Location: West End, Tortola

It’s hard to believe that this session and summer 2013 are both at an end. Over the past two and half weeks the crew of Distant Drums has circumnavigated the BVI, sailing over 150 nautical miles and completing over 20 dives. The Neptunes became Advanced Open Water certified, lowering their maximum depth to 100 feet. They have improved their buoyancy and navigation, their knowledge of equipment, and learned how to dive shipwrecks. The Dolphins explored the marine environment, learning how to identify and classify fish, capturing the underwater world on camera and conduction their own research projects. We are so proud of the progress our shipmates have made this session, both as individuals and as a group. Shai took every opportunity to jump on the helm, soaking up information about sailing like a sponge.

While he was in the power tower, Trevor was almost always at the bow enjoying the role of the waves and displaying his natural athleticism by catching air each time the boat pitched. Isaac was often right beside him, bouncing on the trampoline and keeping us laughing with his quiet but witty jokes and asides. No sail would have been completed without a soundtrack in between tracks, Turk’s head and knowledge reviews, Kira served as our boat DJ, spinning tunes from her and Lindsay’s impressive music collections. Lindsay, on the other hand, took every available opportunity to get under the sea. As one of our most experienced divers, she has grown by leaps and bounds throughout the program and has been so much fun to dive with. Elana, as well, has been a pleasure to have both underwater and at the surface: her sweet, giggly disposition has brightened every day on Drums. Elana has had quite a lot to laugh about: Zach and Sam’s jokes and antics have kept all of us in stitches. Zach’s impersonations and voices (particularly SpongeBob) made frequent appearances at dinnertime, whereas Sam’s attempt to conquer the ocean via pool float spiced up shower time. Bens level head rounded out our crew. We have all enjoyed hearing about his traveling experiences and interacting ideas. Adam and Steph have served as the crews right hand aboard Drums. Adam is always up for a good sail and seemed to be the first in line for each tack and sail rise. Steph was a huge group motivator on board coming in as the voice of reason to remind everyone that the sooner we finish our daily chores, the sooner we can get to diving, swimming, and sailing. The past seventeen days with this phenomenal group of shipmates has been full of learning and laughter. Our only regret as staff is that we don’t get to have them aboard for longer. As I write this blog, we are wrapping up our last night out on the water by writing letters to each other about how much we appreciate one another and the experience we have had this session. It is a night of reflection for the crew of Distant Drums as we think about what the past few weeks have meant to us. For my part, I am grateful to have shared this boat with such a fun, motivated, and interesting group of people. I only hope that, whatever the next ten months might bring, we all meet again next summer for another great session under the Caribbean sun.