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British Virgin Islands - 2016, Session 1

Staff Update Day 1

Location: West End, Tortola

We are so excited to finally begin this summer's first session. Marina, Pip and I have been in West End (our base of operations) for the past week endlessly preparing for our students' arrival. We have filled our scuba tanks, prepped the dive gear and swabbed the decks to ensure that this summer will be the best experience of all of our lives. The weather has been incredible, the winds have been nothing less than perfect, and the "Shazam” team is ready and rearing to go!
Here is an introduction to the crew of Shazam:
Marina: Skipper/WFR/Dive Instructor
Marina was born and raised in Sarasota, Florida and was previously a student at both ActionQuest and Sea|mester. Marina joined the ActionQuest team in 2011 as a dive instructor and scientist and has been with us every summer since. She studied biology at Florida State University while teaching diving in Florida's freshwater springs and teaching sailing for the university team. After graduating from FSU, Marina spent a year working as the research manager for an NGO in Cambodia before joining the Sea|mester team in the fall of 2014. Marina has recently finished her MSc in biodiversity and conservation at the University of Southampton in the UK before returning to the sunnier lands of ActionQuest and Sea|mester.
Pippa: Dive Instructor/Mate
Pip is a marine biology and oceanography BSc graduate of Newcastle University, UK, who discovered ActionQuest as a shipmate back in 2010 aboard the Dolphin voyage. She is an avid scuba diver who was first certified at age 10 and is now a Master Scuba Diver Trainer with teaching experience in the BVI, Madagascar, Indonesia, and Mauritius. Pip also has a keen interest in marine conservation. She has been involved in Bio Rock coral reef restoration projects in the Gili Islands and the implementation of aquaculture, farming seaweed, and sea cucumbers across the poverty stricken villages in the Bay of Ranboe, Madagascar. After spending the summer at ActionQuest she hopes to combine her love for the ocean and hobbies of photography and film by studying a Masters in Wildlife Film Production back in the UK.
Oscar: Dive Instructor/Mate
Oscar began as an ActionQuest shipmate in 2010 on the Vega program, and has participated in seven sessions since then as a student. Since his very first session with ActionQuest, he has sailed from Bermuda to Rome, dove in Thailand, and explored the ruins of Angkor Watt in Cambodia. He fell in love with diving and continued his passion to become a Divemaster in 2015, then later a Dive Instructor. Oscar is from Atlanta, Georgia, but is currently a student at Kenyon College in Ohio, majoring in Chinese language, French language, and studio art focusing on sculpture and film. His favorite animals are tigers and jellyfish, and he loves spicy food.