Location: Sommer's Beach, Tortola
I woke to the smell of fresh buttermilk pancakes and an angry skipper yelling at younger kids, attempting to wake them. Soon after I rolled out of my surprisingly comfortable hammock, I continued what Elliott had started and disrupted my bunkmate’s sleep with loud songs and annoying chants. Once most people were half awake, we began our usual quiet but satisfying breakfast. It later turned into an eating contest, and most kids started their days with food babies. As the other Lifeworks boat, Rangitoto Too ended their morning meal; they joined us for a quick briefing on a previously learned style of turtle tagging. We all separated into smaller groups onto smaller boats and motored towards close reefs. Each staff member pulled three students along a water-sports rope as the students scanned the ocean for fast-moving black dots. The turtles seemed scarce as we neared our break for lunch, but just as we were about to give up, Beezy spotted a small black dot in the ocean about 40 yards away. I watched as every student made it their mission to grab that single turtle. Suddenly Brandon, a 16-year-old kid from KesKat, yanked up a small but satisfying HawksBill turtle. I laughed because he was the only one around while the others were chasing absolutely nothing. At that point, we were in research mode where no one was allowed to have side conversations or do anything remotely childish. Because all the Lifeworks kids were already so experienced in turtle tagging, Elliott made it a requirement that all the new kids from a different boat had to go through the long process of collecting all the important data that officially made a turtle “tagged.” After about an hour of that, Jamie, one of the other staff members of KesKat, had so graciously created a feast of chicken and cheese quesadillas. Every student had regained their food baby from only two hours before.