Location: Mountain Point, Virgin Gorda

Day 8 presented a new opportunity: our first open water dive! We began with a few hours of waterskiing and Pico sailing; we all attempted and sometimes achieved new tricks on kneeboards, wakeboards, or waterskis, all trying to one-up another on the gnarliness of our jumps and turns. For some, these hours were adrenaline-inducing and full of excitement. For others, lying on the bow of another boat the whole time was one of the most relaxing things we’ve done so far. We then headed over to another boat, where we strapped on our gear and delved into the underwater world. Mountain Point proved to host some incredible wildlife. Squid, parrotfish, trumpetfish, stingrays, and a cave were only a few of the sites we saw. Alex even used the word amazing seven times in 3 sentences when I asked him about it (I counted). A lunch of grilled cheese led us into the second part of our day. We learned the knots and navigation tricks that are so prevalent in sailing. We took our final PADI exam towards certifying us for open water diving. While stressful, the amazing day and exquisite dive more than made up for it. As we reach the midpoint of our trip, we are all feeling more and more comfortable sharing and expressing our opinions. The shyness has gone out the door, making room for many interesting and often intense conversations. Hopefully, we will continue to break down more barriers and grow closer together.