailors, deep sea scuba divers and amazing human beings you sent down our way 21 days ago. As for the team (hey, hey team) — always remember: 1. we’re Therapy; 2. a little bit louder; 3. I still can’t hear you; 4. more, more more . . .
Posted: Sun, Jul 27, 2014
Day 19: Race Day!
Location: The Bight, Norman Island
SNAP! I woke up to the sound of one of my hammock’s string’s snapping. I didn’t fall far — only a foot or so to the salon table — and it was all made better by the fact that, when I went inside to grab some cereal for breakfast, I discovered two more bags of frosted flakes that we hadn’t realized were there. After breakfast we made our way to the port of Road Town. Nick, Alan and I went to the Chinese food place which was great. After that we were off to the grocery store to buy the essentials for the last days — Jiffy Puff, Oreos and Kool-Aid. Once we made it back to our boat we all knew it meant game-time! It was race day! As our boats began to line up for the start we blasted Eye of the Tiger and let the taunting fly. After a long race and every effort put forth, we ended with a satisfactory second place, second only to Mary Morgan, the rescue boat. After that long sail, who wouldn’t go for some cheddar broccoli pasta? All in all, today was a great and memorable day just like the rest . . . and it’s only going to get better if the smell of brownies in the oven is anything to go by!
Posted: Sat, Jul 26, 2014
Day 18: Wreck Alley
Location: Great Harbor, Peter Island
My eyes fluttered open softly as the Caribbean breeze blew between my eyelashes. I woke up to a breakfast of cereal. After breakfast we set sail for Cooper Island, where we were going to dive Wreck Alley — the Dolphins had two fun dives, the Neptune’s had their last training dives for their Wreck Diver certifications. We descended off the mooring until we saw the Kissing Wrecks, which are two little wrecks that sank touching one another. After a chicken salad lunch we went diving on the wrecks a second time, since there are four of them and it’s hard to see all of them in a single dive. Later we motored to GHP while refilling all of our tanks and hanging out on the bow. We took showers and had breakfast-for-dinner, then the Dolphins got ready to present their research projects to the rest of the group while the Neptunes started studying for their final exam. The presentations were great and everyone passed their exams! Afterwards we returned to the boat where we’re all sitting in the salon chatting and laughing. It has been another awesome day!
Posted: Fri, Jul 25, 2014
Day 17: The Fearless
Location: Great Harbor, Peter Island
Today started with oatmeal and real showers while under way to West End in Tortola. Then we all went for lunch and walked around the beautiful port. After our time ashore we set sail to dive the Fearless, a beautiful wreck with tons of life. Among the fish were large hogfish and giant schools of horseye jack. Inside the port holes were entirely different types of fish than on the outside. Despite the immense decay of the vessel, the corals and sea fans spanned numerously across the boat. After the gorgeous self-led dive we returned to our boat for free time. After showers we sat down to Mexican food and study time after dinner.
Posted: Thu, Jul 24, 2014
Day 16: The Playgrounds
Location: Sandy Spit, Green Cay
I rose this morning to a cornucopia of noises and a creature with cornrows (aka Sam) jumping on our bed to wake us up. Our day began with a motor around the point to Sandy Spit while we had breakfast. Once we were done with cleanup and ready to go, we set up our dive gear and hopped in Phantom, our faithful steed. We took Phantom out to Second Wind which was moored on a dive site called the Playgrounds. Neptunes and Dolphins both fun dove with Cat and Tina, journeying around the point and into blue water where we hoped to see some of the great creatures of the deep. The way out was sadly uneventful but then! As soon as we turned around, we saw a nurse shark swimming past us. Then, above our heads, a flash in the distance — a manta ray! As we gazed at the graceful creature gliding through the water, we saw something else moving to our left and realized that an eagle ray had come to join the manta on its swim. We all shouted and high-fived under water, celebrating our luck. After making our way back to the mooring line we surfaced and headed back to the boat for a delicious lunch of Ramen noodles, during which we got to watch the rescue boat participate in their first rescue scenario. In the afternoon the Dolphins spent some time working on their research projects while the Neptunes went to ta picturesque little beach called Sandy Spit. We then showered and cooked up some franks and beans for dinner. Now we’re headed to Mary Morgan for a Lifeworks talk on future goals. All in all, it has been an awesome day.