Rescue AdventureBritish Virgin Islands
Rescue Diver & Advanced Safety Training
This complete diver safety program leads to certification at the highest non-professional scuba level that PADI offers, and is a prerequisite for those looking to become a Divemaster or Instructor.
We recommend any certified diver advance to at least this level of training, as it prepares you thoroughly to deal with any emergency situation.
Sailing as part of our advanced diving fleet, Rescue shipmates plunge right in with beach and open water modules. You'll become a PADI Oxygen Provider, as well as a EFR First Aid and CPR responder. Additional certifications in Underwater Navigation and Search and Recovery are taught, and depending on your previous experience, upon completion of this program you may qualify for the PADI Master Scuba Diver rating. You'll get a first-hand introduction to the Divemaster course by helping guide the Neptune group through rescue scenarios.
While diving is the main focus of the voyage, navigating the BVI will provide ample opportunity to fine tune your sailing, water skiing and wakeboarding moves as well as explore island towns and hike the mountains.
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!
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...
VISAR Milk & Cookies
Author: Melanie W.
Location: Great Harbor Peter
A late wake up this morning was a great way to start off. Everyone was kind of tired due to our late night of dancing last night. We made our way to GHP (Great Harbor, Peter) which took quite a long time due to absolutely no wind.
Once we reached our destination, we ate lunch and then got ready for our second search and recovery dive. We practiced the expanding square search formation to recover a weight belt and lift it back to the surface using a lift bag. For the rest of the day, we worked on our next knowledge review to continue our rescue diver training. Then we cleaned up our boat because we were having some visitors: VISAR (Virgin Island Search And Rescue). The VISAR team did a small demonstration for an emergency. Justin was the "injured one" and was strapped down for a rescue! Chadd and Alex helped and were able to get the first ride on the awesome rescue boat with 450 horse power engines. Everyone got a chance to go on a ride with the team. It was amazing! "It was like a roller coaster!" exclaimed Bubbles (Becca). After VISAR left, dinner was ready. Mexican Night! Everyone stuffed their faces and were extremely satisfied. After dinner, we watched the Rescue video for our next training session. We ended the day with a glass of fresh milk and delicious cookies left from our VISAR friends. Thank you VISAR!
Alumni Author: Chance S.
Cooking on the boat is a lot different than you might expect; the meals are actually amazing and it's a big learning curve having to prepare food for a starving crew of 16 people, trust me! All the meals are good, like I said, but Mexican Night has to be the greatest meal, unless you're a salty!... don't worry, you'll understand what that is when you get to AQ!
The First Few Days...
It's full on!
And now you know why we're called ActionQuest! It's full on, full-time, and this video is just a glimpse of what we did in only the first few days on the water.
Voyage Blog Entry...
Good News and End of Trip Blues
Author: Chadd P.
Location: Cooper Island
We had a nice little sail to Cooper Island this morning, breaking the previous speed record this session by getting up to 8.8 knots! We did a really calm dive on Blue Chromis and saw lots of fish. Then got to work on our "tummy tans" during the surface interval.
We got back in the water to dive the Kissing Wrecks, but the joy was cut short as we had a scenario right after we surfaced, where Becca pretended to be an unresponsive diver. After getting her stable on board, she panicked and jumped back in, making us have to save her again! After the scenario, we had a very calm downwind sail to Great Harbor Peter and Sam put me and Chance in charge of the boat, so we sailed into the bay and anchored ourselves. Needless to say we were nervous, but no worries, everything went off without a hitch. Now we're just sitting and waiting, paranoid beyond belief, expecting our next scenario. Your friend, your family, your skipper.
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 > >
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 Rescue Diver
The course is designed for anyone who wants to learn how to prevent, and if necessary, manage dive emergencies. The course broadens a diver's awareness and improves their skills and confidence. Most certified PADI Rescue Divers look back on their rescue training as one of the most challenging - sometimes demanding - and therefore most rewarding courses they've taken. The subject is serious, but the training is fun.
