Barracuda AdventureBritish Virgin Islands
Advanced Scuba With Marine Biology
If you are a certified diver and want to raise your certification level while learning about marine biology, the Barracuda Voyage is for you.
The Junior Advanced students typically sail with the advanced diving fleet and receive a combination of both PADI scuba certifications and tropical marine biology instruction. Not only will you gain additional diving certifications, you will explore fascinating marine life. Fish and sea creature identification, reef ecosystems and fish dissections are only part of this interactive learning adventure.
After refreshing your scuba skills, the real fun begins. Our PADI Staff Instructors take you and your dive buddy - one step at a time - toward your advanced certifications. Your first night dive may seem spooky, but any apprehension will disappear as you scope out the colorful nocturnal world. Seeing the diversity of marine life on dive sites like the wreck of the RMS Rhone, voted the best wreck dive in all of the Caribbean, will blow your mind!
Learning the Ropes - Week 1
We're off the dock!
Week one of our BVI adventure program for teens is all about meeting new people, trying new activities and learning the ropes. Lots of sailing, scuba diving, and water sports dominate the landscape but for our students, it's the teamwork and camaraderie that is the highlight of the experience so far.
Honing New Skills - Week 2
The adventure continues!
Week 2 of our BVI summer adventure experience is all about our students honing their new skills. Dive training is in full gear as our Vega students earn their PADI open water diver certifications and our Advanced diving fleet continue their training during wreck, photography, and underwater research dives, as well as star fish and shark dissections. While our students are learning a ton both above and below the surface, they also seem to be learning quite a bit about themselves.
Certifications & Celebrations - Week 3
The final week!
We wrap up the final week of our BVI teen adventure program with the students putting their newly earned sailing certifications to the test, while still making time for some amazing diving on the famous wreck of the RMS Rhone and a trek to the top of Mt. Sage, the highest point in the BVI. Our students reflect on their experience and the amazing relationships they developed over the past 3 weeks.
This is AQ BVI!
Voyage Blog Entry...
Something Smells Fishy
Author: Lauren S.
Location: Great Harbor Peter
As the sun climbed its way up the sky this morning we woke up to Captain Nick's "brilliant" music on the beach-oooops! I mean boat (the amount of sand on the deck was easily comparable to that of Sandy Spit).
Aftica was one of the first to heave up its anchor and commence another day of adventure. As the sleepy-dust twinkled out from our eyes, we made our way to West End for a quick dock and stock. Pusser's bruch made our tummies content, so we continued our journey with some intense steeldrum dancing and a gusty wind to Blonde Rock. The large swells against the dramatic dark sky caused a stunning sight as we descended. During our awesome sail to Great Harbor Peter, our awesome instructors broke out, showing their immense dancing talents yet again. After mastering the messy eating of Mexican Night, we braced ourselves for the fish dissection! Facinated faces hung around the Mutton Snapper and we learned that the largest organ of a fish is indeed NOT the "lungs!" Now an early night so we can continue living this dream to the fullest!
Alumni Author: Rachael L.
Summertime thanksgiving dinner is the meal I look forward to each trip. I would love if we had it for dinner every night! There are two chefs each day that have the job to cook our meals, but for this dinner, everybody chips in. Even if cooking is something you don't like, when we are all doing it together it turns into a lot of fun! Everybody has their own part in it, for example, making the turkey (which is canned but still tastes just as good as regular turkey to me) or slicing vegetables. Then, after we are finished cooking, all of our shipmates sit around the table to eat! We always have to be careful not to take too much of one thing otherwise there may not be enough for everyone, which is never a good thing!
Turtle in the Mangrove...
Up Close and Personal!...
Our Barracuda students have a close encounter while exploring the mangroves.
The Vixen Point BBQ & Beach Party
Alumni Author: Chance S.
The highlight of my past session has to have been the Vixen Point BBQ and Beach Party. For the first week you've been learning your new skills and growing close to your shipmates and then at the BBQ you finally get to hangout with all of the other crews and see your friends on other boats. Start out by arriving by dinghy getting some good food and as the sun sets the music starts and the party begins. You have never experienced such an amazing party!
