BVI: Session 1 - Shazam

Posted: Sat, Jun 18, 2016

Day 4 – A Jam Packed Day

Location: Savanna Bay, Virgin Gorda
Author: Tommy S.
Another beautiful day to go down in the books in the BVI’s. We kicked off the day with a yummy breakfast of scrambled eggs and blueberry muffins> after cleaning all the dishes we began shuttling off to our program boats (Rescues went to Catalinaville, Dolphins stayed in Shazam, and Neptunes went to Rangitoto Too) in order to do our navigation dives. All the navigation dives consisted of counting kick cycles and navigating a basic square pattern. After the dive, the dolphin group took a hike to the windward side of the island. Rescue students practiced their in-water towing techniques. Then, we all ate a lunch of tuna salad sandwiches. After lunch, the rescues practiced throwing floatation devices at our “tired” divers. After rescue finished, we all met up on Shazam again. Marina took a few of us to wakeboard before dinner. We finally ate our delicious dinner of chili and rice on Shazam. We all finished off our big day with dive meetings. It was definitely a fun day! Shazam!

Posted: Fri, Jun 17, 2016

Day 3 – Getting Into The Swing Of Things

Location: Savanna Bay, Virgin Gorda
Author: Sky Y.
Today, I think everybody started hitting their strides, getting more comfortable and settling more into both the rhythm of the ocean and of ActionQuest. After we woke up and ate breakfast, we barely had a moment to breathe before setting off to Cooper Island. Yesterday, I think we were all a bit overwhelmed and excited by all of the information and new tasks thrown our way. In all the nervousness, excitement and change, it gets a little hard to truly look beyond oneself and really appreciate everything around us and everything before us. As the sun reflected of the polished glass- like water of the Sir Francis Drake channel, as the cool morning breeze rustled our hair, as the Ocean rocked us to a lullaby of its own making, I dont think that there was a single person aboard who didn’t have at least one moment of overwhelming wonder, gratefulness, and unbridled joy. It was truly beautiful. Once we got to our destination, we immediately started getting ready for our dive, the Blue Chromis Reef. One of the many things that makes scuba diving so special is that you can try to explain to the others what youve seen or felt, but at the end of the day, words will never be able to truly express what it’s like. It was beyond gorgeous and relaxing. It was a mellow, fun dive, perfect for getting us fully back into the swing of things. We set our sails again, just in time to watch the sun disappear out of sight. We also grew closer in our interactions as shipmates. We’ve finally gotten into our routine and the people around us. I cannot imagine a better day. (Shazam!)

Posted: Thu, Jun 16, 2016

Day 2 – First Full Day On Board

Location: White Bay, Peter Island
Author: Soleh A.
I don’t think any of us will ever forget this first full day aboard the boat, full with sailing and our first dive of the trip. We started off our day waking up for the first time to the sound of roosters and the early morning sunlight. We rolled out of our sleeping spots, for some hammocks, and for others, various other places outside. At 8, we all went to listen to Mike talk about different issues onboard while the hot sun was on our backs. We then were the first boat to leave the harbor! Although we had some difficulty, we finally managed to raise the main sail and do our first sail on Shazam! After sailing for a while, we anchored in White Bay on Peter Island, got our diving gear ready, and jumped into the water for the swim test which consisted of 6 laps around Shazam and 10 minutes of treading water. We then split into groups for our first dive! During the dive, we practiced different skills like regulator removal and recovery and fin pivot. Although the bottom was mostly sand and algae, we had seen 3 sea turtles before the dive, and I’m sure none of us will ever forget this dive. We then disassembled our dive gear, showered, and sat down for a dinner of Sloppy Joe’s, corn, veggies, and mashed potatoes. Right now, we’re watching the sunset and waiting to join the other groups aboard Great White. We’re all very excited to keep sailing and diving together for the next few weeks! Shazam!!

Posted: Wed, Jun 15, 2016

Staff Update Day 1

Location: West End, Tortola
Author: Oscar
We are so excited to finally begin this summer’s first session. Marina, Pip and I have been in West End (our base of operations) for the past week endlessly preparing for our students’ arrival. We have filled our scuba tanks, prepped the dive gear and swabbed the decks to ensure that this summer will be the best experience of all of our lives. The weather has been incredible, the winds have been nothing less than perfect, and the “Shazam team is ready and rearing to go!
Here is an introduction to the crew of Shazam:
Marina: Skipper/WFR/Dive Instructor
Marina was born and raised in Sarasota, Florida and was previously a student at both ActionQuest and Sea|mester. Marina joined the ActionQuest team in 2011 as a dive instructor and scientist and has been with us every summer since. She studied biology at Florida State University while teaching diving in Florida’s freshwater springs and teaching sailing for the university team. After graduating from FSU, Marina spent a year working as the research manager for an NGO in Cambodia before joining the Sea|mester team in the fall of 2014. Marina has recently finished her MSc in biodiversity and conservation at the University of Southampton in the UK before returning to the sunnier lands of ActionQuest and Sea|mester.
Pippa: Dive Instructor/Mate
Pip is a marine biology and oceanography BSc graduate of Newcastle University, UK, who discovered ActionQuest as a shipmate back in 2010 aboard the Dolphin voyage. She is an avid scuba diver who was first certified at age 10 and is now a Master Scuba Diver Trainer with teaching experience in the BVI, Madagascar, Indonesia, and Mauritius. Pip also has a keen interest in marine conservation. She has been involved in Bio Rock coral reef restoration projects in the Gili Islands and the implementation of aquaculture, farming seaweed, and sea cucumbers across the poverty stricken villages in the Bay of Ranboe, Madagascar. After spending the summer at ActionQuest she hopes to combine her love for the ocean and hobbies of photography and film by studying a Masters in Wildlife Film Production back in the UK.
Oscar: Dive Instructor/Mate
Oscar began as an ActionQuest shipmate in 2010 on the Vega program, and has participated in seven sessions since then as a student. Since his very first session with ActionQuest, he has sailed from Bermuda to Rome, dove in Thailand, and explored the ruins of Angkor Watt in Cambodia. He fell in love with diving and continued his passion to become a Divemaster in 2015, then later a Dive Instructor. Oscar is from Atlanta, Georgia, but is currently a student at Kenyon College in Ohio, majoring in Chinese language, French language, and studio art focusing on sculpture and film. His favorite animals are tigers and jellyfish, and he loves spicy food.

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