BVI: Session 1 - Surprise

Posted: Mon, Jun 20, 2016

Day 6- Garden Burger In Paradise

Location: Vixen Point, Gorda Sound
Author: Caleigh S.

Today was such a busy day!! Jordan and Jimmy made great French toast to start our day. Once clean up started it was full gear after that. As soon as we finished, our first dinghy of open water students arrived on our boat. Everyone was eager to help and some of us went separate ways to the beach and other boats. Our boat was impressively chaotic but everyone worked together to keep the fay flowing. A lot of us DMs got a good arm workout unloading and loading empty and full tanks. Everyone had stories about how great it is helping students learn and begin to love scuba diving. Lunch was a great break for everyone to catch our breaths. Not long after we were busy working as a team. The day seemed very long but we all had fun helping out where help was needed. Since our boat had every piece of dive gear for all sail side, we had to do some major boat cleanup. Cha Cha gave us a list to do and one by one we accomplished it all. Dinner was delicious garden burgers and Mike even joined us. Afterwards we conducted a Lifeworks with cards. As most of us have been here for years, it was sentimental to do what weve been doing for the past 4 or 5 years. Mike is so inspirational. He also joined us when we squeezed about first impressions. Today was such a great day being bust and I cant wait to see what tomorrow holds.

Posted: Sat, Jun 18, 2016

Day 4- Surprise, I’m A Mermaid!

Location: Savanna Bay, Virgin Gorda
Author: Kelly L.
This morning my ambitious shipmates and I woke early to motor to the Baths and get a good spot to moor before it got busy. Once we arrived we enjoyed a beautiful morning of rock jumping, climbing, and swimming on the beach. After we motored over to Spanishtown where I discovered the best product ever- a mermaid tail to swim in! Before I could swim in it, Cha Cha asked Emily, Hannah, Jules, and I on a super secret mission. Even though our special task turned out to be snorkeling for a good dive site and not the James Bond scene I had hoped, we had tons of fun and even saw a stingray. When we got back my shipmates and I showered off the boat, and I finally got to don my tail! After splashing around a bit and some wide-eyed stares from unsuspecting passers by, I even let Cha Cha take it for a spin. All in all, it was a great day full of laughs, and all my dreams of being a mermaid came true! Tonight we will get back to business and learn more divemaster skills after dinner and our squeeze.

Posted: Fri, Jun 17, 2016

Day 3- Slightly Surprised…

Location: Savanna Bay, Virgin Gorda
Author: Hugh S.
This morning we awoke in the Bight at Norman Island. Jared and Julianna cooked us a wonderful meal of eggs and muffins for breakfast. Then we all worked on our knowledge reviews for our divemaster certifications. Most of us finished the chapters due that day before we hauled up the anchor and set off for Ginger Island. Mid-sail our instructors surprised us with a stop at the RMS Rhone. Before we jumped in the water we practiced demonstrating setting up gear as we entered the water off the boat. The conditions at the dive site today were sublime! Great visibility and no current! As Jimmy, Emily, Hannah, JJ, Jules and I exited the swim through at the bow we encountered quite a large sea turtle that we followed around for a bit before it disappeared into the abyss. The other dive group encountered a large barracuda at the stern swim through. I surfaced from this dive in a blissful state knowing that that dive was probably one of the better Rhone dives I’ve ever experienced. After sandwiches for lunch and pumping tanks we set sail for Savanna Bay, Virgin Gorda. Everyone enjoyed a relaxing sail listening/singing along to some of the music. After a big of a snafu with our windlass we hopped in the water one more time to practice our diving skills (at demonstration levels) so we can help teach some of the younger students on Vega. After shower time everyone enjoyed some down time as we made Alfredo for dinner. Now we are about to start one of our many dive chats. I’m sure we will all sleep tonight!

Posted: Thu, Jun 16, 2016

Day 2- First Full Day!

Location: The Bight, Norman Island
Author: Connor W.
Today started off with the majority of the boat waking up early. Everyone then regrouped back at the dock to listen to Mike’s pre-trip speech. It was very entertaining to watch a few of the shipmates play “Mike Bingo.” They made a list of words that they knew were going to be said in the speech. They then proceeded to shout bingo! whenever all of the words had been said. The rest of the afternoon consisted of a motor over to the Caves to do our first dive, swim tests, and help the younger shipmates snorkel. Everyone was excited to get back in the rhythm of diving and to just be in the refreshing water. Each of the shipmates passed their swim tests- the Divemaster program can officially start. Tonight we are going to have our first lecture and then we are probably going to head to bed early because everyone seems extremely tired after today.

Posted: Wed, Jun 15, 2016

Staff Update Day 1

Location: West End, Tortola
Author: Simon
Setup is quickly winding down and the crew of ‘Surprise!’ is getting super excited for the arrival of our students. We have 14 Divemaster candidates inbound today and could not be more thrilled! Chance, Katja and I know this will be a great trip. We have 12 returning shipmates and 2 ActionQuest newcomers, which will make for a phenomenal group aboard our catamaran! From dinghy sailing to hiking, and of course a lot of diving, ‘Surprise!’ is ready to make it happen! Stay tuned for more to come from the wonderful crew of ‘Surprise!’the special ops team!
Here is an introduction to the crew of Surprise:
Simon: Skipper/Dive Instructor
Simon was born in Scotland, and since leaving the UK has lived in Honduras, Australia, New Zealand, and elsewhere around, above, and below the Pacific Ocean. His attraction to water is understandable due to his rainy upbringing, and the gravitation to sunny climes is therefore just as predictable. Simon loves traveling and diving and has been fortunate enough to have spent over a decade in a career that allows him to do both. He holds certifications as an RYA/MCA Yachtmaster Offshore 200t, PADI Master Instructor (training dive professionals since 2005), CPR/First Aid Instructor Trainer, Cave and Technical Diver, as well as a bachelors degree from the University of Glasgow in Molecular Biology. Since first joining ActionQuest in the summer of 2013 as a dive instructor, Simon has logged over 25,000 miles at sea and is excited to rejoin the team this year in the additional role of skipper. In the same period he has still managed to run around 2,500 miles (on land) and hopes to complete his first marathon in New York later this year.
Katja: Dive Instructor/Mate
As the daughter of a South African farmer and a German mother, Katja grew up in the idyllic farmlands surrounding Cape Town. Her love for nature emerged at an early age, and she went on to study video journalism with the aim of becoming an environmental journalist. When she enrolled as an ActionQuest shipmate in 2011, Katja discovered her unending fascination with the underwater world. She has since dived in South Africa, the Mediterranean, Honduras and Indonesia and has come full circle by returning to the BVI as a PADI instructor.
Chance: Dive Instructor/Mate
Chance is returning for his second summer as an ActionQuest staff member, where he will be teaching and organizing introductory diving. During the past nine months Chance returned to his sunny home state of Florida to finish his senior year at Rollins College, where he completed his bachelors degree in biology with a focus on infectious diseases. Chance discovered scuba diving at the young age of 10, and the underwater world opened the door to a very adventurous lifestyle and incredibly outgoing personality. Finding ActionQuest by accident turned out to be a stroke of luck, and after participating in multiple sessions in the British Virgin Islands as well as crossing an ocean onboard their college vessel S/Y Argo, Chance is continuing to share his passion for diving and sailing at the program he claims changed his life.

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