Voyage Blog Entry...
The Dog(s) Days of Summer
Today was super fun! We went diving at around 10 am at a place called Joe's Cave. It was gorgeous. Later we went to port at Trellis Bay. They have awesome hammocks and a fantastic sandwich shop.
The food was a bit of a wait, but was definitely worth it. I did get an opportunity to see our fellow shipmate Chang's acting skills when he did an interview. We then went to a Lifeworks meeting and listened to a presentation. It was really emotional and made a lot of people think about not taking others for granted. Everyone left the meeting thinking really deeply on how they treat other people and who is important in their life. It was pretty awesome but we were all super tired when we got back. We all did sleep really well and it didn't rain the whole night.
Just you, your shipmates and the power of the wind. Now, with the breeze in your hair and the helm in your hands, you realize how far you and your teammates have come. No longer passengers, you are crew – shipmates, staff and adventurers united for this awesome voyage...MORE > >
Submerged in a completely different world - a world where 'exotic' doesn't begin to describe what's in front of your eyes, that's AQ scuba. Through crystal blue waters with incredible visibility, you'll come face-to-face with spectacular marine life like hawksbill turtles, queen angelfish and schools of mirror-like silver sides...MORE > >
Basic Marine Biology
What the heck is that? You just asked the most common diving question - and with good reason. Learning about tropical marine biology opens your eyes to the infinite variety of life that resides on the reefs below and being so close to the subject matter instills a profound sense of environmental stewardship...MORE > >
Can't picture yourself actually skiing, wakeboarding and windsurfing? Think again! As you carve through the water, you'll feel the speed, the wind, the exhilaration and the accomplishment of doing something you never thought you could. You'll be grinning for sure...MORE > >
ActionQuest visits some of the most incredible places on earth - the perfect settings for watersports, cultural expeditions, hiking and exploring. The sights you see on an AQ voyage vary according to the destinations you visit, and all are extraordinary.MORE > >
Other Cool Stuff
Think that's all we do at AQ? No way. Along with the beach BBQ's and reggae dance parties in the BVI, you'll learn to drive a dinghy, tie knots, splice a line, sail a laser and even cook for 15 people at a time! While the Galapagos and Ecuador voyages are filled with unpredictable, priceless moments of cultural exchange, service learning, and adventure. You’ll see striking scenery, improve your Spanish, taste new food, and make friends for life as you immerse yourself in an entirely new culture. Every moment of every day will be jam packed with cool stuff to do, see and experience...MORE > >
PADI Adv. Open Water
The PADI Advanced Open Water Diver Course is the next step up from Open Water, and will increase your knowledge and safety while diving in different aquatic environments. Two of the five areas are required topics; the Deep Diving and Underwater Navigation, and we add three more topics such as Night Diving, Wreck Diving, Boat Diving and Underwater Naturalist. Experience real adventure and be one step closer to Master Scuba Diver - the ultimate non-professional certification in recreational diving.
PADI Boat Diver
Whether you've never made a boat dive or you've logged dozens, the PADI Boat Diver Specialty course can benefit almost every diver because different boats in different parts of the world do things differently.
PADI Underwater Naturalist
Look closer to see more on your next dive. Look for symbioses, predator/prey and other relationships between aquatic plant and animal life. Learn not just what fish and animals are, but how they interact with each other and the environment.
PADI Night Diver
As the sun sets, you'll don your dive gear, slip on your scuba mask and introduce yourself to the whole new cast of critters that comes out after the sun goes down. A deep breath and you step off the boat – into the underwater night. Although you've seen this reef many times before, this time you drop into a whole new world and watch it come to life under the glow of your dive light.