PADI Search & Recovery
Everyone has lost something overboard at some point! So whether you are retrieving a bucket or looking for lost "treasure", the PADI Search and Recovery Diver Specialty course will teach you effective ways to find objects underwater and bring them to the surface. Small, large or just awkward, there is a way to bring them up.
PADI Underwater Navigator
Underwater navigation can be challenging, but in the PADI Underwater Navigator Specialty course, you master the challenge. You learn the tools of the trade, including navigation via natural clues and by compass.
PADI Emergency First Response & CPR
Take a step toward emergency preparedness and meet PADI Rescue Diver prerequisites with Emergency First Response. As one of the foremost international CPR and first aid training companies, Emergency First Response gives you the confidence to respond to medical emergencies - not just in the diving world, but in your every day world with your family, friends, neighbors and coworkers too.
PADI Emergency Oxygen Provider
Knowing how and when to use emergency oxygen is a great skill to have and means you're ready to help others should the need arise. Becoming a PADI Emergency Oxygen Provider lets you breathe easy knowing that you can recognize scuba diving illnesses treatable with emergency oxygen, and are prepared to offer aid.
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 Rescue 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 Beata, 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 for our first Rescue presentation: Self Rescue & Diver Stress.
Scrambled eggs start this busy day, then it's straight off to our underwater navigation lesson. Once our review is finished, it's time for our first Underwater Navigation dive. Straight out and back as well as squares and maybe even a triangle, too. Grab a sandwich for lunch and set up your dive gear again, as this afternoon will be the first in-water rescue training. We'll cover tired and panicked diver scenarios as well as how to respond from a boat in this kind of situation. Although you'll be tired, we'll also go wakeboarding before dinner. After dinner we have our second Rescue Presentation on rescue techniques from boat and shore and diver first aid.
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 shoreline 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. Once we arrive we'll grab flotation devices, lines, and boat hooks as we practice our rescue techniques from the boat in our second rescue training session. Time for a quick wakeboard before dinner, and then it's time fo our 3rd Rescue presentation: Search and rescue techniques for missing divers.
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 at Coral Gardens for our underwater navigation dive #2. The surface interval is a perfect time to motor back to Mt. Point, fill the tanks, ski and grab a quick bite to eat. During this afternoon's open water rescue training, we'll learn how to deal with a distressed diver underwater and how to search for a missing diver. In the late afternoon, we'll do some wakeboarding before preparing dinner. After dinner, we'll watch a video on the Search & Recovery specialty.
In the morning, we'll perform our first Search & Recovery dive, using u-patterns and circle searches to scour the ocean floor before bringing up our recovered items with lift bags! After the dive, we head off to Leverick Bay where we'll grab a quick lunch and replenish our fresh food! After a quick motor over to Vixen Point, we have our Emergency First Response first aid and CPR course. It's not a tough course, but it does take a while to get the techniques down. Having passed the short quiz and practical, we have just enough time to get ready before heading to the beach for a BBQ and dance party with Heavy Beatz, the best DJ in the Islands.
After such a fun night, this 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 grab lunch and prepare for our 2nd Search and Recovery dive. After lunch, our second search and recovery dive has us performing expanding square patterns and surfacing more objects with the lift bags. We'll finish the afternoon snorkeling the site where we'll have our first night dive of the trip! After dinner, it's time to hop in! The first night dive is always the most memorable, and you may even be lucky enough to see a sleeping turtle.
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 a quick lunch back on board before motoring back over to Peter Island where we'll get our introduction to the DAN Oxygen Provider course and do some wakeboarding. After dinner, we'll settle in for our 4th Rescue presentation: Surfacing and caring for unresponsive divers.
SLEEP IN! But it's tough when the sun comes up at 5am. Still, who's complaining?! We'll make scrambled eggs and then it's time for a big rescue training day. Rescue training session #4 has us surfacing unresponsive divers and learning how to provide rescue breaths to non-breathing divers at the surface. Grilled cheese lunch gives us a quick break and then it's back into the water to refine our rescue breathing skills, this time with a pocket mask. The late afternoon provides time for some more wakeboarding and water skiing before dinner. After dinner, we'll kick back for a relaxing movie night.
