Location: West End, Tortola

It’s a beautiful day here in our home port of West End, Tortola, and officially the start of the program! The dock is bustling with final boat preparations and staff eagerly awaiting the arrival of all of our students. Over the past week on Liberty, we’ve loaded food onto the boat, set up all of the dive gear (we’re the dive boat for Sail Side B!), and have been getting more and more excited about the amazing adventure we’re about to have with our 12 shipmates.

Here is an introduction to the crew of Liberty:

Luke – Skipper

Luke originally hails from England and grew up dinghy sailing from a young age, which gave him a love of boats and the ocean. Luke won his first sailing regatta trophy at age 11. Ten years ago, he made the transition to work on yachts, with seven of those years spent in the Caribbean working onboard charter yachts. He also started scuba diving in the BVI and is a Rescue Diver. He stands a full foot taller than Julie and is excited to start working with ActionQuest this summer.

Julie – Dive Instructor

Julie’s voyage with GXG began as an ActionQuest student in 2004. She quickly became an AQ regular in the summers to thaw out from the winters in her hometown of Madison, WI. After becoming a divemaster with AQ in 2009 and eventually a PADI instructor, Julie worked for GXG for many years as a mate/dive instructor. While she has spent most of her time in the BVI on ActionQuest programs, she did a stint as staff on Ocean Star, where she gained an appreciation for longer sailing adventures and rougher seas. While attending Wellesley College, Julie spent one of her semesters abroad in rural Baja California Sur, Mexico, researching marine mammals and biodiversity conversation. Apart from ocean life, Julie’s other passion is public health. She took a hiatus from GXG to pursue a Master of Public Health from Columbia University and has since been conducting health care research in Washington, DC. In her free time, Julie is an avid traveler and has been to 40+ countries across every continent – ask her about week scuba diving with Buzz Aldrin in the Cayman Islands. Julie is the Dive Director of Sail Side B, and she can’t wait to meet all of her students this summer and get back in the water.

Liz – Dive Instructor

Liz is an open water scuba instructor who is a recent addition to the staff but was a student at scuba back in 2015. She received her divemaster certification at 18 and became a PADI scuba instructor at 19. Liz is a recent graduate from the University of Florida with a marine science degree. Before ActionQuest, she had been working at a scuba shop in Connecticut and teaching at school for over four years. You will find her drinking all the coffee and laughing with the students who she can’t wait to meet!