VOYAGE ITINERARYPrevious Next
Throw your toothbrush in your bag and head to the airport! You'll start to meet our staff and other shipmates as you connect through St. Thomas on the way to Tortola. As soon as you arrive, it's straight aboard the boat where you'll meet your staff and choose your bunk. After that, change into your swim gear and take your first dip into the warm blue Caribbean water! You'll spend the rest of the afternoon getting to know your shipmates until it's time for all of you to prepare your first dinner aboard! Strangers will become fast friends as you end your first day chatting under the stars on board your new home.
It's up early with the roosters, and after a quick breakfast, we'll start off an action packed day. After swim tests are finished up, everyone will get together on the dock for the big program introduction. Next thing you know, it's time to slip our lines and get our first taste of sailing in paradise. Main from the Jib, Tack from the Clew… as you learn the boat, we'll practice tacking and trimming as we sail to Peter Island. Once we arrive in Peter, it's time for the checkout dive! Do you remember how to do a buddy check? Five point descent? Mask clear and fin pivot? Don't worry, we'll take you back to basics first! After dinner, we'll do a full introduction of the Barracuda program along with a quick tune up of our Scuba knowledge.
Big day of sailing and diving, so it is up early to head east. First stop is Cooper Island. Here, in the cut between Cooper and Salt, is a great dive site called Blue Chromis Reef and you might even catch a glimpse of the wreck of the Beta, too. After a quick lunch, we raise sails once again and tack upwind to Virgin Gorda and the beautiful Savannah Bay. Take a dip, shower off and get ready for dinner. After Dinner we get together with the crews of the other dive boats for the Lifeworks Forum.
Scrambled eggs start this busy day, then it's straight off to learn about underwater navigation. We'll go ashore to practice on land first and before long you'll be navigating the length of the beach using just your compass! Grab a sandwich and set up your dive gear as we need to be at the sand circles by 1:30pm. Once on the site, it's time to practice the Underwater Navigation. Straight out and back as well as squares and maybe even a triangle, too. Once we all make it back, we'll head out for some wakeboarding before dinner. After Dinner we get together for our Night Diving lecture, preparing for our first dive in the dark tomorrow.
The Baths are one of the most beautiful places in the world and we'll get to explore before the crowds arrive. Giant boulders scatter the shore line providing caves and pools of blue water. This is a great place for some rock jumping, too. Ready for a cheese burger? After the Baths we head to Spanish town where Rose at the Bath and Turtle will be ready for you with burgers, dogs and all sorts of other goodies. Feeling full, we'll sail out in the early afternoon to Mountain Point and take a snorkel to view the night dive site before the sun sets. After dinner and a briefing, you'll don your gear and head out for the first of three night dives. The first one is always the most memorable and you may even be lucky enough to see a sleeping turtle.
We start the day motoring over to the Dog Islands having breakfast on the way. Once we're there, we'll tidy up and then jump straight in for a dive on the Chimneys. The hour surface interval is perfect to have a snack and read up on the underwater naturalist guide before heading back in for a second dive on the plane wreck at Coral Gardens. We'll head back to Mountain Point while preparing lunch and aim to get some skiing in before the Underwater Naturalist chat. That leaves just a little more time for skiing and relaxing before dinner. After dinner we break into small groups for our second Lifeworks forum.
We'll move the boat just round the corner to the point for your first underwater naturalist dive in the morning. The visibility here is fantastic, so spotting five new fish, four new invertebrates and 2 new plants should be easy. Then, we're off to Leverick Bay where we'll grab a quick lunch and replenish our fresh food! After a quick motor over to Vixen Point and a Boat Diving lecture, we'll hit the beach for a volleyball competition or, if you would rather go wakeboarding, there is perfectly flat water just around the corner. There's just enough time to get the salt out of your hair before it's back to the beach for a BBQ and dance party with the entire AQ flotilla and Heavy Beatz, the best DJ in the Islands.
After such a fun night, the morning always comes too soon, but we need to be up early for the long downwind sail to Peter Island. Once we arrive, we'll have a quick Deep Diving presentation before lunch. Ready to go deep? This one is a 70-footer, right in the center of Great Harbor. We'll do some skills down there to analyze any possible effects of Nitrogen Narcosis and then round out the afternoon with some more watersport fun. In preparation for our dive on the Rhone, after dinner we all meet up for a chit chat and learn the story of this famous ship wreck!
