Staff Update Day One
Location: West End, Tortola
Marina, Jess, and Ben here! After a fantastic first session filled with sunshine and fair winds, we are fully prepared for our next adventure. Our dock in West End is once again filled with masts bearing the ActionQuest flag, and the pre-session excitement is building among the staff.
We have spent the last few days preparing our vessel Second Wind and dingy Gus Gus for the arrival of our shipmates, and we can't wait to get underway! The Neptunes who will be joining us will get their advanced open water, and five specialty certifications and the Dolphins will be getting four specialty certifications, including a research diver specialty certification exclusive to Action Quest. This is in addition to sailing over 150 nautical miles around the British Virgin Islands and diving numerous exciting coral reefs and shipwrecks. It's going to be one hell of a trip!
Marina - skipper/dive instructor/Wilderness First Responder
Growing up in Sarasota, FL, Marina's passion for the ocean began at a young age. She joined AQ in 2006 as a shipmate on the Dolphin voyage and continued on completing two Atlantic crossings aboard Argo with Sea|mester. Marina graduated from Florida State University in 2013 with a B.S. in Biology. She holds PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer, AAUS Scientific diver, WFR, and STCW-95 certifications and has interned at Mote Marine and Pritzker Marine Research laboratories. Marina has worked with AQ since 2011 and is now the director of our Marine Science program.
Jess - dive instructor/mate
Jess was born in London, UK, with a love of the sea right from the start. She started diving at 15 and has traveled the world since, teaching SCUBA and conducting marine research. Jess holds a degree in Marine Biology and Coastal Ecology and a Masters's degree in Biodiversity and Conservation. When not working on ActionQuest, Jess is also working towards a Ph.D. in Environmental Management, working with local developing communities in South East Asia to improve the effectiveness of Marine Protected Areas. Jess is a PADI MSDT and HSE Commercial SCUBA diver with experience in designing and running marine monitoring and survey programs and media experience, including working on a BBC documentary.
Ben - dive instructor/mate
Ben grew up in Florida with a passion for all sports in and on the water. By the age of 14, Ben was an avid surfer, jr open water diver, and competed in regattas. In 2005 he traveled Central America were in Honduras, he gained his Dive Instructors rating. Over the past nine years, Ben has traveled around the world to follow his passion for diving. Off the coast, Kauai In 2012, Ben became a US Coast Guard Captain. In 2013 Ben moved to the island of Koh Tao. On Koh Tao, Ben worked as a speedboat captain as well as a dive instructor, hiking guide, cliff jumper, and rock climber. Cool, calm, and collected, Ben loves big waves, storms and can often be seen sporting a contented grin while everyone else is running for cover!