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British Virgin Islands - 2012, Session 3

Staff Update Day 1

Location: West End, Tortola

The staff of Blue Venture has been busy the last three days in between sessions, making her look as shiny and white as she did at the start of the summer. Along with cleaning, Matt, Tina, Nikki, and I have been busy sorting through all sorts of goodies for the boat. Dive gear and training materials have been loaded for all our new shipmates. Camera gear and marine biology materials are sorted for the Dolphin program. Our beautiful dinghy, Aggressive, is well stocked with ski gear and, of course, all the safety gear like PFDs! Along with our program materials, we just finished filling the fridge with delicious food soon to fill our bellies. There is fresh fruit, ground beef, lots of bread, and canned foods to last the trip! And don't forget about the brownie and cookie mix to make the favorite AQ dessert- brownookies! With the boat all sorted, we are ready for the best session yet to close out the summer, and cannot wait to greet our shipmates as they arrive!

Here is an introduction to the crew of Blue Venture:

Matt- skipper/dive instructor

After graduating from high school in eastern North Carolina, Matt's passion for science and the marine environment culminated in him receiving a research grant from NC State University. He continued his studies at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and holds a combined degree in Marine Biology and Marine Technology. While at university, Matt became a PADI dive instructor and the Assistant Dive Safety Officer at the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher. After graduating, he began traveling, teaching and sailing throughout the Caribbean. Matt joined ActionQuest in 2010 as a Marine Biology and Scuba instructor and now works full-time with both ActionQuest and Sea|mester.

Bryant- dive instructor/mate

Bryant is a native of Sarasota, Florida, and was first certified in diving at age 14. While attending The New College of Florida, he became a PADI Divemaster, then Instructor, and obtained a 50 Ton Master Captain's License. He has worked as a captain and dive professional in Florida since 2008. During school Bryant also interned with the Mote Marine Laboratory Center for Shark Research and was involved in captive and field studies of Florida's coastal shark species. He graduated in May of 2011 with an honors degree in Environmental Science with a focus on the marine environment. Since graduating Bryant has traveled around the world, spending time in Australia and Southern Africa working as a dive instructor and volunteering as a field biologist.

Tina- dive instructor/mate

After spending several months abroad with ActionQuest's Sea|Mester in 2008, Tina became absorbed with the marine world. She graduated from Bard College with a BA in Environmental Studies in 2010, after which she turned her attention to scuba diving. Tina has worked as a Divemaster and Instructor in Central America, Europe, and the US. She holds qualifications such as PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer, Emergency First Response Instructor (including Care for Children), and nine specialty instructor ratings. She is also an avid underwater photographer. When not underwater, Tina can be found playing her viola, studying towards a Master's in Secondary Science Education, and planning her next dive.

Nikki- dive instructor/mate

Growing up in California, Georgia, and Oregon, Nikki spent most of her time in the water and outdoors. Her love of animals and the ocean fueled her interest in scuba diving. She recently graduated from Oregon State University with degrees in Zoology and Communications. While attending OSU Nikki became a PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer and assisted with the OSU scuba program.