We head for Ginger Island early that morning, and aim for a dive on the Windward side of the island. It's rocky, but the experience is worth it, as the coral and fish diversity on Alice In Wonderland will blow your mind. 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.
This is a day to remember! After filling ourselves up with french toast, we'll head out to the wreck of the Chikuzen. A huge, sunken Korean refrigerator ship that lies 9 miles offshore. Home to thousands of fish, enormous rays and other creatures, you will not forget this dive! After an amazing dive, 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 2nd night dive. After dinner, off you go! Our last night dive of the trip is an amazing one along the beautiful wall in Muskmellon Bay.
In the morning, we'll pick up anchor and head over to Tortola and Somer's beach for our final navigation dive. After lunch, we'll complete the final rescue training session (exiting unresponsive divers from the water) and brush up for our DAN Oxygen provider test tomorrow night. That afternoon, we'll have some relaxing time on the beach. We'll head back to the boat for a quick clean up and then it's back to the beach for a BBQ and some beach games with the whole AQ fleet!
Up and out on the earlier side today for a great downwind sail to Brewers Bay. We'll knock out our third Search & Recovery dive using a team search called the jackstay search pattern, and after lunch, we'll have time for a fun dive on Shark point! You'll need to be on the lookout though; you've now completed all the rescue training sessions, so you never know when your instructors will spring one of the surprise scenarios on you! After the dive, we'll motor over to Cane Garden Bay, and after dinner, it's time for the DAN Oxygen Provider test and practical!
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 desert island, this is it! We'll drop anchor by Little Jost and prepare for our last Search & Recovery dive. This time, it's up to you and your team to develop your own search pattern to recover a missing anchor and bring it back to the boat! After we've finished our dive, it's time for lunch, but we're always at the ready for our next Rescue Scenario! After lunch, we head behind Green Cay to a dive site called the Playgrounds, where we often see turtles, eagle rays, tarpon and many other big pelagic fish. After a great dive at the playgrounds, we'll head ashore to Sandy Spit for some time ashore this deserted island paradise. We'll head back to the boat for dinner and then write up our Emergency Action Plans for the Rescue Course.
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, Black Beard, 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, it's back to Peter Island, where we'll have a quick water skiing session before dinner. Then it's time to study up, as our final Rescue Exam takes place tomorrow night!
Up and out! We'll grab breakfast on the way to Blue Chromis Reef while planning out the profile for our final two search & recovery dives. Once we arrive at the site, we'll jump straight in and get to it. This really is a very special dive site-amazing visibility and incredible coral formations. We'll have a relaxing lunch by Cooper Island, and then hit the water one more time for another fun dive on Blue Chromis reef. Then it's back to Peter Island for dinner and our final Rescue Exam.
We've passed our Rescue Exam, but our final Rescue Scenario awaits! We hit the water in the morning, sorting through simulated panicked and unresponsive divers, showing off our new rescue skills and first aid abilities. After completing our final scenario, we are now certified Rescue Divers! Once we finish our debriefing we head over to Road Town, the capital of Tortola and the BVI. We'll grab lunch and enjoy exploring the town and picking up a few gifts for people at home and then head back to the boat. We'll raise sails for a relaxing reach to Norman Island, racing the other dive boats for position in the anchorage. Once we set our hook for the final time, we'll clean up and start dinner. After dinner, it's time for the Closing program and taking time to reflect on the amazing experience 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, it's time to relax, swap addresses, take photos and get ready for the final BBQ. Our final dinner at Pusser's with a reggae band playing island tunes, is a perfect setting for our last night. A final wrap-up with the entire flotilla takes place on the dock and is followed by the re-telling of the tales and adventures we have all had.
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 you should consider in terms of passports and visas