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British Virgin Islands - 2015, Session 1

Staff Update Day 1

Location: West End, Tortola

It was a different sensation leading into ActionQuest 2015 for me personally, having sailed into the BVI on Seamester vessel Argo. There is something about flying that just creates excitement and a buzz when arriving on the islands that I know all of our Bella Vitans are feeling. It's awesome to have Divemaster students on board having begun diving myself this past year, and I'm super looking forward to sharing my sailing knowledge with our advanced sailing students.
A HUGE shout out has to go to Ivan and Shona on board La Bella Vita also. As both new ActionQuest staff members in 2015, they have been absorbed into our community and brought fantastic skills, expertise, and attitudes to the staff group for this summer. It's been super hard work preparing, and Bella was only given to us from Sunsail with less than 24 hours before our first students arrived! But in typical ActionQuest fashion, our dedication will always endure, and we will once again have the summer of a lifetime with students both new and old.
Here's an introduction to the crew of La Bella Vita:
Martin- skipper
Martin, more commonly know as Smudge to friends and colleagues, became an RYA/MCA Yachtmaster (offshore) while also graduating as a Master of Science in Sports Coaching back home in the UK. Formerly a British Army mechanic and university lecturer, Smudge coaches and plays rugby union when he's not on the water. Adventures with have seen Smudge act as Second Mate from London, England to St. Petersburg, Russia onboard a Clipper 60 round the world racing yacht. Summer camp experience comes from two seasons with Camp Winaukee in New Hampshire and one season with over 60 different nationalities at Millfield English Language School. Completely sporting mad, he also teaches himself to surf and plays golf in his spare time. This is Smudge's second season with AQ, and previous experience in the BVI's comes from participating in a British Army race crew at the 2009 Spring Regatta. This spring, Smudge sailed Seamester vessel Argo from Cape Town, South Africa to Antigua in the Caribbean, fulfilling the roles of First Mate, Engineer, and Sailing instructor, whilst also achieving his Advanced Open Water PADI diving certificate.
Shona- dive instructor/mate
Shona is from Ireland and grew up sailing on the west coast of Ireland. She is looking forward to sailing in the warmer waters of the Caribbean this summer. In 2013 she graduated with a degree in Outdoor Education & Geography from Galway, Mayo Institute of Technology. While finishing her degree, she also acquired her day skipper and dinghy instructorships. She has always had a great love of the outdoors, especially water sports, and is delighted to have found a career that allows her to embrace her passions.
Ivan- dive instructor/mate
Born and raised in Cancun, Mexico, Ivan has always been in contact with the ocean. Scuba diving being the family business, he grew up around scuba tanks and dive instructors and took his first breaths underwater at age 8. He came to ActionQuest in the summer of 2011 to expand his knowledge of sailing and diving and returned to become a Divemaster in 2013 and became an instructor later that year. Ivan is currently an exchange student at Boston University and is on his way to a degree in international business. He hopes to continue his diving and sailing career in the future and strives to share with his students the great experiences he had at ActionQuest as a teenager.