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Location: Barbados

Today started with a lovely breakfast of granola baked by our head chef, Meg. We then had Leadership class where we were split into four teams to compete in the Marshmallow challenge from a popular TedTalk. Each team of 4 was given ten pieces of spaghetti, a yard of tape, a yard of string, and one marshmallow. The task was to construct a free-standing structure in 18 minutes that could support the weight of the marshmallow on top, the tallest structure winning. 2 teams came within a few mm of each other, but ultimately, Mads, Frida, Tom, and Nate took home the prize. We then watched the TedTalk and found out that of groups of CEOs, Business School Grads, Architects, and Kindergartners, the Kindergarten students consistently were able to build the tallest and most creative towers, spending less time bickering and jockeying for power and more time iterating and trying new things, with less fear of failure.

After class, the open water divers hopped in for their final two dives to become certified divers! First, we finished off all our necessary skills swimming along the coral wall by the boat, where my group spent a long time hanging out with a seahorse! Jake said he’s been on hundreds of dives, and this was the only second or third seahorse he’d ever seen, so that was pretty special. Then, we headed over to a nearby shipwreck, which was about 50ft deep and 120ft long. We swam around it and explored and saw fish doing the same. It was so cool to do a “real” dive and see something so cool underwater. When we surfaced, it became official: we are all now certified Open Water Divers and can dive anywhere we want! Pretty much. We’re all so excited to keep diving in cool new places as we travel around the Caribbean, and some of us continue to do our Advanced Open Water and even Rescue Diver courses. While we were getting certified, the already certified divers Mads, Conor, and Laszlo enjoyed a peaceful, fun dive along the coral wall. Conor said it was so serene he could’ve fallen asleep at the bottom – but don’t worry, Cooley fam, he didn’t.

After diving, we headed out for our last free shore time in Barbados — we got some lunch, many of us enjoying delicious smoothie bowls from Buzz Box, picked up some more snacks, explored some beaches, and came back to the boat to catch up on school work, laundry and work on our group research projects. One team is studying whether music can attract fish, so they went on an afternoon snorkel with a speaker and a dream. We had a nice veggie roast and orzo dinner with some cornbread as well. Now, we’re studying for our upcoming Marine Bio exam and getting our bags ready for tomorrow’s surf lessons!

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