Today, we motor over to Salt Island where the world famous wreck, the RMS Rhone, lies. Sitting between 30 and 80 feet, she is now home to thousands of fish and other sea creatures. After this fantastic wreck dive, we'll be off to the Leeward side of Salt Island to hike the hills around the salt ponds. We have quick lunch back on board before motoring back over to Peter Island where we'll brush up on our dive table skills for an hour or two before skiing and then snorkeling the second night dive site. After Dinner it's time for your second night dive, but this time you're leading! The instructors will be behind you all the way, but this will sharpen your night dive navigation skills!
SLEEP IN! But it's tough when the sun comes up at 5am. Still, who's complaining?! We'll make scrambled eggs and then go for a shallow water snorkel to collect specimens for a marine bio discussion group. Grilled Cheese for lunch and then we're off to dive with the maine bio students doing their research dive, learning to use transect lines and quadrats. After lunch it's time for a fish dissection so that we can learn more about the anatomy and biology of these marine creatures. After Dinner, it's time for a relaxing Movie night!
We head for Ginger Island early that morning and aim for a dive on the Leeward side. Mario's Wonderland is one of the most amazing sites in the islands and the mushroom coral formations and schooling fish may even take your breath away for real! After the dive we'll head over to Trellis bay to grab lunch, get some fresh food, and call home. It's a quick motor over to Marina Cay after that. This tiny island is quintessentially Caribbean, with lush landscaping and only a couple of pink buildings. After dinner we head to the top of Marina Cay for a Lifeworks Forum with the whole fleet.
After filling ourselves up with French Toast, we'll head to the north side of Tortola, to a beautiful bay that we call Lava Flow. Today is a great day to relax and kick back, hit the beach or do some snorkeling. You've earned a day like this by now! After the lava flow, we head to the beautiful Muskmelon Bay and hop in for a quick snorkel before dinner. This is an important one, as it will prepare you and your buddy for your final night dive. After Dinner it's off you go! Night dive #3 and, when you and your instructor surface, CONGRATULATIONS, you're a certified Night Diver!
After a sleep in, scrambled eggs and a quick ski around the flat, calm bay, we'll raise anchor and head over to Tortola and Somer's beach to learn about the next course on the PADI ladder, Rescue Diver. We have a quick introduction to the Rescue diver course and then after lunch, we grab our mask, fins, and snorkels and head to the beach for some rescue scenarios with the instructors. We'll finish the afternoon with a championship game of Ultimate Frisbee on the white sand beach. We head back to the boat to get ourselves cleaned up, then it's back to the beach for a BBQ with the entire AQ fleet.
Up and out on the earlier side today for a great downwind sail to Brewers Bay. This morning we'll finish off our Underwater Naturalist certification dive before lunch. After lunch it will be your choice between a second dive on the point, snorkeling or skiing around the bay. There may even be time to explore the sandy beach before slipping the mooring and motoring around the corner to Cane Garden Bay. After dinner we'll learn a little more about the underwater world during the fish and creature slide show, then off to bed early as tomorrow is a big day.
Are you ready for the longest day ever? Starting with a hike to the rainforest at the top of Mt. Sage, you'll have earned that Cheese Burger in Paradise once you make it back down. This is the place where Jimmy Buffet wrote those famous words, so enjoy your lunch and then head back to the boat. Once we're all back on board it's off to Sandy Cay for the sandcastle building competition. The whole fleet will be here to compete, so don't forget your shovel and pail. Wash off in the blue waters before we set off once again to Little Harbor on the island of Jost Van Dyke for the evening. This is the best meal ever! BBQ chicken, rice and peas, potato salad and an ice-cold soda... all to the sound of a live reggae band. Sydney's Peace and Love Restaurant really knows how to lay on a party. You'll sleep really well tonight!
