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British Virgin Islands - 2018, Session 1

Staff Update Day 1

Location: West End, Tortola

After months of preparation, the time has finally come for the shipmates to arrive. We are so excited to welcome them onboard our boats and begin sharing our love of the ocean with them! The staff has been working hard to ensure all of the equipment has been tested and properly prepped. The fleet of sailboats has been moved from Road Town to our AQ home base in West End. Fuel, water, food, educational materials, and other gear has been loaded onboard.

The vessel named Sans Souci, which roughly translates into no worries, is a beautiful monohull sailboat. She awaits her crew of 12 Vega program students. This means the shipmates will be working towards earning their PADI Open Water Diver certification and IYT International Crew Certificate.

We are looking forward to 21 days of learning, new friendships, and fantastic adventures out there on the waves of the Caribbean Sea!

Here is an introduction to the crew of San Souci:

Gabe- Skipper

Gabe grew up on the swampy shores of the San Francisco Bay. Starting in high school, he joined up with the local sea scouts and learned to sail upon the churning and ferocious waters of Northern California. As soon as he was good and graduated, he jumped on board the Sea|mester vessel S/Y Argo, for a semester-long voyage across the Atlantic. There was no going back after this; Gabe had chosen the life of the sea. In 2014, Gabe graduated from the University of Hawaii at Manoa with a bachelor's in Geography. He has worked as a sailing instructor, tall ship sailor, submarine co-pilot, English teacher in Japan, and researcher for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Most recently, he has spent his days as a dive boat captain and scuba guide out of Honolulu. Gabe holds both US Coast Guard and IYT captain's licenses, a PADI divemaster license, and Emergency First Response instructor license.

Annie- Dive Instructor/Mate

Annie was born and raised in North Carolina, where she visited the beach frequently and developed a great respect for the marine world. When she was fifteen, she attended ActionQuest for the first time and fell head over flippers in love with diving and sailing. At 18, she joined the ranks of PADI as an Open Water SCUBA Instructor and has been teaching ever since. She enjoys working with young divers and believes teaching is the art of assisted self-discovery. Annie is going into her senior year at Northeastern University in Boston where she teaches diving to fellow students and spends as much time as possible on the water with Northeastern’s sailing team. In her spare time, she studies Business and Economics. When it’s extra cold outside Annie can be found snowboarding or making baked mac and cheese. As an avid traveler who’s been to almost all of the continents (Antarctica I’m coming!), the BVI is still a favorite. This summer will be Annie’s fourth summer with AQ.

Elise- Mate/EMT

Elise has always been drawn to the waters and the wild places of the world. From the jungles of India to the magnificent Himalayas of Nepal, to the cerulean waters of the Caribbean, Elise's passion for nature, social justice, and human connections have led her all over the world. After graduating high school, Elise spent a year teaching English and ballet at a nonprofit school in Northeastern India. She is now a student at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, where she is planning to study philosophy and complete the pre-med track. She also works part-time as a certified Emergency Medical Technician on an ambulance in the town of Brunswick. On campus, she is involved in several social and environmental justice groups and hopes to spread messages of love, peace, and respect for the natural world to others. In addition to sailing and diving, Elise loves trekking, traveling, baking, and painting. This is Elise’s second summer working with ActionQuest.