Location: Port-Vila, Efate, Vanuatu

The first mission to accomplish when you are the skipper of the day is to wake up everybody on the boat for breakfast. As we had a fun, but late night out the day before, I was expecting difficulty in my task and therefore decided to come up with a plan. I started waking up students calmly and gently, letting then stay in bed for a few more minutes, on one condition. I needed proof that they were awake. To a few, I asked to squeeze my hand 13 times. To some, I gave math questions such as 8 +13 + 4 bananas. To others, I asked history question picking dates at random and asking for a detailed historical account. My intended confusion effect worked really well, and everyone was on deck in no time. Anastacia impressed me; with one eye open, she managed to tell me about the historical context of a date I did not even know was important. I had no trouble waking Lucy as she was already exercising on deck before I even woke up.

After cereal, we had an Oceanography lecture about ocean food webs and the importance of plankton. Then, the student had time off to keep up with school work, such as essays and science projects. The beginning of the afternoon was also free for exam preparation. I believe everyone appreciated a little bit of calm in our usually pretty packed schedule.

It came as a surprise when at 5 pm Amanda called for help to rescue unconscious and panicked divers in the water. This was the first real rescue scenario for our rescue diver training. Tim and Ian, our actors, were first approached by Even and Garrison, who had been very prompt in jumping in the water to come to their aid. Frank and Danny followed closely to assist. Coral and Emily helped reassure Ian and stop him from getting hypothermia. Sam brilliantly pulled Tim out of the water into the dinghy in a flash. Anastacia and Maddie provided oxygen and CPR and managed to reanimate Tim, while Rhea and Kari managed the rescue logistics. As a team, they successfully rescued our captain and first mate. Felicitation!

After dinner, I gave a marine biology lecture about coral reefs, with a guest appearance of one of our students. Who best to ask about coral bleaching than Coral herself. I was quite happy that many students, such as Evan and Garrison, could answer my questions very well during the class.

Pictured: Garrison and Evan helping Tim and Ian, our “unresponsive divers,” Amanda observing and taking notes on how the rescue students were doing on the scenario; Rhea and Coral assessing Ian and keeping him warm after he was rescued from the water.