Location: Great Harbor, Peter Island

I, the skipper for the day, awoke with the sound of waves crashing and the cool breeze softly blowing in through the parlor doors. A collection of tired faces, messy hair, and discombobulated sheets, all in disarray, suddenly flooded the boat as well as everyones’ comforting spirits. There is something about being with a group of people who you respect just as much as you enjoy, and the privilege I have to meet these people, share our deep secrets, and connect not only on each individual’s love for marine biology but also the life we live outside of the boat, is truly inspirational. We had a slow morning of gentle sailing, mostly filled with reading and reviewing books on how to take the perfect underwater photo, something I am still learning, and information about the ocean. Despite the work, I find that the environment I have been so lucky to be in makes all of the reading and studying worthwhile. It feels less of a requirement and more of a gift, and the fact that I have been blessed with guides who enjoy what they are doing and who are excited to share their knowledge with us while also letting us have a good time makes me so happy that I decided to come. After our lecture on underwater photography and a delicious lunch, we headed out for our morning dive, where we would be practicing with cameras. My buddy and I were one of the first to hit the water, and the next thing I knew, we were posing for photos and giggling bubbles out of our regulators. Once that was done, I took a minor tumble, falling over with all my gear on, and I erupted with laughter. Everyone’s kindness to help me up was a gentle reminder of the care everyone has for each other. I unloaded my gear and headed up to the roof, where everyone took a quick sunbath before myself, and three others decided to take a snorkel around the boat. It was absolutely magnificent, from the school of fish to the sand beds and even the trumpet fish that delicately swam by. I would say the snorkel is one of my favorite things on this trip so far, along with many other magic memories. Soon after, it was time for dinner, and everyone enjoyed Mexican Food Night. The night has still yet to end, and as I watch everyone clean up, I am slightly bittersweet about the final days of our trip slowly approaching. However, I plan to live every moment to the fullest, so I can look back and be filled with sweet delight, but also look to the future as I plan out my career in marine biology and the impact I want to make on the world. Since this is my first time at a sleep-away camp, with no clue what to expect, and no control over who would be on my boat, I know that when I look at every other boat, then reflect on my own, I could not be more grateful, safer, and more enchanted being apart of Yo Dawg. Not only have we grown into close friends who seek comfort in one another, but I don’t know if I have ever felt more close and secure with a group of people in such a short amount of time. This trip is truly the beginning of my unforgettable adventure.

Pictured: Bud, Teddy, and David getting ready for our dive; Amélie and Finn chef-ing in the galley; the crew during afternoon ocean showers; Amélie during our underwater photography dive; Teddy’s prize-winning photo; Zach and Alex during the dive