Location: Cocos (Keeling) Island

Today started out with an amazing breakfast of Dutch Oven Pancakes made by our Chef team of Ruben, Sam P, and Mimi, then with a full day ahead of us, we rolled into clean up before Marine Biology Class. After Marine Bio, our PSCT (Professional Skipper and Crew Training) students (Jay, Alex, and I) took the COLREGS (Collision Regulations) exam. At the same time, some people went to shore, and others lingered about Argo studying. As the morning went on, many people worked on class assignments, scuba diving knowledge reviews and just took the time to relax. But then, the chaos of the day ensued. A school of Manta Rays was spotted circling Argo, and it was a race to the water to swim with these beautiful creatures. Students and staff dropped everything, grabbed their snorkel gear, and took off into the water. While many were off swimming with the Rays, the chefs were hard at work in the galley, making us an amazing risotto, and others worked down below, not noticing the excitement on deck. There were around 30 individuals, all partaking in a complex mating dance. After lunch, we cleaned up and had an interesting visitor in the form of a drone come and settle alongside the port of Argo, checking out what we were up to and responding to our waves by coming closer before backing away again. Next, our first group of Advanced Open Water divers “kitted up” and prepared for their drift dive and set off on their way to the dive site in Doctor (our beloved dinghy) while the Rescue Divers worked on their knowledge reviews and the rest of the Advanced group waited until it was their turn to dive when yet another group of Manta Rays began to circle Argo. It was another round of drop, whatever it is you’re doing, and jump in with snorkel gear to swim with the rays. They moved along slowly and allowed us to join right in and swim alongside them while they distracted us from our studies and brought extra excitement to our day. After swimming with the Manta Rays, the rest of the drift divers went on their dives and, while drifting, saw a few Grey Reef Sharks! When the advanced groups returned, we discovered our Divemaster in training to be teaching Smash a “new” diver about her gear and helping her prepare for a dive. Dinner was a Leek Pie and some tomato chicken, followed by our evening squeeze of appreciation for the day and recalling our favorite book we read for a class in high school. Now it’s off to Oceanography class.

Until next time,

Ps. Hi Memom and Mom, I love you guys!