Location: West End, Tortola
The time is almost upon us, the prep is done, and the most amazing AQ session ever is about to begin. The staff of Distant Drums headed up by our skipper Ben is all set. We have the awesome and energetic Kelli, one of our SCUBA instructors working together with Tina, who heads up the action-packed Neptune program, as well as Jess, one of the marine biologists on the exciting Dolphin program. We have an action-packed program filled with all sorts of diving, sailing, wakeboarding and water skiing, turtle tagging, dissections and much much more! Distant Drums, our home for the next 17 days is prepped and ready, she’s squeaky clean, full of fuel and food we are all crazy excited to welcome our new crew and get this adventure underway! So come prepared with energy, enthusiasm your best dance moves and some good snacks and let’s get this party started! Here is an introduction to the crew of Distant Drums: Ben is originally from Manchester, England, and did not start exploring the sea until he had finished his first university degree. From then on, though, there was no going back. Ben has now logged over 30 000 sea miles and has crossed both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. He holds an RYA Yachtmaster Ocean certificate and is an RYA cruising instructor. Ben is also a PADI Divemaster and his keen interest in marine life led him to return to university where he obtained a MSc in marine science from the University of York, UK. He has since worked on coral reef programs in Madagascar and Trinidad and Tobago as well as on marine projects closer to home in the cooler waters of the Irish sea. Ben enjoys getting the students as excited about the water as he is and teaching them the skills to be able to start to navigate and explore independently. Kelli was born and raised on a remote island in southeast Alaska. For many summers she crewed on commercial fishing vessels for Alaskan salmon. Yes, it was exactly like the TV show, The Deadliest Catch 😉 In high school, Kelli instantly fell in love with sailing and scuba diving while vacationing in the BVIs. Since then, she sailed across the Atlantic Ocean with Seamester. She also spent six months in Thailand, completing her diving internship with Mermaids Dive Center. She has her USCG Master 100 Ton Inland certification and is a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor. Kelli likes wreck diving, Chai tea, her dog Penny, and sailing around on her 25ft sailboat back home in Alaska.
After spending several months abroad with Seamester in 2008, Tina became absorbed with the marine world. She graduated from Bard College with a BA in Environmental Studies in 2010, after which she turned her attention to scuba diving. Tina has worked as a Divemaster and Instructor in Central America, Europe, and the US. She holds qualifications such as PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer, Emergency First Response Instructor (including Care for Children), and eleven specialty instructor ratings. She is thrilled to be returning for her second summer with Action Quest. When not underwater, Tina can be found playing her viola, studying towards a Master’s in Environmental Conservation Education, and planning her next dive. Jess was born in London, UK with a love of the sea right from the start. She started diving at 15 and has traveled the world since, teaching SCUBA and conducting marine research. Jess holds a degree in Marine Biology and Coastal Ecology and a Master’s degree in Biodiversity and Conservation. When not working of ActionQuest, Jess is also working towards a Ph.D. in Environmental Management working with local developing communities in South East Asia to improve the effectiveness of Marine Protected Areas. Jess’ is a PADI MSDT, and HSE Commercial SCUBA diver with experience in designing and running marine monitoring and survey programs, and media experience including working on a BBC documentary.