A well-deserved sleep in, followed by a slow breakfast as we motor around to one of the most famous islands in all of the Caribbean, Sandy Spit. If you were asked to close your eyes and picture a classic deserted island, this is it! We'll drop anchor and head to the cut between Green Cay and Little Jost. Here, at a dive site called the Playgrounds, we often see turtles, eagle rays, tarpon and many other big pelagic fish. After lunch you'll choose whether to head out for another dive or go to the beach to play Frisbee, weave a palm frond hat or maybe sit back and relax! That evening we'll have our final Lifeworks Forum evening, when we'll chat a little about our goals and aspirations.
Wow! Back to West End, the place where it all started. You've now circumnavigated the whole of the BVI, but, this time, we'll only be staying long enough to fill up with fresh food and water before heading out again for a long upwind sail to Dead Chest Island. Dead Chest is the island where renowned pirate, Blackbeard, marooned 10 of his men with nothing but a cutlass and a bottle of rum. The tale of this incident is well-known to this day, through the words of the song "Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rum." We won't be going ashore, but below lies one of the prettiest dive sites in the islands, Painted Walls. After our dive, we head over to Peter Island for dinner and some study time for the advanced quiz we take tomorrow night!
Up and out to Cooper Island! We'll grab breakfast on the way and get excited for a great day of diving. Once we arrive, we'll first dive the wreck of the Beata, a big inter-island tugboat that was intentionally sank in 2001. We'll grab some lunch and relax while we wait on deck for our minimum surface interval of 2hrs before heading for a dive on the surrounding reef and catching a glimpse of two tiny wrecks touching noses called the Kissing wrecks. This one you are going to love, as it involves beautiful coral reef, and a sting ray cleaning station! This dive is a real highlight! After that it's back to Great Harbor Peter for dinner and quiz night!
Second to last dive this morning on a wreck called the Fearless outside Peter Island and then over to Road Town, the capital of Tortola and the BVI, for lunch. You'll enjoy exploring the town and picking up a few gifts for people at home. We head back to the boat for our final downwind sail to Norman Island, so enjoy yourself as we race the other yachts for position in the anchorage. After dinner we have our closing program and time to reflect on the amazing experience that we have shared.
Off for the final dive of the trip on the Indians. It's a shallow dive, but one of the very best. Once you are back aboard it's go, go, go. We start heading back to West End, but this is a good time to get your bags packed and the boat cleaned. With lines thrown ashore in West End and the yacht shipshape once again, you can relax, swap addresses, take photos and get ready for the final BBQ. After the BBQ we get together on the dock for our last program presentation and then reminisce about the amazing adventures we've all had together.
Up early and head to the airport. Make sure that you remember to pack that towel and bathing suit you hung up to dry last night, then head for home with an address book full of new friends, pocket full of certifications and a bag full of great memories. See you next year!
Having said that, when on program we follow strict guidelines as to when students may use their cell phones. The environment we strive to create aboard relies heavily on each individual remaining focused on the group and our experience. Being tied to the modern world of "instant communications" can, in certain circumstances, be a hindrance to the personal and group processes aboard. We feel that there is ample opportunity to make calls during personal time ashore.
Please be aware that ALL cell phones (this includes iPhones, Blackberries, camera phones etc.) will be collected upon arrival to the program and held in safekeeping. Cell phones will be made available to students at times designated for making phone calls when we are ashore.
We encourage our students to call home when they have the chance, however, we do not require this, as our staff are usually busy with other activities such as stocking the boats with fresh food over this time. The old saying "you can lead a horse to water..." comes to mind, as some shipmates call home every time and some never call! In the BVI, there are ample opportunities, and the phone service is pretty reliable.
FLIGHTS & TRAVEL INFO
To learn about student travel to and from the British Virgin Islands, please click HERE to visit our Student Travel page
Here you'll find:
> Contact details for Leah Hernandez, our student travel coordinator
> Options on how to get to the British Virgin Islands
> Info on how we accommodate early arrivals or late departures
> What it means to be an Unaccompanied Minor
> What you should consider in terms of passports and visas