Location: Marina Cay
It is the eleventh day of our journey, and a lot has happened since day one at West End aboard Second Wind. Our home for the past eleven days is comprised of fourteen students and three staff members: eight dolphins and six Neptune students. The Dolphin program is marine biology-based, so many of the dolphin students dives are focused around marine life, and on day eight, they began their research project. The Neptune program is heavily dive-intensive, so more than one dive a day is quite normal for the six Neptuners aboard. The students on the dolphin program have begun their research project, while simultaneously working towards their different specialties (naturalist, digital photo, night) On the Neptune side, the students have been tirelessly working on their knowledge reviews, and prepping for their specialty certification dives (wreck, deep, night). As a Divemaster, I have dived with all of the students a number of times, and I can honestly say that I have seen an excited, goofy grin on 100% of the students when we see a giant stingray, or a turtle sleeping on the RMS Rhone Wreck. Day nine was a jam-packed day: first, we dove the RMS Rhone, then we took a hike up Salt Island, then sailed over to GHP to do a night dive. While diving, the RMS Rhone, Parker, and Hannah took phenomenal photographs, and the whole group stumbled upon a group of sleeping turtles on the hull of the sunken ship. After we ascended and pumped the tanks, we drove to the other side of Salt Island and hiked to the top. We took some amazing pictures at the top, and Ethan, Austin, and Nick threw some impressive rocks down the rock face. On day nine, many of the shipmates dove their second-night dive towards their night diver certification. I descended and waited at the bottom of the mooring line for the divers. The first group was a trio of Eliza, Jules, and Caleigh, all of whom have previously earned their night diver specialty, so this was a fun dive for them. After they descended and swam away, the rest of the divers descended, I greeted them group by group, and suddenly Larry, Austin, and Elena waved at me and pointed to a massive stingray!!! That night dive certainly was memorable. Avery, Isa, and Abi are hard at work with their research projects and enjoying every minute of it. At this point, we are halfway through the voyage, and the next ten days will fly by. Before we know it, we’ll be on a plane home, missing the islands, but until then, we are going to relish every second here.