Location: West End, Tortola
Wow, what an expedition Bella Vita has had; who knew three weeks could pass by so quickly, but when you’re enjoying the breathtaking British Virgin Islands, life doesn’t get much better. All ten of our shipmates have excelled in their fields. Alan, Sam, Alana, Madison, and Alyssa have worked very hard finishing all their divemaster requirements and are now waiting for their final review, while the advanced sailors have worked hard studying for their VHF and watchkeeper/ flotilla skipper certificate.
Alana proved herself as a great divemaster candidate whilst leading the final dives on the RMS Rhone wreck of Salt Island. Her enthusiasm and love for the sport exude her. Alana’s cheerleading past is also prevalent while also out of the water, as she motivates and encourages the other shipmates. She is never seen without a smile on her face. A returning ActionQuest veteran Madison is full of tales and experiences. Since completing her open water some time ago, she fell in love with life under the sea and decided she would become a divemaster so she could share it with others. She has worked extremely hard to get to this point, applying herself to all aspects. She particularly enjoyed leading her first dive through a swim through the bow of the Rhone wreck a few days ago. The Rhone was the first dive for all open water divers after completing their assignments. Leo enjoyed the dive so much he didn’t want to get out of the water. Keen on all water sports, Leo excelled at wakeboarding, throwing 360’s and other cool tricks. Ever the center of the group, Leo has been a great character, always dancing. But what stands out to me has been Leos grasp of sailing terminology in a language foreign to his own. Having both divemasters and advanced sailors on Bella this season demonstrates two of the end goals shipmates can aim for. Coming from a sailing background myself, I am so proud of the progress they have made in the pursuit of the watchkeeper/flotilla skipper certificate. I would happily trust in their abilities to sail a boat and where in the world with them. Being able to step back and watch Chris skipper the boat with command and knowledge during one of our race days, he displayed all the hard skills we had worked on for the long days prior. Chris is very skilled, coming from a background in smaller boat racing, he applied this knowledge to our wonderful Bella, teaching the other shipmates and standing out to many of the instructors. Newer to the world of sailing, Tyler picked up on it very quickly and impressed all the staff with his progress. Although quiet, Tyler’s kind and funny personality have shone brightly as the trip has continued. Not satisfied with mastering one skill, Tyler also has completed his advanced dive certificate. Dan, our southern gentleman also challenged himself by completing both advanced sailing and advanced diving. Always there to lend a hand and take on a new challenge, Dan has made himself indispensable aboard and will be sorely missed by all. For me, his emotional investment in the program and ethics is what stands out to me. For someone who considers herself as more of a diver than a sailor, Alyssa has invested herself in both sides of the program, diving into everything! Always find and generous Alyssa’s teaching skills on the divemaster program have stood out. Our final two divemaster candidates Alan and Sam are both returning shipmates and have kindly shared their past adventures and knowledge with all aboard. Sam’s unique outlook on life encourages all of us to be the best possible versions of our selves, while Alan’s dancing feet keep all of jiving around the boat. Whether it be an impromptu dance party in the salon or air guitar solos on the bow, he can be relied upon to have a beaming smile on his face. Our youngest and final shipmate, Ehan, has proven his worth the past three weeks. Always there to lend a hand with a smile on his face, Ehan jumps into action. He really is second to one! His positive attitude was very refreshing for the group. The past three weeks aboard, watching life-lasting friendships being created and teenagers grow into young adults, has been inspiring. It will be extremely hard to say goodbye to all the Bella Vita shipmates they have been truly amazing. I speak for Smudge, Ivan, and myself when I say we have had a memorable experience sailing the picturesque British Virgin Islands with this crew.