Location: West End, Tortola
It’s hard to believe that 20 days have come and gone. Just three short weeks ago, Chance, Marina, and I were eager to meet our shipmates and ready to begin this adventure. And what an adventure this has been! Every expectation we set for our crew, this session was met, and every single day, we were blown away by their skills, maturity, and ability to handle any situation thrown at them. Every shipmate on board has improved not only as a diver but as a student. Our 8 Neptunes are now advanced divers, and they have five specialties under their belt! Our 3 Dolphins blew us out of the water with their research project on the health of coral reefs in proportion to pairs of butterflyfish. Whether it was singing Taylor Swift during cleanup or working on the knowledge reviews during sails, there was never a dull moment on Surprise. Ethan was always offering a helping hand, from anchoring to helping deckie during the cleanup, he never said no when he was asked for help. Mara kept us looking fashionable the whole trip, providing everyone on board with flash tattoos (which made for a hilarious night). Natalie was our designated pointer whenever we were anchoring or mooring; she always gave us such precise distances and interesting units of measurements (1200 starfish away!). Pablo kept us well fed with his cooking skills and his ability to flavor any meal we were having. Cal entertained everyone with his, “what are the odds questions,” that he somehow always won, and his games underwater during the safety stop. Gabi and Faith were the dynamic duo. They finished their dolphin project four days early and were both so eager to learn more about the ocean every day. Jack was the most chill diver and kept the boat calm whenever chaos would come our way. Bernie’s hilarious comments on our daily activities kept the boat laughing through the not so fun stuff (like clean-up), and he read more than anyone on the boat! Mary Kate kept a smile on everyone’s face with her kind words and her ability to always stay positive; she definitely kept everything on the boat happy and fun. Chris’s dance skills brought the entire boat together, and almost everyone can “whip” like a pro. We have had the BEST time these past three weeks, and we are so sad that our crew is leaving us. Chance, Marina, and I are so thankful for everyone and couldn’t have had a better group of students. Each and every person holds a special place in our hearts, and we hope to see everyone back on the dock next year for another awesome summer! We love you all!